Responding to Ongoing Racism: Our Commitment to Our Community

In light of the tragic deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans, and amidst ongoing national conversations about systemic racism, Burns Library staff grieves with the families of those who have died and all those who are affected by these deaths, particularly the Black students, faculty, alumni, and staff of Boston College.

We’ve been prioritizing discussions regarding our need to work for equity and inclusion through our roles as librarians and archivists, and want to publicly acknowledge our responsibility and privilege to continue this important work. 

We must examine our conditioning, biases, and awareness of racial issues on a continual basis. Beyond one-on-one interactions with our patrons, this also involves analyzing our policies, procedures, and acquisitions to ask: Do these contribute to systemic injustice? What can we change to make our processes more inclusive?

We are especially aware of our instructional roles, particularly in light of the collections we mediate. Some of the materials in our collections were written by White racists and classists who were creating and upholding systems of oppression. Much of our collection centers around the perspectives and experiences of White men. We need to explicitly acknowledge such bias, and provide the scaffolding to contextualize how to understand the structures in place today. 

We acknowledge the prevalence of racism and stand against it. We strive to understand both the history of and our roles in racist systems, admit the discomfort in doing so, and accept the challenge to continuously educate ourselves, acknowledge the inequalities, and address the injustice through our work and in our personal lives. We invite community feedback to hold ourselves accountable. We commit to making any necessary changes so that all feel welcome in Burns Library.

  • The Staff of John J. Burns Library, Boston College
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