Troubled Times: Tough Choices
Tales from Ferguson and Baltimore
What roles do libraries play in the realm of social justice?
7:00 - 7:10: Welcome to our on-site and online participants
7:10 - 7:20: Miraida Morales on ALA Spectrum Scholars' Collaboratorium
7:20 - 8:00: Scott Bonner and Carla Hayden presentations
8:00 - 8:25: Nancy Kranich leads discussion on social justice values, dilemmas and choices
Scott Bonner, Library Director for Ferguson, MO
Scott Bonner is the Library Director of the Ferguson Missouri Public Library and a recipient of the Library Journal's 2015 Movers and Shakers Award for Community Building. He was also recently selected as the recipient of the second annual Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity given by author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) at this summer’s ALA Convention in San Francisco
Scott began his professional career in the mental health industry but got his first taste of the LIS world e when he took a job as map curator at Purdue University. He went on to earn his MA from the University of Missouri’s School of information Science and Learning Technology in 2006 and got his start in the 22-branch St. Louis system. Scott’s dream job was “to be the director of a small independent library that serves a specific community” so when the Library Director job in Ferguson opened up, Scott applied and was hired.
Scott, the only full time employee of the Ferguson Library was on the job for a little over a month when on August 9th unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. This tragic event sparked wide spread rioting and civil unrest, plunging the small town into chaos and onto the international stage as a flashpoint for social justice in America.
With the Ferguson community in crisis and many of its businesses closed, Bonner let it be known that the library was a safe place where the community could find refuge, access resources and seek support. His work did not go unnoticed. So far, people from around the world have donated over $350,000 and thousands of new books to the Ferguson library. Given the Ferguson Library operates on a budget of $400,00 per year, this windfall is having an enormous impact on the library even allowing Bonner the opportunity to hire a full time children's librarian. According to Andrew Albanse of Publisher's Weekly (Feb 2, 2015) the Ferguson library under Bonner's leadership "has become one of the few positive headlines to come out of Ferguson".
Carla Hayden, CEO of the Pratt Public Library Systems, Baltimore, MD
She is an active member of the American Library Association (ALA) and was elected President of ALA for the 2003-04 term. She served as the Immediate Past President for the 2004-2005 term and the President-Elect for the 2002-2003 term. She also served as chair of ALA’s Committee on Accreditation and Spectrum Initiative to recruit minorities to librarianship.
She is currently a member of the Boards of the Maryland African American Museum Corporation; Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women; Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE); Baltimore National Heritage Area; Goucher College; Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Library Advisory Board; Downtown Partnership Authority; as well as the Shriver Hall and the Center Club of Baltimore.
Nancy Kranich teaches at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information and conducts special projects for the Rutgers University Libraries. She served as President of the American Library Association in 2000-2001, focusing on the role of libraries in democracies. A tireless advocate for free and open access to information, Nancy has spoken out against censorship, filtering, secrecy, privatization, and other attempts to limit the public’s information rights. She has also spearheaded ALA's right to know, information commons, civic engagement, and Internet filtering initiatives, formed the Coalition on Government Information, and established the James Madison Awards honoring champions of public access to information. She has testified several times before Congress, attended annual legislative days at the state and national levels, and participated in several White House and Congressional briefings.
Nancy has chaired and served on a number of ALA committees that deal with intellectual freedom, information policy, copyright, privacy, information commons and public engagement, and led the Association’s efforts to oppose the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), promote privacy, and advocate media diversity. In addition, Nancy founded and chairs the ALA Center for Civic Life and ALA’s Libraries Foster Community Engagement Membership Initiative Group, and was instrumental in launching ALA’s partnership with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. She is the 2015 recipient of ALA’s Ken Haycock Award for the promotion of librarianship.