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Statement on Racism and Recent Events

Candlelight vigil for victims in Charlottesville, on the University of Virginia campus. Photo courtesy of Miguel Valladares-Llata, UVa.

The Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) condemns the worldwide propagation of fear, hatred, and terror and stands in solidarity with all who protest hate, inequity, exclusion, and racism. A cornerstone of our mission is to promote cooperative efforts that achieve equitable exchanges of information across our communities and across borders. The viewpoints espoused by U.S. white nationalist terrorists acting domestically in Charlottesville and multi-national terrorists acting in Barcelona recently are equally uninformed and odious. Neither ignorance nor hatred has any place in our organization.

As information professionals, we are dedicated to providing access to information for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin, as well as encouraging collaborative scholarly work across international borders. Any policy measure or terrorist act that hinders the exchange of resources across communities and borders, including the fear of bodily harm or discriminatory travel restrictions or bans, undermines our mission and our commitment to the promotion of intellectual growth. Let us be clear: this commitment does not obligate us to provide platforms for views that perpetuate racism, bigotry, hatred, or misinformation.

Contrary to the long-standing belief that library professionals must be neutral, we are obligated to engage diverse perspectives in environments free of violence and hate. The right to free speech is constitutionally protected in the United States, but our first obligation is to the safety and dignity of our patrons. We support intellectual discovery and creative pursuits, which sometimes include the acquisition and study of published and archival materials professing extremist ideas. However, our mission is always the promotion of understanding and our purpose is to educate and to help to avert the tragedies that can result from racism, hatred, and ignorance.

As part of the larger community of librarians and archivists, we share the concerns of the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries. We recognize the bold actions of institutions like The Loyola Marymount University Libraries, who have openly condemned the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville while distancing their organizational cultures from racist actions and messages. We stand in solidarity with them, with the families who have suffered losses in both Charlottesville and Barcelona, and with anyone who acts to secure diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM)

2017 Presidential Travel Fellows

Christina Bleyer is Head of Special Collections and Senior Archivist at the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. In her role at The Benson, she manages the collecting, processing, preservation, and accessibility of the Benson Special Collections (both analog and digital) as well as the staff that make this possible. She is currently a member of the steering committee for the Society of American Archivists Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives Roundtable. Dr. Bleyer previously was the Manuscript Archivist at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Special Collections Research Center and joined the Benson in February of 2016.

Jhensen Ortiz is Assistant Librarian at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute. His interests include best practices for digital projects and the history of material culture among Dominicans in the U.S. He holds a B.A. in History from the City College of New York. He is pursuing a dual master’s degree in History and Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archival Studies at Queens College.

 

 

 

Kai Alexis Smith earned a Masters in Information and Library Science from Pratt Institute and is currently a subject librarian at Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, California. She was a 2013 Association of Research Libraries Career Enhancement Program Fellow at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a 2014 ALA Emerging Leader.

 

 

 

SALALM 62: May 20-24, 2017

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For more information visit the Scholarship page.

SALALM 62: May 20-24, 2017

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Click here for more information regarding the conference’s theme.

SALALM 61: May 9-13, 2016

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Visit the “In Case You Missed it” column for SALALM related news

Visit the “In Case You Missed It” column for a compilation of news items of interest to the SALALM community.

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