Antiracism Transformation Team Mandate
To fully live into the mission and values of Kalamazoo Public Library and American Library Association and to promote the freedom of information in our community now and into the future.
By the authority of the Kalamazoo Public Library Board of Trustees, the team will provide leadership, direction and coordination to the work of dismantling racist systems by investigating and recommending revision to external and internal policies and procedures, addressing internal commitment and supporting and engaging staff and the community in building an antiracist identity and culture.
With this mandate from the board, the ARTT will focus on structural and programmatic transformation, inclusive of but not limited to the delivery of services to the public, such as collection development, programming and employment practices.
This focus is imperative to ensure we meet the needs of and are accountable to the diverse constituencies of the library.
20 Year Vision Statement
The Kalamazoo Public Library is a multicultural institution dedicated to dismantling racism and other systemic oppressions. The library intentionally develops and sustains a multicultural staff, management team, and board of trustees that resembles the community it serves. It provides diverse and inclusive programming, materials and outreach services to meet the needs of everyone in the community. The library collaborates with other antiracist organizations and models transformative antiracism practices in Kalamazoo, the surrounding community, and in the wider library system. As an antiracist institution built on intentionally antiracist structures, the Kalamazoo Public Library exists to serve all the people and as such is accountable to everyone.
History of Kalamazoo Public Library’s Antiracism Efforts
In 2002, under the guidance of then director Saul Amdursky, a Diversity Taskforce was formed to explore and promote issues of diversity within KPL. The taskforce sponsored staff events (such as potlucks), represented the library in community events and offered scholarships to hourly staff. In 2003, the Diversity Taskforce (later referred to as the Diversity Committee) recommended that the library send staff to an antiracism workshop in Grand Rapids called Healing Racism. Many staff members attended the workshop during 2004-2005. Beginning in 2006, KPL sent employees to workshops sponsored by ERAC/CE and presented by Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training. In the subsequent years, over 65 staff members attended the Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshop.
It was through the library’s continued relationship with ERAC/CE and Crossroads that the committee decided to explore the possibility of more defined antiracism work, forming a Planning and Design Taskforce to investigate the creation of an Antiracism Transformation Team. The library’s Antiracism Transformation Team was formed with Board of Trustees approval in April 2013, and with initial funding provided by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the Fetzer Institute. The Antiracism Transformation Team is composed of library staff members and community members.
Racial prejudice + Misuse of power by systems and institutions = RACISM
Europeans and Euro-Americans originally, intentionally, and legally structured every one of their U.S. institutions to serve white society exclusively or advantageously. Institutional racism is the result of institutions structured to function without accountability to people of color.
Dismantling Institutional Racism
Dismantling racism is a process of developing and institutionalizing accountability to antiracist people and communities of color. It is building structures of authority and accountability within institutions that have never been there before.