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Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Library has recently joined over 200 other public libraries across North America (including seven in Illinois) in signing the Urban Libraries Council’s Statement on Race and Social Equity. This strong statement serves as a baseline upon which libraries can build policies and take actions to work toward  making their organizations and communities more inclusive and just.  

Before being included as a signatory, the Library had to demonstrate how it is working to eliminate racial and social equity barriers through its programs, services, policies and practices.  Such actions being taken by the Library include but are not limited to reviewing its programs, services, policies and practices, engaging with the community and learning about its needs  through community interviews and the Chatham Area In Focus Photo Exhibit, and shifting to fine-free borrowing.  The Library is planning to offer opportunities for the community to investigate and discuss racism and social equity through programming and is highlighting resources for personal exploration and action around race, justice, and equity on their Race and Social Equity Resources webpage.

According to Amy Byers, Director of the Chatham Area Public Library, “Signing onto the Urban Library Council’s Statement is an important first step in our journey to being a more inclusive organization. The Statement reflects the ethics that are core within the library profession and will act as a guidepost for Library decision making going forward."

Patrons may go to https://www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/statement-on-race-and-social-... to see the full text of the Statement of Race and Social Equity and keep an eye out on the Library’s website, www.chathamlib.org, for future programming, reading, and learning opportunities.