Document Type


Subject Area(s)

social justice


The purpose of this article is to provide a follow up to “Libraries on the Frontlines: Neutrality and Social Justice,” which was published in 2017. It addresses institutional responses to protests and uprising in the spring and summer of 2020 after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd—all of which occurred in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The article expands the previous call for libraries to take a stand for Black Lives. We describe the events of 2020 (a global pandemic, multiple murders of unarmed Black people, and the consequent global protests) and responses from within library and information science, from our perspectives as women of color faculty and library professionals. We comment on how libraries are responding to current events, as well as the possibilities for panethnic solidarity. We also consider specifically how libraries and other institutions are responding to the racial uprisings through statements on social media and call for concrete action to ensure that their organizations and information practices are actively antiracist. In so doing, we update the claims and expand the appeals we made in 2017—that Black Lives Matter and that librarianship must not remain neutral.

APA Citation

Gibson, A., Chancellor, R., Cooke, N., Dahlen, S., Patin, B., & Shorish, Y. (2020). Struggling to Breathe: COVID-19, Protest, and the LIS Response.