[Libs-Or] OLA Board response to OLAQ 25(2)

OLA President olapresident at olaweb.org
Fri Nov 15 14:31:36 PST 2019

Dear OLA Colleagues and OLA Quarterly Readers,

As Oregon Library Association (OLA) President and Guest Editor of the OLA
Quarterly (OLAQ) 25(2), I am writing on behalf of the OLA Board and
Communications Committee to apologize for the impact and distress the
inclusion of the article “Yes, but … One Librarian’s Thoughts About Doing
It Right”  has had on many readers, and especially Black, Indigineous and
People of Color (BIPOC) communities.   I have personally apologized to a
number of individuals over the past two weeks, including Dr. Debbie Reese,
REFORMA-Oregon members, the OLAQ 25(2) authors, and others. Clearly more
needs to be said and done.

I am very sorry for the pain the decision to include this article in the
OLAQ has incurred.  Due to my own privileges and unconscious biases, as
well as nascent experience as a guest editor, I missed my responsibility to
more critically reflect on the editorial content of this article and
understand the hurt and confusion it would cause others.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) is the theme I chose for my OLA
presidential year.  Although theme selection is not a matter of course for
the OLA presidency, I did this because I understand the importance and
necessity of these conversations and OLA has not directly addressed them as
an association.  I recognized this was going to present challenges, and I
continue to understand the long term value of EDI related conversations is
more important than not engaging in these initiatives due to fear of making

In August 2019 the OLA Board voted to create an EDI Task Force to develop
an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan for the association.  This plan
will set direction for OLA by identifying priorities and strategies for OLA
to become a more equitable and inclusive association.  Equity, Diversity,
and Inclusion is also the theme of the upcoming OLA Conference in April
2020. As a result of the serious concerns that have been raised about the
recent issue of the OLAQ, the conference committee and OLA Board have
created space in the conference program for a developing session entitled OLA
Quarterly: A Conversation about EDI in Context.  This session will be in
collaboration with Oregon Humanities, an organization committed to bringing
people together across difference.

The conversations we are having surrounding equity, diversity, inclusion,
racism and white fragility are challenging and necessary. These include our
conversations surrounding intellectual freedom and how this intersects with
the development of inclusive and equitable libraries and communities.   OLA
has much to learn as an organization and understands open dialogue and
constructive criticism help us grow as an association. I have personally
grown and developed my thinking in many ways over the past two weeks as a
result of our conversations, and this includes a better understanding of
anti-racism.  Please join me in continuing to discuss and educate ourselves
on issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.


Elaine Hirsch

Guest Editor OLAQ 25(2)

OLA President, 2019-2020
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