Today American Library Association (ALA) President Julie B. Todaro released the following statement responding to recent actions by the new administration and specifically addressing issues regarding access to information, discrimination, and intellectual freedom.
“We are shocked and dismayed by recent executive orders and other actions by the new administration, which stand in stark contrast to the core values of the American Library Association. Our core values include access to information; confidentiality/privacy; democracy; equity, diversity and inclusion; intellectual freedom; and social responsibility.
“The American Library Association strongly opposes any actions that limit free access to information, undermine privacy, or discriminate on any basis. This includes the temporary suspension of visas and entrance to the US based on anyone’s nationality or religion as well as the increased scrutiny of any individual’s communication such as mobile phone and/or social media activity.
“Our nation’s 120,000 public, academic, school, and special libraries serve all community members, including people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities and the most vulnerable in our communities, offering services and educational resources that transform communities, open minds, and promote inclusion and diversity.
“ALA believes that the struggle against racism, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination is central to our mission. We will continue to speak out and support efforts to abolish intolerance and cultural invisibility, stand up for all the members of the communities we serve, and promote understanding and inclusion through our work.
“We will continue to speak out and support our members as they work tirelessly for access to library and information resources on behalf of all of their community members, while advocating for privacy, intellectual freedom, critical global research, information literacy, ongoing access to scientific research, and fair and equitable treatment for everyone.
“As our strategic plan states, ‘ALA recognizes the critical need for access to library and information resources, services, and technologies by all people, especially those who may experience language or literacy-related barriers; economic distress; cultural or social isolation; physical or attitudinal barriers; racism; discrimination on the basis of appearance, ethnicity, immigrant status, housing status, religious background, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression; or barriers to equal education, employment and housing.’
“We encourage our members to continue to speak out and show their support for and work on behalf of our core values, in their communities as well as with their local, state, and national elected and appointed officials. Additionally, ALA has tools and resources online to help you advocate for our core values:
- Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services
- Government Relations
- Information and Technology Policy
- Intellectual Freedom
- Libraries Respond
“ALA is committed to using its national platform for speaking up and speaking out for its members and constituents in these chaotic, unprecedented, and challenging times. We appreciate the library community’s continued support.”