Submitted by Lisa K. Traditi, AHIP, 2020/21 MLA President, and Xan Y. Goodman, AHIP, Chair, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
We watched in dismay as white rioters stormed the US Capitol, guided largely by disinformation and met with so little law enforcement presence and reaction. Disinformation and acting on unfounded evidence is harmful to our democracy. Information literacy is vital to an informed society, whether about health care and the pandemic or safe and secure elections. As librarians and information professionals, one of our core values is to uphold access to information and to promote information literacy. As we move into 2021, we challenge ourselves to center social justice as a core value. These core questions arise for us in the librarian community: How do we use our skills and knowledge to fight back against disinformation? How do we adopt social justice to make meaningful change in our democracy and institutions? We must work as individuals and as an association to advocate for change.
The Board of Directors and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Medical Library Association (MLA) support the statement made by our colleagues at the American Library Association (ALA) and join them in condemning the violent attempts to undermine our democracy on January 6.
We affirm with ALA that:
“Libraries in America defend the constitutional rights of all individuals and are cornerstones of the communities they serve. We celebrate and preserve our democratic society so that all individuals have the opportunity to become lifelong learners and engaged residents—informed, literate, educated, and culturally enriched.”
Under the leadership of the MLA Governmental Relations Committee and the Joint MLA/Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) Legislation Committee, we engage in federal information issues, policies, and legislation of importance to the communities we serve. MLA strives to enhance the quality of health care, education, and research throughout the world. To that end, MLA fosters excellence and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in professional practice, leadership of health sciences libraries and information professionals, and the practice of social justice now and in the future.