Portland Public Library’s Commitment to Work for Racial Justice and Equity

06.19.2020; updated 05.19.21

In our more than 150-year history, Portland Public Library’s mission has been to promote a city of readers through access to learning and opportunities for the free and full expression of ideas by all.

Portland Public Library is a central institution in Greater Portland that is accessible and free to all who seek its resources. However, the persistent murders of Black people and escalating violence against Asian-Pacific Islanders magnify years of racial injustice in our country and impel us to recognize that PPL must take action to dismantle racism and build equity in our systems — education, healthcare, law enforcement, employment, and others — especially for our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.

To fully embrace the Library’s mission and live our values, we must examine and be accountable for our practices, internally and externally, and structure new ways forward.

We commit immediately to:

• Review policies and change those that result in inequitable treatment of all who access the Library
• Intentionally develop the Library Board and Staff to reflect and magnify the rich diversity of our Greater Portland community
• Equip the Library Board and Staff for greater self-knowledge and understanding about their role in anti-racism
• Build collections that tell the many stories and images of our evolving community
• Initiate programs and dialogues that encourage broad and divergent perspectives to engage with one another and advance a community committed to equity and racial justice
• Join with community partners in all sectors who share our commitment to actively identify and break down barriers to racial justice and equity

Join us in our work to achieve racial and social justice. We will know we are living our commitment when we all hold each other accountable.

Sarah Campbell, Executive Director

Peter Richardson, PPL Board of Trustees, President