Friends of the VPL Anti-Racism Statement and Commitment

The past few months have reactivated and renewed our collective need and urgency to address racism and violence towards BIPOC communities. While many of us are only starting to become aware of what has been a lived reality for BIPOC folks, their experiences extend as far back as they can remember. Black Lives Matter. Indigenous Lives Matter. We stand with you.

For our white members, this has likely been a time of reflection, learning and listening. Our systems are inherently racist and colonial. Part of our work must include understanding how to dismantle those systems and build new ones on a different foundation. We hope you are staying open to change.

Our volunteer board is currently considering how to best be part of the change. We have compiled a list of learning resources for our members and the actions that we will commit to.

You can find the resources on a separate post through this link. 

Action Plan

We commit to the following actions:

  • Reviewing and revising the FVPL’s bylaws, policies, and practices to ensure they do not marginalize and/or exclude members of our communities.
  • Educating our members and followers by sharing resources that challenge anti-Black racism and support the work of dismantling white supremacy through our newsletter and social media.
  • Confronting simplistic narratives of “freedom of expression” and “intellectual freedom” when they are used to promote hate and violence in shared spaces like public libraries.
  • Continuing to learn about our own complicity in anti-Black racism and white supremacy.

We recognize that our communities are culturally and ethnically diverse and that to serve them better we must address white privilege and systemic racism in our institutions. We want to work towards increasing equitable access to library programs for all of our members and increasing the diversity and representation of those organizing and participating in these programs as well as the materials they borrow. To meet this, we further commit to:

  • Reviewing and revising the criteria established by our Nominating Committee when searching for new board directors to recruit more diversity on the board.
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion through the FVPL’s allocation of funding towards VPL’s programs, for example encouraging more BIPOC for the Writers in Residence program.
  • Diversifying our list of members by expanding our outreach strategies so that they reach multiple communities, for example considering budgeting for the translation of our materials.
  • Advocating for positive, systemic change in VPL policies and practices.

We hope you will join us as we learn and address these challenging issues together.

–  Friends of the Vancouver Public Library Board


published: October 3, 2020