Controversy Over Race Erupts at American Library Association Meeting

April Hathcock, a scholarly communications librarian at New York University states that she was verbally abused by a White colleague at the winter meetings of the American Library Association. Writing on her blog, Hathcock stated that “he accused me of being a hypocrite, for doxxing people and making ‘racial innuendos’ on my blog. He accused me of being uncivil and unprofessional (yes, he accused me of this in a tirade in a public forum amongst our colleagues). Then, he ended by claiming that I give him ‘nightmares.’”

Hathcock states on her blog that no one in attendance objected to the verbal onslaught. She further maintains that the organization warned her not to publicize the incident on social media “as she might be held liable if anything happened to the man who confronted her.”

The next day, the organization issued a statement that read in part that “the Association of College & Research Libraries Board of Directors is aware that ALA Midwinter attendees have reported experiencing violations of the conference Code of Conduct, including incidents of racism, harassment, and discrimination. We laud the strength of those who have shared their experiences to draw needed attention to violations, and we abhor the systemic inequities in our profession that have normalized discriminatory, harassing, and racist behaviors.”

The official statement concluded by saying: “Our profession needs to talk about the way that racism and systems that privilege whiteness have permeated our profession and our professional events.”

A followup statement apologized for the incident and noted that the man who confronted Hathcock has resigned from his post as a councilor.

Related Articles


  1. It appears that trump’s residency in the white house has exposed the racism that was once hidden by organizations as well as individuals. We must confront it and do all we can to destroy it and make sure that our organizations remain strong, diverse and progressive.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs