Why Equity?

When equity is foundational, libraries work collaboratively to connect with and amplify community voices.

Understanding the “why” makes it possible to authentically engage in equity practices. A focus on why equity in summer services enables us to explain the significance of equity work to others. It also aids us in maintaining alignment between our goals and our purpose. Lastly, it is motivating to see that we have a role to play in reducing harm and increasing equity across our communities.

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Why should equity be central to library services?

  1. Library staff are public servants that must center community needs over the needs of the institution and its staff
  2. As public servants library staff must focus on solutions, not problems (See Subramanam, et al (PDF))
  3. Social justice and liberation require equity-based solutions
  4. Libraries are a part of the community ecosystem and that ecosystem includes systemically marginalized youth, families, and adults
  5. It’s imperative that systemically marginalized youth, families, and adults have opportunities to bring their unique lived experiences to the design and implementation of community-based services
  6. The only way to build and encourage strong and vibrant communities is through a foundation of equity

The California Library Association and California State Library worked closely with 14 California libraries to compile this body of equity foundations and best practices now known as “BEBS”. In 2023 we’ve expanded the project nationally and over the next several years will work with states across the U.S. to bring BEBS to their libraries and communities.


Still interested in learning more? Hear real-world stories of equity from past participants of the BEBS program.

When we make an intentional decision to partner with and center equity, we can engage in the ongoing exercise of honoring diversity, embracing inclusion, and nourishing authentic experiences of thriving and belonging.

When we do this, we gift ourselves the opportunity to connect and build relationships that allow us to hold our humanity in beautiful ways, allowing us, in turn, to hold the humanity of others. This brings us closer to justness and liberation for all.

- LaKesha Kimbrough, Equity Consultant

Could BEBS impact more of your community? Join our free learning sessions to begin the change.

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