A message from the Iowa State University Library: A stand against racism

Jun 03, 2020

The Iowa State University Library stands in solidarity with the statements from Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, and the American Library Association in strongly condemning the racism and oppression that disproportionately affects millions within the Black community throughout our nation. 

The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are now added to a list of tragic deaths that speak to the centuries of hurt, pain, and tragedy experienced by the Black community throughout our history, including today. 

Racism, the taking of innocent lives, and the condoning of excessive force and violence is everyone’s problem, and the solution starts with all of us. Right here, right now, right where we are.

Our library remains committed to carrying forth its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work – focusing on doing the internal work so that our efforts can transcend the confines of our buildings, departments, and communities. Staff will continue to engage in DEI initiatives, such as in-depth book discussions, workshops, and trainings; and our strong collections in race and ethnic studies and social justice areas continue to grow and are heavily used. Special Collections and University Archives is also intentionally working to fill gaps in our historical record by collecting and sharing the rich stories of Iowans in marginalized communities via our Oral History Program and COVID-19 Stories Project. And, even with our current efforts, we realize there is still much work to be done. 

DEI learning is truly lifelong learning, and it is clear that we need to recommit ourselves to the hard work of understanding and dismantling the racism that is etched deeply into our country’s history.

As a research library at a land-grant university, it is our mission to collect and preserve world knowledge, no matter how painful the story is. It is also our duty to equip library users with the resources, tools, and knowledge needed to learn and shape the future of our communities, state, and the world. We will continue to serve that mission.