7 SPEC Kit 356: Diversity and Inclusion
Placing early and mid-career librarians in positions where they can hone their skills and gain
experiences for future positions is also beneficial. Boyd, et al. (2017 ) surveyed active and inactive
residency coordinators and residents to evaluate academic library residency programs for librarians of
color. Their research found those programs provide skills and experiences for beginning career librarians
and are evidence of organizational effectiveness. The ACRL Diversity Alliance has attracted 33 libraries,
including ARL members, that will continue “to increase the pipeline of professionally underrepresented
racial and ethnic groups” by creating one or more residency positions that last two to three years. Since
1997, 150 mid-career librarians from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups
have participated in the ARL Leadership and Career Development Program (LCDP). When Washington-
Hoagland and Puente (2016) surveyed LCDP alumni to assess the impact of the program, she found that
76% experienced an advance in their position during or soon after their 18-month fellowship.
In 2015, Alabi designed a survey, open to all academic librarians, to identify racial
microaggressions witnessed by majority librarians or experienced by librarians of color. Alabi’s research
exposed the subtle statements, actions, and nonverbals that disrespect individual library patrons and staff.
Increased awareness of these hidden nonverbal behaviors and actions, as well as implicit bias, privilege,
etc., compels libraries to train staff because unchecked behaviors negatively influence workplace climate.
With the evolution of social media and networking, the landscape is more engaging and proactive
in changing expectations about discovery of diversity and inclusion tools. New conferences, innovative
project, rallying points, and strategic directions have been unlocked across the nation and around
the world. Social network-connected librarians are ready to make a difference in their organizations.
For example, April Hathcock (2015) published her article about white privilege and the effectiveness
of diversity and inclusion efforts in the open access journal In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Within
hours, and for several weeks, librarians joined the scholarly discourse by adding their thoughts on and
experiences with the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion initiatives.
In the new and revived era of social movements and rallies, there is a need for more
conversations, openness, and understanding about diversity, inclusion, equity, and privilege. To fully
encompass the various levels of social identities, efforts have evolved beyond just the racial and ethnic
diversity demonstrated by the varied efforts reported in this survey. Political climate has also fueled the
discourse about equity and privilege through grassroot efforts. Persistence has led the charge to stay
engaged and vocal about the efforts of unrepresented and underrepresented librarians.
Ongoing assessment is needed to evaluate and measure the success both of programs
and individuals in diversity-focused positions. Libraries have access to assessment tools such as
ClimateQUAL™ and the Balanced Scorecard that were designed to measure success within institutional
strategic planning goals. With recent changes in implementing diversity and inclusion at the parent
institution level, they may need to draw on the strengths of consultants to determine successful efforts
and help them develop effective assessment and evaluation tools.
In conclusion, research institutions are cultivating learning environments that are inclusive of all
of the attributes that make us different and unique. Libraries are at the center of these institutions and are
demonstrating their value through their engagement in research and instruction, collections, and learning
spaces. Diversity and inclusion themes permeate all of these areas. There is evidence that some libraries
are incorporating their values for inclusion at all levels. While inclusive practice supports the diverse
individual to be themselves and be perceived as valued in the organization, moving to the next level is
vital to avoid the exclusion of these individuals in the everyday rituals in the workplace, which impacts
climate issues and retention. (Mor Barak 2015; Shore, et al. 2017)
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