Aren’t all libraries radical?
Traditional libraries (public, school, and academic) are considered by many to be liberated and democratic spaces, where all are welcome. In reality, library systems and the library profession are entrenched in anti-Blackness and a toxic niceness that reinforces white supremacist, capitalist, and patriarchal systems. Libraries are frequently complicit in mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex — which disproportionately harms Black, Indigenous, and People of the Global Majority (BIPGM), LGBTQI+ folx, and individuals with disabilities. Ideologies, practices, and behaviors within the profession have systematized barriers for BIPGM library workers and students seeking to enter the profession. As a result, the library profession continues to be dominated by white women. Ardent and radical voices within the profession are marginalized, silenced, stymied, and/or pushed out altogether. This is often due to professional values and policies in “civility” and “neutrality.”

In truth, librarianship is not neutral; it is inherently politicized. Library funding, policies, and programs are often shaped by governmental entities (municipal, state, or federal). Libraries are also adversely impacted by budget cuts, rising vendor costs, and increasing demands by far-right organizations and politicians to ban “woke” books and programs. Library neutrality, philosophically, is intended to support democratic learning and uphold intellectual freedom. In practice, neutrality is a tool of white supremacy.

RLL goes where traditional libraries can’t and won’t. As a grassroots effort, RLL operates outside governmental and institutional structures that impose civility and neutrality. RLL seeks to connect communities with information, tools, and resources to advance justice and liberation — unapologetically and out loud!

Be the radical change you want to see. Join RLL today.