Controversy Over Race Erupts at American Library Association Meeting

April Hathcock, a scholarly communications librarian at New York University states that she was verbally abused by a White colleague at the winter meetings of the American Library Association. Writing on her blog, Hathcock stated that “he accused me of being a hypocrite, for doxxing people and making ‘racial innuendos’ on my blog. He accused me of being uncivil and unprofessional (yes, he accused me of this in a tirade in a public forum amongst our colleagues). Then, he ended by claiming that I give him ‘nightmares.’”

Hathcock states on her blog that no one in attendance objected to the verbal onslaught. She further maintains that the organization warned her not to publicize the incident on social media “as she might be held liable if anything happened to the man who confronted her.”

The next day, the organization issued a statement that read in part that “the Association of College & Research Libraries Board of Directors is aware that ALA Midwinter attendees have reported experiencing violations of the conference Code of Conduct, including incidents of racism, harassment, and discrimination. We laud the strength of those who have shared their experiences to draw needed attention to violations, and we abhor the systemic inequities in our profession that have normalized discriminatory, harassing, and racist behaviors.”

The official statement concluded by saying: “Our profession needs to talk about the way that racism and systems that privilege whiteness have permeated our profession and our professional events.”

A followup statement apologized for the incident and noted that the man who confronted Hathcock has resigned from his post as a councilor.

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  1. Audrey Q Battiste says:

    It appears that trump’s residency in the white house has exposed the racism that was once hidden by organizations as well as individuals. We must confront it and do all we can to destroy it and make sure that our organizations remain strong, diverse and progressive.

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