A Statement on Community from the Milne Library Director

Never Neutral book display in main lobby.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the collection of books on display in the entry lobby of Milne Library, just in front of our Minerva? If you haven’t already, we encouraging you to make some time to stop in, take a look and find something that challenges your current beliefs.

When we find ourselves in a state of confusion, it’s up to us to do all we can to research, read, talk, and examine the details. Likewise, it is essential that we state our beliefs and values in order to support our fellow community members.

Message from the Library Director

2017, ben, ben rawlins, headshot, KW, portrait, rawlins, spring, spring 2017

Ben Rawlins, Milne Library’s Director.

As events have unfolded over the past several months in places like Charlottesville, VA, it is important to reinforce that Milne Library is, and always will be, open and welcome to all members of our campus community regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and/or political affiliation. We are firm believers in the freedoms expressed in the First Amendment, but condemn any attempt or actions that seek to use these freedoms to promote hatred, violence, racism, and/or discrimination in any form.

The core values of our profession are access, confidentiality, democracy, diversity, lifelong learning, intellectual freedom, the public good, preservation, professionalism, services, and social responsibility. As information professionals, we strive and advocate to provide equal and equitable access to information to all our users while maintaining confidentiality and promoting lifelong learning. These are core functions of libraries and librarians. However, our profession, and humanity, call on us to be champions for democracy, diversity, and social responsibility. Now more than ever it is important to highlight these values of librarianship. We carry out these values by ensuring that the campus community is engaged with the resources available to become better informed individuals. This entails providing a range of different resources and guiding users on how to properly evaluate information. This builds on the foundational skill of critical thinking that is an essential component of the education here at Geneseo.

To grow as individuals, it is essential that we challenge ourselves. That involves challenging our ideas and beliefs, questioning our biases, being open to different perspectives and experiences, and listening to each other. We encourage you to challenge yourself and to use the library’s resources to explore your intellectual curiosity to become a better-informed person. These challenges and explorations force us to step outside of our comfort zone and enable us to find our true identities and become the people that we want to be. Most importantly, we need to treat each other with dignity and respect, and know that the staff here at Milne Library will always be here to help. We are passionate about our work and the values that shape our profession, as well as this institution. We are all part of the Geneseo family; let us not forget that.

Ben Rawlins
Library Director

You may have already read our post from early in the semester, “Never Neutral.” If you missed it, go ahead and take a look now; it’s important.