Auraria Library 08.21.2017

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To our students, faculty, and staff on the Auraria Campus,

The Auraria Library wishes to express our condolences to the victims of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the citizens of Charlottesville and with the University of Virginia community. We stand in solidarity with their efforts to safeguard their communities from bigots, racists, anti-immigrants, homophobes, transphobes, and anti-Semites.

In December of 2016, we released a statement reaffirming our pledge to exemplify the principles of the Auraria Campus community in promoting inclusivity, diversity, equity, social justice, the open exchange of ideas, respectful discourse, and civil engagement. These principles continue to guide us as we stand against anyone who attempts to intimidate and silence members of the Auraria Campus community.

As library professionals, we condemn the ideas propagated by white supremacists, Nazis and Nazi-sympathizers, and white nationalists who participated in the Charlottesville Unite the Right march and whose viewpoints are built on ignorance, hatred, and the existential erasure of other human beings, none of which have a place in our society.

For us, this event brings into focus a long-held belief about libraries and their place in the academy and civil society: that libraries should be neutral. We are not neutral when faced with intolerance and hatred. We embrace the idea that the Auraria Library has always been a space for community engagement and open dialogue. However, while we have a professional obligation to engage patrons in diverse perspectives, we do not condone or defend hate speech and violence. The right to free speech is constitutionally protected, but we as librarians also reserve the right to protect our patrons, especially our patrons of color, from speech that is hateful and denies their human dignity.

The Auraria Library is a space for intellectual discovery, creative pursuits, and fruitful collaboration that is devoted to your success. Through the development of the collections and the expertise of our staff, we provide a portal to a variety of resources representing diverse, informed perspectives. As librarians and library staff, it is our responsibility to provide a welcoming and safe environment where you can freely engage in your academic endeavors without the threat of violence or intimidation. When we deliberately choose to preserve extremist perspectives in our collections (e.g. published literature and archival materials), we do so in order to promote a deeper understanding of our shared human condition and to discourage repeating the tragedies that racists and hatred inflict upon our communities.

-The Faculty and Staff of the Auraria Library

 

* Modified from the Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles statement and the American Libraries Association statement.

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