Disrupting Institutional Racism in the Public Library
One of the last spaces in American society where people can freely commune without purchase or associated fee, the public library is in a period of transformation and serving evolving and emerging societal needs as it shifts from a repository of information to a place for community and justice. Applying concepts from Critical Race Theory (CRT), this paper examines the transformation of the public library under a critical lens. The implications of unacknowledged systemic racism from policies and values at the institutional level, particularly current equity, inclusion, and justice efforts are critiqued and discussed. Building on the work of researchers in the field of LIS and CRT, this paper concludes with suggestions for advancing the vision of accessible, useful, liberatory, and transformative public libraries of the future and invitation for further dialogue.
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