3 SPEC Kit 356: Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity/Inclusion Plans
A diversity/inclusion plan may include a statement of diversity values or goals for the library, a
description of strategies for recruiting ethnically/culturally diverse staff to the library and retaining them
once they are hired, an outline of programs that promote ethnic/cultural sensitivity in the workplace,
results from a workplace climate assessment, and other similar elements. It may be a stand-alone
document or part of a broader document, such as a library strategic plan or an institution-wide diversity
document. Similar to the 2010 survey, 36 of the responding libraries (53%) reported they have a diversity
plan as described above; an additional 14 (21%) have a plan currently under development or review. The
majority of plans are separate documents spread throughout the institution that, when joined together,
form what can be defined as a diversity/inclusion plan. Several other respondents mentioned they do not
have specific plans but that statements on diversity and inclusion are included in library strategic plans
and in the library committee structure. Elements of the diversity plan remain the same, however newer
elements such as climate survey, measuring success, and information about accountability are included.
The majority of respondents who have a plan reported that their library administration was
responsible for initiating its development (24 or 67%). At seven of those libraries (19%) the library
human resources officer/unit also played a role. Forty-one respondents (87%) reported that diversity
initiatives or directives from their parent institution had an impact on the library plan. Survey
respondents’ comments suggest that outside factors such as social justice movements and the creation
of campus offices for diversity and inclusion were the main drivers of these changes, as were campus
leaders invested in diversity and inclusion leadership positions and departments. One respondent
mentioned that the development of their plan was “truly a grassroots effort by staff that was supported
by administration.”
A closer look at the diversity plans initiated by parent institutions reveals that some are a part
of the campus strategic planning document that outlines specific initiatives and includes components of
responsibility and accountability. Some of the examples are statements about diversity & inclusion from
high-level campus administration such as the provost, chancellor, or president. Other institutions have
provided training on implicit bias, conducted a climate survey, or appointed committees and charged
groups to work in this area. There is a clear increase in the ways libraries and campuses are looking at and
approaching these issues.
One significant change since 2010 is the number of libraries that review their plans annually and
biannually; 24 of 34 responding libraries reported their diversity and inclusion plans were updated as
recently as 2015 or are currently being evaluated. While 18 respondents stated their plans are components
of the strategic planning process in the libraries or in the parent organization, more than half of the
diversity plans (24 or 57%) were reported as stand-alone documents.
An important aspect of having a plan is the ability to implement it, including staff to plan and
deliver programming and training in support of those efforts. In 2010, 36 respondents reported a total of
three multicultural librarians and seven diversity officers. Responses to the 2017 survey show an increase:
seven libraries report having a multicultural/diversity librarian and 20 have diversity officers. Currently,
implementation of diversity and inclusion plans falls primarily on diversity committees or other related
groups (32 of 42 respondents or 76%), HR/personnel officers (27 or 64%), or diversity officers (15 or 36%).
Several reported that library administrators also play a role. One respondent reported, “The Libraries
made it a requirement for all faculty and staff to have a diversity commitment statement in their position
description.” This sentiment is shared by other libraries who also reported that the responsibility for
diversity and inclusion falls on all members of the organization.
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