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The Akron-Summit County Public Library stands against racism, discrimination, and inequality.  We are committed to helping our community reach true racial and social equality by partnering with local governments, nonprofits, educational institutions, and businesses to work for institutional change. We also are committed to ensuring that we take action to address any inequities in Library policies, procedures, programs, resources, and services.

The Library’s continuing efforts to bring opportunity and equity to all we serve are apparent in the areas of voter registration; collaborations with the Akron Canton Regional Foodbank, Project Learn, the Akron Bar Association, and Community Legal Aid; reentry services; microbusiness assistance; health and wellness programs; and much more. Library staff actively participate on the committees, task forces, and boards of organizations and agencies that directly address the pressing issues that contribute to racism and inequality.  However, there is more work to be done.

We recommit to our core values of Excellence, Service, Learning and Diversity & Inclusion, and we pledge to

  • listen deeply to people of color to better understand inequalities in the provision of Library services, programs, and resources;
  • examine operational and service policies for barriers to Library use that negatively affect people of color;
  • continue providing staff training and development in the areas of implicit bias, diversity, multiculturalism, poverty, trauma, and mental health challenges;
  • investigate ways to offer increased economic opportunities for minority vendors, program presenters, and other businesses for services and products needed by the Library;
  • continue offering to Library employees the C. Blake McDowell Scholarship for graduate studies in Library and Information Science, a principal purpose of which is to promote racial diversity in the ranks of professional librarians;
  • encourage African American youth to consider employment in the Library through attendance at job and career fairs and continued participation in the Akron Public Schools College & Career Academies.

The first building in Akron constructed specifically to be used as a library was the building funded by Andrew Carnegie, which is located at the northeast corner of East Market and North High. Although many years have passed since the Akron Public Library operated there, still visible above the front doors are the words “OPEN TO ALL.” Today’s Akron-Summit County Public Library proudly continues that tradition and will strive for a community free of racism and inequality.

Adopted by ASCPL Board of Trustees June 25, 2020

by Pam Hickson-Stevenson,
Executive Director
Akron-Summit County Public Library