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Social Justice and Libraries: What Your Library Can Do

This resource guide includes social justice resources for libraries.

How Public Libraries Can Support Social Justice:

  • Build inclusive collections.
  • Create opportunities for patrons to take action.
  • Design programs that meet the needs of underserved groups.
  • Examine policies using a social justice lens.
  • Host book discussions on social justice issues.
  • Host community conversations.
  • Learn about anti-racism and equity in the profession.
  • Learn about social justice issues.
  • Offer staff trainings on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
  • Participate in Project READY.
  • Provide authoritative and reliable information.
  • Recruit and develop a staff that represents the diversity of the community.
  • Serve as a safe community space during times of civil unrest.
  • Teach media literacy.
  • Use diversity, equity, and inclusion topics in information literacy training.

Sources:  

ALA.  Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice.

ALA.  Libraries Respond:  Black Lives Matter.

 Cotrell, Megan.  Baltimore's Library Stays Open During Unrest.  American Libraries, May 1, 2015.

How Academic Libraries Can Support Social Justice:

  • Build inclusive collections.
  • Create opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to take action.
  • Design diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) displays.
  • Examine policies using a social justice lens.
  • Host book discussions on social justice issues.
  • Learn about social justice issues.
  • Offer staff trainings on DEI.
  • Provide authoritative and reliable information.
  • Provide meeting space for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Purchase materials on DEI topics and from alternative publishers.
  • Recruit and develop a staff that represents the diversity of the community.
  • Teach media literacy.
  • Use diversity topics to demonstrate databases during instructional sessions.

Sources: 

ACRL Instruction Section Virtual Program:  Incorporating Social Justice and the Framework in Information Literacy Instruction, May 20, 2019.

Baildon, Michelle.  Extending the Social Justice Mindset: Implications for Scholarly Communications.  ACRL News, 2018.

MIT Libraries. Creating a Social Justice Mindset: Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice in the Collections Directorate of the MIT Libraries, 2017.

How School Libraries Can Support Social Justice

  • Build inclusive collections.
  • Create opportunities for students and families to take action.
  • Create and support a Diversity and Justice Alliance.
  • Examine policies using a social justice lens.
  • Explore social justice issues in every grade.
  • Host book discussions on social justice issues.
  • Host a CARE program (Campaign for Acceptance, Respect, and Empathy).
  • Offer staff trainings on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
  • Participate in Project READY.
  • Provide authoritative and reliable information.
  • Recruit and develop a staff that represents the diversity of the community.
  • Teach media literacy.
  • Use diversity, equity, and inclusion topics in information literacy training.

Sources:  

Harmon, Jeanine.  Social Justice:  A Whole-School Approach.  Edutopia.  February 18, 2015.

MLS/MSLA.  Anti-Racism for School and Youth Services Librarians.

UNC/IMLS. Project READY.

YALSA,  Supporting Youth in the Post-2016 Election Climate