Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Approved April 2020

Policy Purpose  

To ensure that the Hamilton Public Library recognizes and affirms the dignity of those it serves and works with, regardless of heritage, education, beliefs, race, income, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental abilities.

View our gender identity and inclusion protocol

Key Points Summary

The Hamilton Public Library is committed to fostering an environment of understanding and respect. As a public library we support everyone’s learning regardless of their backgrounds or personal beliefs.  

  • The Hamilton Public Library acts to ensure that people can enjoy services free from attempts by others to impose values, customs or beliefs. 
  • The Hamilton Public Library pursues mutual respect, inclusion and celebrations of differences by embracing cultural humility[i]as a key foundation to our approach.
  • The Hamilton Public Library makes equity, diversity and inclusion[ii]  a priority in planning and decision making for staffing, collections, training and service development.  We strive to develop services and programs in partnership with others.  As we deliver our services, we embrace the fact that we have much to learn from those we work with.
  • We work with our city’s many communities to develop inclusive consultation and engagement processes and to develop services in appropriate ways.  We seek to understand how diverse community groups define and describe themselves and we listen directly with communities rather than relying on indirect sources. 
  • In the spirit of diversity and inclusion for all members, the Hamilton Public Library welcomes the exhibit of displays and provision of programs that fit into the location’s communities at the appropriate times (e.g. seasonal Christmas displays, menorahs displayed during Hanukkah, programs celebrating other cultures or religious backgrounds)

Definitions

  • Cultural Humility: The process of self-reflection to understand personal and systemic biases and to develop and maintain respectful processes and relationships based on mutual trust. 
  • Diversity: the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.
  • Equity- Definitions of equity can vary but all focus on the ideals of justice and fairness. Social equity has traditionally focused on ensuring the administration of services are delivered equitably. The key difference with equality is that equity requires taking into account historical and current inequalities among groups and individuals.[iii]
  • Inclusion: is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, valued, respected, supported and can fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.[iv]

Policy Statements

The Hamilton Public Library is committed to fostering an environment of understanding and respect. As a public library we support everyone’s learning regardless of their backgrounds or personal beliefs.   Our belief in the inherent dignity of all individuals is grounded in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Ontario’s Human Rights Code.   The Hamilton Public Library Board endorses the Statement on Diversity and Inclusion as set out by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA).

The Hamilton Public Library recognizes and affirms the dignity of those it serves and works with, regardless of heritage, education, beliefs, race, income, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental abilities. HPL understands that an acceptance of differences can sometimes place individual and collective values in conflict

The Hamilton Public Library believes that respectful dialogue builds understanding and stronger communities.  We strive to encourage mutual respect, inclusion and celebrations of differences by embracing cultural humility as a key foundation to our approach.  We encourage the community to recognize, respect and embrace each individual’s diversity.  We believe that by working together we can move from the acknowledgement of diversity and inclusion to enabling an environment that is supportive, accessible and equitable in its practices.

CFLA Position Statement on Diversity & Inclusion[v]   

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA-FCAB) believes that a diverse and pluralistic society is central to our country’s identity. Libraries have a responsibility to contribute to a culture that recognizes diversity and fosters social inclusion.

Libraries strive to deliver inclusive service. Canada’s libraries recognize and energetically affirm the dignity of those they serve, regardless of heritage, education, beliefs, race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental capabilities, or income.

Libraries understand that an acceptance of differences can place individual and collective values in conflict. Libraries are committed to tolerance and understanding. Libraries act to ensure that people can enjoy services free from any attempt by others to impose values, customs or beliefs.

Approval History:  Replaced Religious Seasonal Displays Policy - March 1997; April 2001; May 2015; March 2017