Advancing Racial Equity in Public Libraries: How it is Being Addressed
Kara Bailey, Milos Petrovic, Abby Segal, and Gina Vaziri, 2021 Showcase
: The purpose of this project was to examine the current state of the public library’s efforts to improve racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. Racism was embedded into the structure of the American public library at its origin in the 18th century, and it is necessary to dismantle the products of this systemic discrimination evident in the public library’s policies, practices, and resources today in order to advance inclusivity and better serve the information needs and intellectual freedom of our increasingly diverse communities. Possible areas of challenge to racial equity initiatives in the public library include diversity of collections, cataloguing and labeling, fines and fees, policing, and discrimination towards library employees of color.
Kara Bailey will be starting a new job as a children’s librarian. While pursuing her master’s, she worked as a library associate. She holds a bachelor’s in Anthropology with a minor in Native American Studies.
Milos Petrovic: “Learning more about the way information is being managed and used today is what brought me to this program. More generally speaking, even though I’ve never worked in a library, I’ve always liked being around books and archives, and have admired that particular sense of both history and possibility that they emit.”
Abby Segal began studying Library and Information Science in the Public Librarianship track at San Jose State University in January 2021. She graduated from Beloit College with a B.A. in Anthropology and English in 2019. Abby enjoys examining how objects of material culture such as literature and art reflect, influence, and make commentary on the society from which they originate. She currently lives in Portland, OR where she works in two local libraries.
Gina Vaziri: “I have worked in public libraries for almost 20 years, and I am very happy to have the opportunity to work towards my MLIS at SJSU. I hope to graduate Spring 2022.”