Budgeting for Equity
Dallas Public Library
The Budgeting for Equity tool is a rubric of probing questions that assist a department to self-evaluate their commitment to and action toward racial equity in Dallas. The tool is used annually to evaluate the library’s policies, procedures and expenditures through an equity lens.
Racial discrimination and other bias are often intertwined with institutional structures. Rooting these systemic imbalances and prejudices out is an arduous process, and institutions need benchmarks and assessment to assist in examining services, policies and programs through an equity lens. This assessment should include self-assessment but also data, analytics and third party review.
Key Elements of Innovation
The Budgeting for Equity Initiative provides a tool to assess library programs and services based on allocation of resources. This annual report not only set a benchmark but also holds the library accountable for equity initiatives to the City of Dallas’s Office of Equity. The tool contains four sections: an assessment of benefits and burdens of budget implementation, examination of qualitative and quantitative data, community engagement and accountability.
The Dallas Public Library was able to identify and articulate successful interventions to staff and key stakeholders. Items such as removing certain education requirements for positions, allocating resources based on community need, and eliminating library fees were articulated as positive equity shifts. However, the tool also reveals that the library lacks much disaggregated data to provide insights on how library services may impact different communities.