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Librarians to the Defense

The Progressive Magazine: “…Among other things, public libraries across the country serve as summer meal sites for hungry kids and many loan out films, music, and technical equipment in addition to books and periodicals. Computers and WiFi are available to those who lack access, whether to search for a job or to search for the answer to a nagging concern. In addition, some librarians and library staff are advancing more explicitly political—and often progressive—ideas, from trans rights, to prison abolition, to racial solidarity and anti-racist messaging through displays, lectures, reading programs, and discussion groups. They’re also forming groups for interpersonal support and professional development. The Joint Council of Librarians of Color, for example, was formed in 2015 to promote “librarianship within communities of color” and support literacy and the preservation of history and cultural heritage through conferences and gatherings. Others are mobilizing to protect against the distortion of history. Brooklyn’s Interference Archive collects materials, from buttons to pamphlets to leaflets, from progressive efforts. The New York University–based Tamiment Library is a repository of U.S. labor history, while the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, in Los Angeles County, has amassed more than 90,000 posters and prints. The Lesbian Herstory Archives, in New York City, holds the world’s largest collection of materials about lesbian lives and contributions. But not everyone has praised these efforts. Since the 2008 recession, many library budgets have been significantly reduced, and the political right has increasingly organized campaigns to challenge library promotion of anti-racist and pro-LGBTQ+ events, whether through Black History Month programs, Pride displays, or speaker series….”

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