A Message from City Librarian John F. Szabo
Black Lives Matter. Always and in all ways. That feels like the absolute baseline, but it is important that we say it—and that we acknowledge the need to say it. Black Lives Matter.
These are unprecedented times, and because of COVID-19, the world—and our city—has seemed unrecognizable. In the past week, we have added more agony to the pain we feel as a result of the pandemic.
This is a time for listening and learning, and it is a time to speak up. I know we can fear that we won’t get it right, or that we won’t express ourselves as eloquently as we would like, but that can’t keep us quiet.
At this moment, we must channel our collective anger, ache and frustration and condemn the horrifying injustice and violence experienced by African Americans in this country. We continue to grieve not only George Floyd, but the far too many who have tragically gone before him.
As a library, we support African Americans who are enduring such pain, trauma and sheer exhaustion, and who are protesting against this oppression. But the responsibility to do the necessary work of diversity, inclusion and equity belongs to all of us, and it is essential to the mission of the Los Angeles Public Library.
We all need to challenge ourselves and each other to meet the moral imperative of dismantling systemic racism. As an organization, we will look inward and examine our practices and identify where and how we can do better and be better. And we will reach out to our diverse communities to see how we can be of greater service—and take action.
As the cornerstone of democracy, libraries have a long history of being agents of social change, and we will continue that work. We believe in enlightenment through education, and we value lifelong learning. Through our inclusive resources, programs and staff, we will continue to shine a light on the path to justice, equality and reform.
John F. Szabo
- Available Now on OverDrive: Social Justice for Adults and Teens
- Black Lives Matter: Essential Readings for Adults and Teens
- Black Lives Matter: Music
- Black Lives Matter en español
- Coretta Scott King Award - Authors
- Coretta Scott King Award - Illustrators
- Social Activism: Children and Tween Reads
- Talking About Race: Children and Tween Reads
- Kanopy: Social and Systemic Injustice Films
- Noname's Book Club
- OverDrive E-books & Audiobooks: Guides to Antiracism
- OverDrive E-books & Audiobooks: Social Justice and Activism