We at Hennepin County Library believe that access to information is a fundamental right and is essential to an informed society. One of the core missions of the public library is to provide equal access to that information, and to make available valuable resources that would help to benefit the communities we serve. We value the growing diversity in our communities, and we also agree with the idea that libraries, by their nature, should (and do) have a unique role in advancing racial equity. Therefore, we are continuously working to provide welcoming spaces that reflect the diverse populations we serve, and we are consciously striving to deliver relevant programming and services that respond to the varied needs of our communities.
But while these are the principles that ground and guide our work, we recognize that we still have more work to do in order to fully ensure that our communities of color have equitable access to the resources we provide. Historically, Hennepin County Library has been a white institution, and we are aware now of how that history has negatively impacted how we serve and engage communities of color. By our commitment and participation in GARE, we can better understand and therefore work to remove any barriers to access. Authentic engagement and collaboration with communities of color will direct programs and services that are relevant and responsive to these communities. We can ensure that our work advances racial equity in communities we serve.