About the task force
The UC Berkeley Library Task Force on Racial Justice was created to develop a plan of action to address racism and racial justice within our workplace, in Library spaces, and in our support of the external communities we serve. While racism and discrimination affect many people and communities, this Task Force will focus initially on policies and activities that address injustice against people of color. The Task Force is charged by the University Librarian and the Library Cabinet.
The Task Force will develop specific, actionable recommendations that fit within the campus’s operating principles and the Library’s mission, while advancing racial justice. Toward that end, the Task Force will develop a set of preliminary recommendations within the first three months and propose a plan that outlines additional deliverables for the remainder of the Task Force’s one-year term.
In spring 2020, the Task Force presented an initial report to Library Cabinet. This briefing includes a list of proposed recommendations and actionable strategies for improving the ways in which racism and discrimination can be addressed within the campus library system.
A call to volunteer to participate in the Task Force was shared with all Library staff. From this list of volunteers, Library employees were selected in an effort to establish a group that was both racially and ethnically diverse and represented the Library’s various job classifications. In addition, Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani, a faculty member in the Department of Ethnic Studies, has agreed to serve on the Task Force. We also will name an external consultant to serve as a facilitator.
- Sheehan Grant, Chief Operations Manager, Arts and Humanities Division
- Shannon Monroe, Head of Interlibrary Lending/Duplication Services
- Immaculate Adesida, Human Resources Generalist
- Angela Arnold, Circulation and Stacks Supervisor, Music Library
- Jennifer Brown, Undergraduate Learning and Research Librarian
- Christina Velazquez Fidler, Digital Archivist, The Bancroft Library
- Francis Francisco, Evening/Weekend Circulation Supervisor, Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library
- Mohamed Hamed, Middle Eastern and Near Eastern Studies Librarian
- Brian Light, Chief Operations Manager, Social Sciences Division
- Liladhar Pendse, Librarian for East European and Eurasian Studies, Librarian for Latin American Studies
- Naomi Shiraishi, Japanese Cataloging Librarian
- Jesse Silva, Scholarly Resources Strategy and Federal Government Information Librarian
- Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani, Lecturer, Department of Ethnic Studies
- External facilitator, TBD
Statement on racial justice
For too long, we’ve been part of the problem. Now let’s be part of the solution.
Seven out of nine members of the UC Berkeley Library’s executive leadership team are white. Reflecting a history of colonization, the Library’s collections have too often overlooked perspectives of BIPOC or confined them to the margins. Even our physical spaces are reminders of a legacy of oppression, sitting on the territory of Huichin, the unceded ancestral land of the Chochenyo Ohlone.
In many ways, the Library has long strived to be a champion for all — from pioneering a scanning service that creates accessible versions of books to collecting in more than 400 languages to serving as an international leader in the fight for free, immediate access to research.
But in other ways, we’ve fallen short.
For far too long, we have been bystanders when we could have been fighting for change. This is not to say that we have done nothing: Social justice, equal rights, and equal treatment for all have been bedrock principles of the Library as we fulfill our public mission. But we are not going to pretend that we have done nearly enough. Implicit bias ripples throughout our organization, and we can do better to fulfill our promise of inclusivity in how we collect, who we employ, and how we interact with one another.