In a recent newsletter to library users, Burbank Public Library Director Elizabeth Goldman laid out recent changes to library operations that benefit justice, equity and inclusion.
“Four years ago, Burbank Public Library had the opportunity to join a group of other California public libraries receiving training on racial equity and the ways in which it impacts our work,” Goldman said in the newsletter.
Coming out of that effort, library staff have applied the equity and inclusion learnings to a number of projects to ensure the library is supporting and celebrating justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, or JEDI, in the community.
Most recently, the library released a three-year JEDI action plan to guide its work.
Goldman said library users may have noticed some positive changes in the past few years including:
• Elimination of library fines in 2021. Due to the lasting legacies of historical inequities and systemic racism, fines have been found to disproportionately impact users of color, and the change benefits all users without negative consequences for library collections or services.
• Improved diversity of items in the library collection and on display; of topics and presenters for programs; and of content in marketing and social media material. This helps us better reflect the community we serve and ensure users from all backgrounds can see themselves when they use library services.
• Behind the scenes, projects are in the works to apply a racial equity lens to policy updates; improve recruitment and retention of diverse staff; and provide additional customer service training. This work has come about through the commitment of the library staff, many of whom serve on committees exploring these areas and others. Staff are now participating in and advising on larger city of Burbank efforts related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“If these efforts are improving your experience with the library or if you have other ideas to share related to this work, please let us know,” Goldman said.
For more information, visit burbanklibrary.org/planning.
First published in the December 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.