American Library Association officials Monday responded to this weekend's tragic attack in Orlando, days before the ALA’s annual conference is set to open there.
“Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends, and the GLBTQ community,” said ALA president Sari Feldman, in a statement following the mass shooting this weekend at Pulse, a popular GLBTQ nightclub. “Our nation’s libraries serve communities with equity, dignity and respect,” Feldman stressed, adding that ALA would carry this legacy to Orlando. “In defiance of fear, ignorance and intolerance, the library community will continue its profound commitment to transforming communities by lending its support.”
Notably, among the ALA’s main auditorium speakers at this year's conference is Jazz Jennings, a 15-year-old transgender advocate, whose memoir was recently published by Crown. Feldman added that ALA leadership will also work with the leaders of ALA’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT); and ethnic caucuses to discuss "our expressions of support.”
This is the second year in a row that a hate-fueled mass shooting has hung over the ALA conference. Last year’s event in San Francisco came just days after the mass shooting at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., where a public librarian, Cynthia Hurd, was among the dead. In response, The ALA council passed a resolution at the 2015 meeting vowing to “support sensible and effective and national gun control laws” and to “oppose ‘gun friendly’ state legislation, in particular any legislation that permits the carrying of guns in or near libraries and schools.”