The Board of Library Trustees first adopted a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement in June 2002. That statement was revised in January 2008 and August 2016. This statement is now an Equity and Anti-Racism Statement to reflect the library’s anti-racism journey and the Board-approved Anti-Racism Strategic Plan. Approved revision October 26, 2021.
The Oak Park Public Library values all people. It works to offer welcoming spaces, a sense of belonging, and positive experiences for everyone, and especially for historically, intentionally, and traditionally marginalized people groups. It is intended as a safe space and a community hub for all.
This statement commits the library to being an organization that helps to dismantle systems of oppression that have created, and that perpetuate internal and external racist conditions. It commits the library to being equitable and anti-racist in everything it does.
The Oak Park community and the library profession have aspired for years to embody the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is a journey and a journey that is imperfect. The library must continue that journey, to improve, and to do better. The library invites the people of the Oak Park community to join us on that journey.
To provide space for and to elevate the voices of historically, intentionally, and traditionally marginalized people groups, the library must be actively anti-racist, in both its internal and external practices.
Choosing to be anti-racist touches everything the library does. The priorities of equity and anti-racism drive all of the library’s work, including its mission and vision and the allocation of its resources. On an ongoing basis, the library must identify and address how its policies, systems, budgets, programs, and services may be inequitable and serve to marginalize or oppress people. Then it must work to change them.
The library recognizes that progress along this journey is not necessarily linear and requires constant attention and investment. Being an anti-racist organization is an ever-evolving journey.