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To Our UCLA Library Community:

Today I write to affirm that the UCLA Library is not neutral. We stand on the side of justice. Black lives DO matter. They matter at UCLA. They matter in Minnesota. They matter everywhere.

The systemic problem of racism and oppression that has been creating inequality for generations is the antithesis of UCLA Library's mission and purpose. As an academic library at a public institution, we are called to empower and inspire communities of scholars and learners representing all races, all genders, all people. We know that our decisions — the policies and procedures we implement — have the potential to honor and support equality and justice, and we shun the unacceptable alternative.

I recognize the historic and current inequities inherent in legacy institutions such as libraries, but recognition is not enough. With so much pain and anguish surrounding us, we recommit ourselves to ensuring that our policies and actions value the lives, safety, and dignity of every Bruin, and of every person who walks through our doors or engages with us online.

Combating racism will require all of us to take action. UCLA Library will launch an anti-racism initiative through which we will listen to and learn from staff, address the issues that arise, and reevaluate our processes and procedures. This initiative will begin in the coming weeks with a series of dialogues, where we will be sure to create an inclusive space for our staff of all backgrounds. Together, I am confident we will move forward to deepen our understanding in order to advance genuine change.

Across our libraries, we make choices every day — from the ways we engage our students and community, to the empathy we bring to these interactions, to facing our own internal biases. Woven deeply into the fabric of libraries' operations are choices about whose stories we collect and preserve, about materials we prioritize for discovery and access, and about the language we use to describe them. Intrinsically, this ties our work to the broader community and to the world beyond academia.

In memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all those whose lives were cut short unjustly, UCLA Library stands on the side of justice and equality. Please join us in creating a better world.

With hope and determination,

Virginia Steel

Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian