[Libs-Or] OLA Quarterly Author Showcase | Jennifer Patterson, State Librarian | From the Guest Editor

PATTERSON Jennifer L * SLO Jennifer.L.PATTERSON at state.or.us
Wed Oct 21 12:49:52 PDT 2020

Hello Marci,
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about the plaque of Cornelia Marvin Pierce at the State Library of Oregon. I really appreciate hearing your perspective and welcome dialog on this topic. Earlier this year, State Library staff suggested that we find out more about the first State Librarian’s past given the concerning aspects that some staff were aware of at that time. Staff conducted research and it became clear that given Cornelia’s beliefs, we wanted to bring the issues to light. We updated the history page<https://www.oregon.gov/library/operations/Pages/History.aspx> on the State Library website, included a short article in the August issue of the Letters To Libraries Online newsletter, and supported Cam Amabile in writing an article on this topic for this OLA Quarterly issue. And we had to decide what we should do with the plaque with her name and image that hangs on the second floor of the library. Because we thought it was important to expose this issue, we decided to place a statement next to the plaque that provides information about Cornelia’s support of eugenics and her association with racist movements. Our thinking was that this would allow visitors to learn about this aspect of our agency’s past.

We are open to a different approach to the plaque of Cornelia and are not opposed to removing the plaque. I also like the idea of honoring another state librarian who embodies the values of equity and anti-racism. I would welcome working with the OLA EDI Antiracism Special Committee on this issue if that is of interest.

Thank you for reading the article and engaging with us on this important topic!


Jennifer Patterson
State Librarian
Pronouns: she/her/hers
jennifer.l.patterson at slo.oregon.gov<mailto:jennifer.l.patterson at slo.oregon.gov>
Office: 503-378-4367 | Cell: 971-375-2713
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[Title: State Library of Oregon]

From: Libs-Or <libs-or-bounces at omls.oregon.gov> On Behalf Of Marci Jenkins
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 3:16 PM
To: OLA Communications Committee <olacommunications at olaweb.org>; libs-or at omls.oregon.gov
Cc: reforma_or at omls.oregon.gov
Subject: Re: [Libs-Or] OLA Quarterly Author Showcase | Jennifer Patterson, State Librarian | From the Guest Editor

I apologize for not providing the link to A Matriarch With Many Sides: Contextualizing Oregon’s First State Librarian by Courtney “Cam” Amabile


From: Marci Jenkins
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 2:47 PM
To: 'OLA Communications Committee' <olacommunications at olaweb.org<mailto:olacommunications at olaweb.org>>; libs-or at omls.oregon.gov<mailto:libs-or at omls.oregon.gov>
Cc: reforma_or at omls.oregon.gov<mailto:reforma_or at omls.oregon.gov>
Subject: RE: [Libs-Or] OLA Quarterly Author Showcase | Jennifer Patterson, State Librarian | From the Guest Editor

Dear colleagues,

I would like to congratulate Cam Amabile for the excellent contextual piece on librarian Cornelia Marvin Pierce, the richness of the content and the delivery of the information was fantastic!

Reading this article I was able to capture additional information on Mrs. Pierce’s beliefs as a human being, and in my opinion, they are horrifying to say the least. Her support of eugenics, and her association with racist movements, prevail over any good intensions in the form of financial or legislative support delivered by her.

Librarians are known for their egalitarian principles and it is shocking to me that one of the least egalitarian people within our profession, continuous to be regarded with a plaque at the State Library of Oregon. I believe that honor should be given to another State Librarian, perhaps, someone that can embody our profession in an unbiased and anti-racist manner.

We cannot keep justifying people like Cornelia Marvin Pierce. Historically, we all know people of color have been incarcerated, lynched and murdered for alleged or minor nonconformities with white society. Many of them had a history of good deeds that weren’t be taken into consideration and almost none of them have a plaque with their name celebrating these good deeds and pushing their “wrongdoings” under the rug.

I might be alone in this observation, but I can’t suppress my opinion on a subject that means so much to me on a personal and professional matter such as this one.


Marci Ramiro-Jenkins

From: Libs-Or [mailto:libs-or-bounces at omls.oregon.gov] On Behalf Of OLA Communications Committee
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 12:44 PM
To: libs-or at omls.oregon.gov<mailto:libs-or at omls.oregon.gov>
Subject: [Libs-Or] OLA Quarterly Author Showcase | Jennifer Patterson, State Librarian | From the Guest Editor

This message originated outside of the City of McMinnville.

Jennifer Patterson is the Director of the State Library of Oregon (State Librarian). Please download and read her introduction to the State Library of Oregon issue of the OLA Quarterly here: http://journals3.library.oregonstate.edu/olaq/article/view/vol26_iss2_2

From Jennifer’s article: “My hope is that the articles in this issue not only provide a glimpse into some of the interesting resources and services available through the State Library but also provide ideas and strategies that can be adapted and applied to other library environments. One of the State Library’s primary roles is to support the Oregon library community, and we welcome you to contact us to discuss any of the topics in this issue or any other library-related topics."

Jennifer has over twenty years of library experience working in public, academic, and special libraries in California, Colorado, and Washington State before joining the State Library of Oregon in 2019. She has a houseful of pets and enjoys hiking and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her family. You can reach her at jennifer.l.patterson at state.or.us<mailto:jennifer.l.patterson at state.or.us>

Thank you,
Charles Wood
OLA Quarterly Coordinator

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