DSRT & ULA Board Statement on Racism and Violence

The Diversity Services Roundtable (DSRT) and Board of Directors of the Utah Library Association (ULA) stands with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) in condemning violence and racism towards Black people and all People of Color.

The Diversity Services Roundtable and ULA condemns the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers within the Minneapolis Police Department and denounces all acts of violence against Black people and People of Color. Racism weakens our institutions and destroys our communities.

DSRT and ULA stands in solidarity with library workers, with library users, and with members of the communities we serve and support who are susceptible to acts of prejudice, threats of violence, and even death based solely on their race or ethnicity. The pervasive racism present in our nation denies its residents equal rights and equal access and as such is a barrier to the goals of the library profession.

DSRT and ULA calls on Utah library and information services leaders, staff, and advocates of all races and backgrounds to abolish racism against Black people and against all People of Color and to see to it that it has no place in our institutions, our policies, our practices, or our behaviors.

The Diversity Services Roundtable is committed to our mission of promoting inclusivity, equity, and diversity in our profession and association, and to our goals of communication and promotion, and training, programming, and diversity initiatives.

DSRT Officers:
Chair: Chaundra Johnson
Vice Chair: Cristina Reyes
Secretary: Jennifer McKague
Member-at-large: Katie Wegner

ULA Board of Directors:
President: Daniel Mauchley
Vice President: Rita Christensen
Past-President: Vern Waters
Members-at-Large, Section Chairs, and Liaisons

In the following video, DSRT Chair Chaundra Johnson reads the statement in full.

If you would like more information, please see our page on the ULA website. DSRT officers contact information is also listed there if you would like to reach out to one of us directly.

Diversity Services Round Table (DSRT)

Update: Library Day on the Hill ask funded for 2020!

Dear Utah Library Community,

I hope you are all staying safe and sane in these tumultuous times. With everything going on in the world, Library Day on the Hill probably feels like a million years ago! I’m pleased to let you know that the Utah legislature did fund our primary ask in 2020: $270,000 one-time and $375,000 ongoing funding to support internet connections to 70 urban and rural libraries on the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN). This funding covers the portion of the cost that is not covered by the federal E-Rate program and ensures that all public libraries in the state can purchase bandwidth according to their usage and needs and not their individual budgets. I have no doubt that having librarians directly advocating to their representatives about the need for high-speed, reliable internet helped UETN’s legislative priority move through committee successfully. Thanks to all of you for your civic engagement and commitment to making sure Utah libraries are able to meet the needs of our users.

Unfortunately, not every library request was funded this year. In addition to the UETN ask, Library Day on the Hill participants were also advocating for the PALS (Parents Advocating for Librarians in Schools) legislative ask of $3.2 million for an impact study to place 20 certified teacher librarians in 20 schools to measure the impact that having librarians in schools has on literacy scores. While the ask got close, it was not funded as part of the 2020-2021 state budget.

The Utah Library Association Advocacy Committee is thrilled with the results of Library Day on the Hill 2020. Not only did we bring the library community together in our state’s Capitol, we had the opportunity to meet individually with 80/104 of our state’s representatives to talk about the critical role libraries play in our communities. Many of us also had the gratifying experience of hearing how much our libraries mean to them and their constituents. Personally, I loved hearing about how much my representatives love Overdrive, our children’s programs, and the way we support small businesses. Most importantly, the additional $270,000 and $375,000 of ongoing UETN funding will have a tremendous impact on our libraries, particularly in rural areas.

Thank you again for making Library Day on the Hill 2020 a success, and we hope to see you again for Library Day on the Hill 2021 on February 11, 2021!

Sincerely,

Rebekah Cummings, Library Day on the Hill, Co-Chair

Alfred Mowdood, Library Day on the Hill, Co-Chair

Peter Bromberg, ULA Advocacy Chair

Cancellation of ULA 2020 Conference

Dear ULA Members,

It is with great regret that the Board announces the cancellation of the 2020 Annual ULA Conference that was to be held in St. George May 13-15, 2020. This difficult decision was made due to the sweeping concerns and travel moratoriums due to the Coronavirus that went in place by various organizations, including government and library entities across the state in the last few days. Some of these moratoriums are announced to last up until the scheduled conference dates. The board had an emergency session today and determined it was in the best financial interest of the association in the face of uncertain circumstances out of the board’s control to make the cancellation now while the costs that must be absorbed are lower than to have a conference that very likely few will be able to attend. The board also investigated the possibility of postponing the conference to this fall, but took into consideration that many librarians from our variety of institutions struggle to travel during that season for a multi-day conference away from home. The venues and lodging were also very tight on availability due to other conferences planned during that season.

In the coming days plans will be made to refund registration fees and sponsorship donations. We will send out more information to those affected. The board is also looking at how to make the Fall Workshop on September 25, 2020 a unique event this year.

We thank you for your support of the Utah Library Association and sincerely apologize for this loss. Our next annual conference will be the combined Mountain Plains Library Association/Utah Library Association Conference May 19-21, 2021 in Sandy.

Very respectfully,

Vern Waters, ULA President
Daniel Mauchley, ULA President-Elect

Utah Library Association Wins 2019 ALA Gerald Hodges Award for Intellectual Freedom

The Utah Library Association is honored to receive the 2019 American Library Association Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Award! This award is given to the most innovative and effective intellectual freedom project covering a state or region. ULA is awarded the 2019 Hodges Award for taking the lead in building a coalition of partners that lead to the reinstatement of access to EBSCO databases for more than 650,000 students after a state Board blocked access based on complaints that EBSCO databases were pornographic. The month-long campaign to overturn the censorship decision was multi-faceted, strategic, and generated thousands of emails from ordinary Utah citizens direct to UEN Board Members, resulting in a reversal of their initial decision to ban access to the databases.

ULA Advocacy Chair Peter Bromberg, who coordinated the effort to reinstate EBSCO, will be at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC to receive a plaque and $1000 prize on behalf of the Utah Library Association. Congratulations, Peter and ULA!