Libraries’ Anti-Racism Coalition Keepers Initiative (BLACK Initiative)

Binghamton University Libraries’ Anti-Racism Coalition Keepers Initiative (BLACK Initiative) is composed of several subcommittees which are tasked with forwarding particular antiracist projects within the Libraries.

Our Audit Subcommittee is collaborating with Ithaka S+R to conduct an anti-racism talent management audit. Meanwhile, they are working with Binghamton University’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to implement strategies for including actionable anti-racist practices in our hiring process.

Our Collections Subcommittee  is completing their own audit, which seeks to understand the extent to which our recent acquisitions cover the topics of racial diversity and social justice in the United States: this will provide useful data to subject librarians, who are tasked with further developing our collections. The Collections Subcommittee is also developing an anti-racism reading list and is planning focus groups with faculty and students who are involved in anti-racist work to understand how we can best leverage and develop our resources to assist them.

Our Community Subcommittee has been fostering discussions on race among Libraries faculty and staff. They have coordinated a book club which has read Robin DiAngelo’s  White Fragility, Ruha Benjamin’s Race After Technology : Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. and is currently reading Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist. They have also developed channels for communication on Basecamp and Slack.

Our Education/Resource Subcommittee is continuing to develop their subject guide. and have created three additional pages, a new “special topics” section to add in pages that provide resources on more specific interest areas, and a searchable master list of all the materials referenced in the guide. The work of each subcommittee is detailed further on their individual pages.

Through these continued efforts, the Libraries acknowledges that as a predominantly white institution, we have a responsibility to recognize and repair the effects of institutionalized racism while advancing anti-racist practices. This work is made salient by a profusion of evidence which attests to ongoing, systemically enacted violence, inequity, and marginalization—ranging from the disproportionate enactment of state-sanctioned violence to disparities in professional and political representation, wealth, and access to vital services. Our core mission is to bring people and information together and to provide information reflective of the cultures, experiences and perspectives of all people. To accomplish this we must be attentive to the ways marginalized perspectives are suppressed by white supremacy, we must take action to dismantle the systems of oppression that operate within our institution, and we must collaborate with others outside of our institution in order to deepen our own perspective and aid parallel efforts.