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Doug Archer's picture

Draft Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rightse - #1 Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

1st of 3 New Draft Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights - #1 Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

Please review this draft interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights and respond with your suggestions by May 1 (note the new date).  The Intellectual Freedom Committee will revise it in light of your suggestions and bring it to Annual Conference in Chicago for your consideration.  In addition to offering your own suggestions, please distribute it as widely as possible to others for their input.

Thanks very much,


Max Macias (non-member)'s picture

Hi, someone sent out a request for feedback to this page:





Thank you, 



Martha Goddard's picture

I appreciate the efforts of Mike Marlin, regarding including more specific language related to EDI concerns of people with disabilities. I responded to Mike with these suggestions to what he already has submitted, but he suggested that I should send them directly to you.

In Section I:

Library collections, in a variety regardless of material ormats, should include a ull range of viewpoints and experiences, serving the needs of all members of the community. Within the constraints of space and resources, all libraries should seek out materials, including materials that are accessible for people with disabilities materialsproduced by diverse authors or creators. Online resources, including databases and other e-materials should be accessible for people who use computers with adaptive technology.


In Section V: I looked at the WHO definition and made a slight change because people with disabilities are ‘able’ if barriers are eliminated!

“Disability encompasses the condition that results from  interaction with the barriers society creates for people who interrelate with the world differently than the majority of ‘able’ non-disabled people.”



Martha Goddard's picture

A letter dropped out of my first submission!

Library collections, in a variety regardless of material formats, - See more at: http://connect.ala.org/node/264431#comment-86323

Mike Marlin's picture

Hi Doug,  One ASCLA member suggested that all instances of "should" be changed to "must" but I felt that wasn't universally appropriate, but wanted IFC to know that this opinion exists. You will find an attempt to incorporate disability and accessible formats into the overall EDI framework. Let me know if you have questions.

Mike Marlin California State Library Braille and Talking Book Library Sacramento, CA

Megan Hodge's picture

Section II states that "Beyond merely avoiding the exclusion of materials representing unorthodox or unpopular ideas, libraries should proactively seek to include an abundance of resources and programming representing the greatest possible diversity of genres, ideas, and expression." Does this include actively seeking out resources on ideas such as climate change denial and that link vaccines to autism? I don't think this is necessarily the intent of this section; if it indeed isn't, it may be helpful to clarify the language here.

Lessa Pelayo-Lozada's picture

A few comments from the various groups that the ODLOS AC represents (These comments do not represent all of the groups as a whole and were not edited -- they are from individuals within the larger membership):


To point 1 on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion bill: I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves.

  • Currently the way this section reads I think someone could demand white supremacist books be included. There should be a line added to the effect of, "books and materials that do not promote hateful beliefs or activities." Really, all the points in this bill could use language like that.


I would amend one sentence:


When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are [recognizing, valuing, and embracing] [change to: engaging with and seeking to understand] the uniqueness of each individual.


Changing the object of the sentence doesn't necessarily clarify its understanding. The predicate, as was, didn't communicate much in my opinion. Additionally, I don't believe embracing diversity is the same as embracing individual differences. That is, I don't have to agree with you (which is how "embrace" reads to me--I know that might be a point of contention, but I'm sure I'm not the only one) to engage peacefully with you. But if I (or someone) does embrace diversity, I definitely should engage with you in a civil way.


My thoughts on this are partially informed by this essay: http://pluralism.org/encounter/todays-challenges/from-diversity-to-pluralism/


Regarding the EDI Interpretation, I'd like to add that diversity also includes diversity of thought, perspective, and personal experiences of each individual, and how this strengthens (rather than derails) a library organization's objectives and goals, and the diversity of the communities they serve.

Doug Archer's picture

Lessa's first point:  "To point 1 on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion bill: I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves."

This is not new language.  It is a quote from the Library Bill of Rights.  To change it one would have to amend article #1 of the LBOR.  This (and article #2) are the bedrock principles of intellectual freedom.  We collect materials of interest TO ALL people ON ALL points of view even when they are highly offensive to us.

J. Douglas Archer Reference & Peace Studies Librarian 246 Hesburgh Library University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN 46556 574-631-6656 voice | 574-631-8887 fax archer.1@nd.edu | www.nd.edu/~jarcher

Lessa Pelayo-Lozada's picture

Hi Doug (& all),

Just to clarify: These comments were solicited from a variety of professionals and were not "vetted" so to speak.  I sent them in the format and language they were sent to me and are not my own personal comments.

I absolutely understand (and agree with) your point on the language and can forward your feedback to the submitter.