The City of Madison’s Department of Civil Rights has adopted the Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative (RESJI), which seeks to “establish racial equity and social justice as a core principle in all decisions, policies and functions of the City of Madison.” In response, each city department began creating its own Racial Equity Change Team; this effort dovetails with Madison Public Library’s focus on equity.

The library’s Racial Equity Change Team’s immediate focus is on conducting equity analyses of library services, programs and policies; addressing the ways that the library perpetuates systemic or structural racism through policy or practice, and contributes to racial disparities; and providing resources, training and leadership to transform the library’s culture. The group also works to support staff of color through activities, training and employee support, and the establishment of an affinity group for staff of color.

The group recently issued a list of recommended actions the library and library board should take. The library board adopted two of those items — elimination of fines and elimination of the use of a collection agency — at its August 6 meeting. Learn more at