Apr 27, 2020
Gallup polls indicate that Americans have lost confidence in Congress, the courts and the media but one institution, the library, remains a trusted resource. Libraries provide access to books, computers, literacy classes, and social services, often in partnership with nonprofits. And while we may perceive libraries as static, they are evolving organizations. In fact, the American Library Association, in conjunction with national civil rights groups, spent 2019 preparing to become the go-to resource, for those lacking digital connectivity, to complete their 2020 Census. They recognized that to generate a full and accurate count of everyone in this country, regardless of citizenship status, required their hands-on engagement. Now, given closures due to the pandemic, libraries are pivoting again. They continue to serve communities and advocate for a complete Census count, primarily digitally. And some institutional change is inspired by librarians themselves. Ana Ndumu, Assistant Professor of Information Services at the University of Maryland, has become a leading library influencer. She identifies ways in which libraries can overcome social exclusion of marginalized communities, primarily Black diasporic immigrants. Her work demonstrates the value of acculturation over assimilation and supports a growing movement of libraries trading neutrality for inclusion. #Changemaking.