This week, the MLS Community Engagement Blog features four stories of public libraries in Massachusetts demonstrating their commitment to social justice by creating declarations of inclusion. Our first story features an interview with Cathy Piantigini, Deputy Director of Libraries, at the Somerville Public Library. Make sure to also read the experiences of the Cambridge Public Library, Forbes Library, and Peabody Institute Library. Thank you to Cathy Piantigini, Maura McCauley, Lisa Downing, and Jennifer McGeorge for sharing their experiences!
What generated your declaration of inclusion?
As a resident librarian of Somerville, I was acutely aware of the importance of highlighting the role our public libraries play in the daily lives of all of our patrons post-election 2016, when there were so many reports of people feeling unsafe and insecure going about their day-to-day. Somerville is very proud of its Sanctuary City status, and our Mayor is leading that pride, creating a municipal infrastructure to promote inclusion and tolerance, including organizing a rally in early February that highlighted the diversity of the city through guest speakers including ESL students from Somerville High, immigrant parents and business leaders; and community groups and agencies throughout Somerville that work with immigrant populations. He has also been featured in various media coverage about sanctuary cities. It was, and is, an important time for the library to be a part of the conversation. Continue reading