2 Survey Results: Executive Summary
Executive Summary
In 2010, ARL published SPEC Kit 319 Diversity Plans and Programs, which provided a glimpse into
the progress ARL member libraries had made to recruit and retain a diverse workforce since 1990 and
explored the existence and content of diversity plans and programs. The results of that SPEC survey,
when compared with the results of the 1990 surveys for SPEC Kit 165 Cultural Diversity Programming
in ARL Libraries and SPEC Kit 167 Minority Recruitment and Retention in ARL Libraries, showed that
library activities in this area have been constantly in flux. Many of the libraries that responded to those
surveys were leaders in the field of diversity and the three documents provide a wealth of information
about library programs and services, recruitment and retention, and managing and retaining a
diverse workforce.
Today, diversity is defined beyond racial and ethnic groups and includes gender, sexual
orientation, ability, language, religious belief, national origin, age, and ideas. The increase of published
literature about cultural competencies, microaggressions, and assessment of diversity issues, as well as
the inclusion of social justice movements in libraries, suggests diversity-related activities have increased
and evolved over the last seven years. Over this time span, several libraries have obtained funding
to support strategies to increase the number of minority librarians on their staff and support their
advancement within the organization. There also appears to be an increase in the number of diversity
or multicultural groups at the local, state, and national levels. However, these changes have not been
consistently documented. Therefore, it is important to re-examine this topic to evaluate the impact of
evolving endeavors, to see if more ARL libraries are involved, to see how diversity plans have changed
over the years, and to document the current practices of research libraries.
The main purpose of this survey was to identify diversity trends and changes in managing
diversity issues in ARL libraries through exploring the components of diversity plans and initiatives since
2010, acknowledge library efforts since the 1990s, provide evidence of best practices and future trends,
and identify current strategies that increase the number of minority librarians in research libraries and
the types of programs that foster a diverse workplace and climate. The survey was conducted between
May 1 and June 5, 2017. Sixty-eight of the 124 ARL member institutions responded to the survey for a
55% response rate. Interestingly, only 22 of the respondents to the 2010 SPEC survey participated in
this survey, but this provides an opportunity to explore the diversity and inclusion efforts of a new set of
institutions in addition to seeing what changes those 22 institutions have made since 2010.
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