While it has never been the practice of this Library to advocate for anything other than the love of reading, the open exchange of ideas and the promotion of free and open access to the universe of information, the events of recent weeks and the sincere urging of many thoughtful staff members compel me to break with custom.
This Library is, and always has been, a place – and a staff – of welcome and assistance for all. As a staff and an institution, we reflect the rich tapestry of cultures, customs and colors that make Somerset County the vibrant community it is today. Our role should always be one of promoting and celebrating that diversity and, importantly, of building communities of tolerance, respect, and meaningful dialog. Can we do more? Each of us certainly can. And we take this opportunity today to ask everyone to join us in confirming our commitment to kindness and mutual support, free from violence of any kind.
Our staff has been busy preparing tools to promote these values. While it is challenging to foster dialog during a pandemic shutdown, we have prepared a curated list of suggested readings and encourage you to explore it at this link. We are planning virtual, and, we sincerely hope, in-person opportunities to engage with thoughtful speakers on how to best promote justice and equality. Our System Training Manager has been working with our staff Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to engage and inform staff. We will redouble our efforts at recruiting a diverse staff.
Please join me and our outstanding library staff as we advocate for the values needed to support our neighbors and together build that better world we all want to live in.
Brian K. Auger