Tufts Libraries Council statement of solidarity and commitment

June 16, 2020

The leadership and the staff members of the Tufts University Libraries join with the university and library communities in expressing our outrage at the brutal murder of George Floyd; the racism and violence against Black, Indigenous and People of Color; and the police brutality that has tragically ended the lives of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and many others. We stand in solidarity with the tens of thousands of protestors worldwide who are risking their lives during this pandemic to take to the streets in protest, because we believe that Black Lives Matter. 

We acknowledge the damage and pain inflicted by systemic racism on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and that as libraries operating within a predominantly White institution, we both participate in and are damaged by the whiteness of our institution and our professions.  Libraries and archives have a history of bias embedded in the materials we collect, and the voices we amplify. White culture is centered in how we design spaces, deliver services, recruit and retain staff, and invest our financial resources. 

Our professional codes of ethics have been interpreted as supporting a policy of “neutrality.” Libraries and archives are not neutral. We must not mistake support for intellectual freedom with neutrality in the face of injustice. 

The Tufts Libraries value community, curiosity and learning, openness, and social justice. Our work to address racism and its impact on our community and our society requires renewed commitment, guided by these values. Librarianship continues to be a predominantly White profession, despite our stated values of inclusion and equity, and programs promoting diversity in our ranks, the results of which are clearly inadequate. This is true at Tufts. We must do better.

As Dr. Joyce Sackey shared at the recent Tufts vigil, “You cannot say you did not know; you cannot look away; you can no longer choose to be silent.” By the end of July, the Tufts University Libraries will discuss and commit to a set of actions that demonstrate our commitment to anti-racist values. We pledge ourselves to seeking out and amplifying Black and diverse voices, learning and practicing how to be effective allies, and listening to Black library leaders and colleagues. We will support Black scholars, and Black-owned businesses. Alongside our campus partners, we will work to more deeply understand the experiences of our community, and center voices of BIPOC students at Tufts. We will work to facilitate access to information that helps us more effectively engage in the work of dismantling structural racism and social injustice.  

The Tufts Libraries Council
Eric Albright, Director, Hirsh Health Sciences Library
Dorothy Meaney, Director, Tisch Library
Cyndi Rubino, Director, Library Services and Information Technology, Fletcher School
Betsy Like, Library Manager, Webster Family Library, Cummings School
Dan Santamaria, Director, Digital Collections & Archives
Debra Berlanstein, Associate Director, Hirsh Health Sciences Library
Erica Schattle, Associate Director, Tisch Library
Alicia Morris, Assistant Director, Tisch Library
Martha Kelehan, Assistant Director, Tisch Library
Darin Murphy, Head of W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Library at the SMFA at Tufts
Anna Kijas, Head of Lilly Music Library
Paula Cammarata, Assistant Director, Ginn Library
Charlotte Keys, Director, Library Technology Services
Paul Bergen, Director, Educational Technology and Learning Spaces, TTS