July 26, 2021

Dear Whitefish Bay Community,

In recent weeks the Whitefish Bay Public Library received feedback from residents expressing concerns about a Bay Bridge sign in front of the Library that mentioned systemic racism. Due to the impact that managing feedback had on our ability to run the Library, we removed the sign. After that, we received additional feedback from residents supporting efforts to acknowledge and address racism in the community.

The Library is a cornerstone of the community and dedicated to connecting all people, inspiring a love of learning and providing access to ideas, information and resources. We understand that some community members believe we failed in fulfilling our mission by allowing the sign, while others believe we failed by taking down the sign.

We are working on a new outside sign policy, since one was not previously in place. However, we all recognize that doesn’t really address the heart of the issue.

As we move forward, my hope is that the Library can be a place where we: connect and engage people from both sides to continue this difficult conversation in a respectful manner; continue to partner with community organizations such as Bay Bridge, the Whitefish Bay Garden Club, and others on vital programming; continue offer collections with diverse and varied viewpoints; and listen to our community’s stories as we study the past and move into the future.

Since earlier this year, the Whitefish Bay Public Library has been reviewing and updating its Strategic Plan which includes an analysis of our collections, policies, programs, and services for impacts on equity, diversity, and inclusion. This effort supports the Village’s broader effort to take deliberate steps that support Whitefish Bay as an inclusive, accepting village, where all are welcomed regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, mental/physical ability or socio-economic status, as outlined in the Village of Whitefish Bay's Board approved 2020 Racial Equity Statement.

Together, the Whitefish Bay Public Library and Village of Whitefish Bay are committed to building positive community relationships and trust with residents and visitors alike. We do this through ongoing learning and long-term transformation rooted in integrity, community, and transparency. We encourage your active participation and welcome further comments, questions, or feedback.

Nyama Y. Reed
Whitefish Bay Public Library, Director
5420 N Marlborough Drive, Whitefish Bay, WI 53217