ILA Condemns the Violence at the U.S. Capitol
The ILA Executive Board approved the following statement on January 26, 2021. With the perspective of a few weeks between these events and the statement date, ILA acknowledges they have long-standing root causes and will take a long-term approach to solve.
The Illinois Library Association (ILA) condemns the violent attack on the U. S. Capitol and the racist and anti-Semitic sentiments on display on January 6, 2021. The pretext of this attack, that the 2020 Presidential election was illegitimate, was based on a deliberate campaign of disinformation and falsehood; we also recognize the attempt to reassert dominance based on centuries-old systems of white power and privilege. While today ILA condemns these particular current events, we are aware they did not occur in a vacuum and we are already at work to dismantle their causes and ameliorate their effects in our sphere of influence, librarianship, and by extension to the communities we serve.
ILA defines the following core values of the library profession in our strategic plan: information access, equity, intellectual freedom, and objective truth. As information professionals, we strive to eliminate disinformation, which is particularly egregious when it is used to disenfranchise the public. Libraries must continue to work to improve our provision of trusted, authentic, and vetted knowledge to all on an inclusive and equitable basis. The Association is working to help Illinois libraries do this by surveying educational needs and hosting the ILA Voices discussion session at the 2020 Virtual Annual Conference. In addition, the Association has focused its efforts on including programs on these topics at ILA educational venues, offering financial support to ALA Spectrum Scholars in Illinois via our Sylvia Murphy Williams program, engaging in Executive Board level education, and more. This is long-term work that extends beyond any one statement and requires leadership development, assessment of member needs, thoughtful and intentional program development, and financial and human commitment.
Libraries are, rightly, often called the cornerstones of democracy and freedom of speech. We recognize our unique role in society and embrace the obligation of all libraries to provide residents of Illinois with the tools needed to combat the dangers of the rampant disinformation infecting our national dialog. We publicly recommit our Association and our membership to this important work. We recognize that while there are many points of view necessary to engage in the development of public policy, there is no place in that debate for hate, disinformation, lies, and violence.
The Illinois Library Association thanks the New Jersey Library Association and the Michigan Library Association for inspiration to create this statement, and their permission for our adaptation and use of some of their wording.