Racial Equity & Social Justice at the DFPL

Statement of Purpose

In response to a heightened awareness of our country’s reckoning with its past and present struggle to live up to its declared ideals of justice and equality, the Desmond Fish Public Library (DFPL) has undertaken an evaluation of its longstanding traditions, policies and actions through the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion. The trustees and staff formed a Racial Equity and Social Justice (RE/SJ) Committee whose purpose was to deepen our Library’s understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion and take appropriate action to foster enhanced justice and equality both in our library and our greater community.

The Committee is comprised of Library trustees, staff, and members of the community. The committee’s overarching goal has been to strengthen our Library by engaging in a dynamic, sustainable, ongoing process that ensures DFPL continues to deepen its understanding of racial equity issues, especially as they apply to our institution and its role in our community. We want the Library to function as a welcoming, safe, accessible, and trusted space – a place where all members of our community feel valued. It is our hope that these values will be reflected throughout the library culture – in the leadership provided by our board, in the interactions between our staff and our patrons, in visual cues, in our collections and in the programs we offer.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion In Philipstown

In 2022, the Desmond-Fish Public Library, the Julia Butterfield Library, the Garrison Union Free School District, and the Haldane PTA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee joined together to craft a survey for Philipstown on issues of racial equity and social justice. The hope of the schools and libraries is that the survey results will help guide programming at each of our institutions to meet the expressed interests and concerns of those who live and work in and visit Philipstown. We are grateful to all of those in our community who took the survey, shared their thoughts and feelings about diversity and inclusion in Philipstown, and made the endeavor a success.

Survey results and analysis are now available. Please refer to this press release describing the project with an overview of the results. For more in depth analysis, all are welcomed to read this Results Summary.

RESJ Committee Roster

Erik Brown, DFPL Trustee and Co-chair
Hamilton Fish V, DFPL Trustee and Co-chair
Dede Farabaugh, DFPL Director
Ryan Biracree, DFPL Digital Services Librarian
Janice Soler-Ortiz, DFPL Circulation Supervisor
Eliza Fish, DFPL Trustee
Kyle Good, DFPL Trustee
Madeline Julian, DFPL Trustee
Anita Prentice, DFPL Trustee
Rich Syrek, DFPL Trustee
Al Vardy, Community Member
Priscilla Goldfarb, Community Member
Claudine Struck, Community Member

For questions, or to aid the Racial Equity & Social Justice Committee in its work, please contact RESJ Committee liaison Ryan Biracree.