Divisive Politics and Threats to Academic Libraries - Working Draft for Comment

The academic library sector is approaching a critical moment when the attacks on public and school libraries are reaching campuses nationwide and states are radically changing the structure of higher ed by eliminating DEI at colleges and universities. As we look ahead to critical policy debates like the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, it is essential that library professionals not only react to changes but also anticipate and shape them.

In "Divisive Politics and Threats to Academic Libraries," the EveryLibrary Institute hopes to encourage academic librarians to proactively redefine their roles, engage in policy advocacy, and acquire the advanced training needed to lead in an environment that is fraught with legislative and ideological challenges. We have analyzed the situation and arrived at three key recommendations: Firstly, it is time to reinvigorate our educational roles to mobilize campus allies. Secondly, it is important to participate assertively in policy debates regarding the Higher Education Act. Finally, more academic librarians must pursue comprehensive policy training to navigate the intricacies of education policy at the campus, state, and federal levels. These recommendations aim to help academic librarians lead with foresight and confidence, ensuring that academic libraries remain institutions focused on knowledge, academic freedom, and innovation amidst systemic and ideological shifts.

Download the Working Draft of "Divisive Politics and
Threats to Academic Libraries" for review and comment.

"Divisive Politics and Threats to Academic Libraries" was released as a Working Draft at ER&L 2024. We invite colleagues from across the academic library ecosystem to engage with the ideas, insights, and recommendations in this Working Draft and offer comments, feedback, and constructive criticism. We are actively seeking feedback on both the content and structure of the draft, including any points that may require clarification, expansion, or revision.

To make comments on “Divisive Politics and Threats to Academic Libraries”, please download the Word version of the paper at everylibraryinstitute.org/workingdraft0324 and send your comments, suggestions, or tracked changes to John Chrastka, Executive Director, EveryLibrary Institute, at [email protected] as an attachment. Please respond by April 18, 2024.

We believe that the insight of our professional colleagues and practitioners would be extremely valuable in strengthening the arguments, ensuring clarity, and identifying any areas that may need additional work.


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