STEPHEN DAVIS: New York Public Library faces backlash after offering internship only to 'black graduates'

A public New York state funded library has received backlash from an equal protection advocacy group after it opened a paid internship program exclusively to black candidates.

Image from the application for the paid internship offered by Albany Public Library — Fox News

The president of the Equal Protection Project, Bill Jacobson, called out the library for saying that “discrimination is okay” when it is against individuals who are not a minority race.

“Can you imagine somebody posting for a fellowship at a public library and saying it’s only open to Whites? Nobody would do that. So why do they think it’s okay to open up such a public fellowship only to Blacks? It’s discrimination.” President of the Equal Protection Project, Bill Jacobson — Fox News

The Equal Protection Project insisted that the library must change its application process to be welcoming to people of all races, as several federal civil laws dictates. The Touhey Library Equity Fellowship (TLEF) has been offered to “Black recent Library and Information Science graduates” since 2020. Chosen applicants will have “the opportunity to gain valuable practical skills and proficiency in many aspects of public librarianship,” the application reads.

The Equal Protection Project issued the library a cease and desist letter, and requested a formal notice that the application process had been changed to be accepting of all qualified applicants, regardless of race.

“As the TLEF is racially exclusionary – only black students and black recent graduates are eligible to apply to and participate in the program – we write to express our concern and call to your attention that this program appears to violate a variety of state and federal civil rights laws, as well state and federal constitutional prohibitions on race-based discrimination.” The Equal Protection Project’s letter to Albany Public Library, NY state Attorney General — Fox News

The library staff makes it abundantly clear that diversity quotas mean a great deal in their hiring process. The library’s official website has a whole page dedicated to “anti-racism resources,” and the Executive Director Andrea Nicolay claimed that, “The library profession isn’t as racially diverse as it could be, so the Touhey Library Equity Fellowship was established as a way to hopefully attract Black librarians to Albany Public Library.”

The Equal Protection Project’s cease and desist letter requested written response by March 28th, 2023, which has passed with no futher update. As of now, the library’s application remains open to black candidates exclusively. 

Image: Title: nyc by Image by Alfred Hutter