Thursday, March 14, 2019

BPL among 145 Members of Urban Libraries Council Signing Commitment to Racial and Social Equity

Birmingham Public Library Executive Director Floyd Council announced the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees’ vote to officially sign on to the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) Statement on Race and Social Equity to all BPL staff today. “This is a strong investment in all American communities,” he said.

Susan Benton, president of the Washington, D.C.-based ULC, said she is “thrilled” to hear that BPL has signed the statement. Libraries, Benton said, are trusted, venerable and enduring institutions, central to their communities and an essential participant in the movement for racial and social equity.

ULC began an initiative on issues relating to race and social equity in libraries and communities in 2015. Since then, members have shared their libraries' work through webinars, the annual Innovations Initiative, and ULC conferences.

Benton said the list of 145 member library signatories has real value—giving voice to ULC’s commitment to racial and social equity in communities across North America. ULC uses the statement as a platform that informs all of member libraries’ work in advancing education, digital inclusion, and healthy, sustainable communities. As the issue of race and social equity gains attention locally and nationally, government, nonprofit and business leaders are focusing on the topic. The ULC statement can be used to make others aware of the public library's value as an agent and essential partner for achieving positive change.

“We share this list with organizations that we work with including the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, the Council of the Great City Schools, the Council of Large Public Housing Agencies and others,” Benton said. “Race and social equity are critical to each of these organizations and it is vital that we can demonstrate that urban libraries are ‘showing up’."

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