10 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 303 2022 this mean for research libraries, especially those in historically white institutions, as we look to the future? How do we reposition our intellectual, financial, and physical resources for the greatest good? As Bryan Brayboy tells us: “One of the things institutions have to figure out is that people come with knowledge, so you can’t just take our systems of knowledge and our beliefs and extract them…people have to be present. [Knowledge is] lived, it’s embodied, it’s embedded in our very beings.”2 Current approaches to knowledge and its organization are far too narrow to sustain the needs of a diverse society that seeks to understand why our systems perpetuate such profound inequities. Everything from intra- and inter-organizational power structures to concepts of ownership and funding must be deeply interrogated. We are deeply aware of the dysfunction in academic publishing and reward systems but struggle to effectively change it. We may be actively working to address gaps and silences in library collections, to elevate voices that have been ignored historically, but if anything, the dominant contemporary information ecosystem is even more toxic and hostile to women and minorities than past systems. The information phenomena it promotes negatively impact public investments in education and thwart science-based public health programs. To have any hope of countering these at times overwhelming realities, our commitments must be far-reaching, for these are no brief storms. Myths of our national origins and racial identities were intentionally constructed and have been built upon for centuries they have inflicted disproportionate harm on Indigenous and Black communities, but, as the co-leaders of ARCH and the THRT movement note,3 all citizens have suffered, everyone has a race, and everyone must be involved in the truth-telling essential to racial healing. In the preface to its 2015 report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada notes: “Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem it is a Canadian one. Virtually all aspects of Canadian society may need to be reconsidered.”4 That breadth should also frame our thinking about future states of the research library, with every part of our work open for reconsideration as we continue these conversations into 2022.
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