Updated as of June 17, 2020
Anti-racism subject guide
As a research library, we have a responsibility to share and promote public access to important information about anti-racism, which we’ve made available in this anti-racism subject guide. Libraries staff update this guide continually.
Anti-racism resources for action
The University Libraries at Iowa encourages its staff to engage in anti-racism efforts. Check this page for anti-racism resources and staff development opportunities designed to aid our staff in making substantial progress toward dismantling and unlearning racism. The resources on this page are open and available for all, including university students, faculty, staff, and members of our community. Libraries staff update this page continually.
Statement issued June 1, 2020
This is not news: a deep divide continues to tear at this country. Injustices widen the gap. COVID-19 has affected more black, Latinx, and Native Americans than any others. People of Asian descent are experiencing heightened racism. The tragic deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky made the news. And yet, this is not news. This is the daily reality of racism for many in this country.
Most of us live with racism, many suffer because of racism, some die because of racism. A deep divide continues to tear at this country, leaving gaps in the availability of healthcare, housing, jobs, and education. This is unacceptable. Rather than complacently living with racism, those of us who also live with privilege can empower ourselves to stop racism and work to erase its effects.
As a public institution of higher education, one of our many responsibilities is to create effective tools to examine and change injustices in society. We are a research library planted in the heartland, and we are not immune to racism. We are not free of the responsibility to stop it. We have a mission to feed society with open access to information that exposes truth. Free flowing information allows our scholars and community members to shine light on these fractures within our country, these injustices, these deaths. With information, we have opportunities to cultivate justice, advocacy, and right action as allies on behalf of our colleagues who suffer just because they happen to be different in skin color, faith tradition, or sexual orientation.
We are uniquely positioned in the Libraries to be allies and to support anti-racism efforts with resources and expertise on critical thinking that can guide our learning and our grounding in the histories that have fed racism. Our job is to amplify the voices of marginalized people.
At the University Libraries, we must take action. Let’s continue to equip researchers. Let’s continue to create ways for diversity, equity, and inclusion to thrive and grow in our libraries and on this campus. Let’s start small with individual efforts and think big with institutional change. We harvest the information, craft the words, inspire the actions. Most of all, as individuals, we must roll up our sleeves and do the difficult work of anti-racism in every field of study. It’s the Iowa way.
John Culshaw, Jack B. King University Librarian
Paul Soderdahl, Associate University Librarian
Linda Walton, Associate University Librarian
This statement was written by Jennifer Masada and John Culshaw, with input from the Admin Group and other Libraries staff involved in DEI efforts. This statement is an open invitation for dialog, recognizing that the difficult conversations we have and actions we take must happen and must never stop.