By Deb Sica
I often refer to the geography of my career as Red States, Blue States, One State, Two States; a sort of Suessian adventure of stark contracts. The path has taken me from New York to Colorado to Texas to California. I have worked in rural, suburban and urban libraries. The span of the communities served included community college students, corporate lawyers, questioning LGBTQIA+ youth, international wine aficionados, Holocaust survivors, entitled soccer moms, and politically active radicals from the entire spectrum of thought. All that to say I have navigated uncertain waters defending the freedom to read in many different spaces.
Our current climate is uncertain and the battles to defend access to library materials have grown. That uncertainty can be subtle and quiet, but it can also be threatening and aggressive. It can be uneasy, but also threatening to our professional and personal wellbeing. Enter… The Merritt Fund! The Merritt Fund exists to those who have done their jobs, faced retaliatory reaction, and have suffered the unjust consequences. And we are facing an unprecedented swell of requests and the fund is getting depleted.
Just short of lighter fluid and a match, many communities are aggressively banning materials and condemning existence of others by forcibly curating availability of materials. And sometimes, the only thing that stands in that space and defends access is your friendly neighborhood Library Worker.
We know this to be real. And we need your help! If you have never given or have never even heard of the Merritt Fund, we need you! Please consider learning about the good work of the fund and supporting it in this critical time — any amount is welcome. The Merritt Fund is truly Library Workers helping Library Workers.
Deb Sica, MFA, MLIS, has been in the research, education, and library fields since 1993. She’s worked as an archivist, an academic, and now as the deputy county librarian at Alameda County Library (Freemont, CA). Sica spent the last decade and a half in public libraries working to transform dated, discordant practice and policy into more inclusive and socially just campaigns for full inclusion.