SPEC Kit 319: Diversity Plans and Programs · 11
Executive Summary
In 1990, ARL published SPEC Kit 165 Cultural Diversity
Programming in ARL Libraries and SPEC Kit 167 Minority
Recruitment and Retention in ARL Libraries. Both of these
documents provided a wealth of information about li-
brary programs and services that addressed the needs
of a diverse user group, minority staff recruitment and
retention strategies, and approaches to managing an
ethnically/culturally diverse workforce. While survey
results in those SPEC Kits indicated that progress had
been made since the 1960s, respondents indicated they
thought there was much more to do to ensure that
academic and research library staff are representative
of all cultural, ethnic, religious, and racial groups, as
well as those who have been discriminated against
for their gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
Over the past ten years, several libraries have
obtained funding to support recruitment strategies
aimed at increasing the number of librarians from
ethnically/culturally underrepresented groups in
academic and research libraries, as well as promot-
ing advancement within the organization. Libraries
have also begun to put into practice policies and pro-
cedures to create more inclusive workplaces incorpo-
rating diverse staff, programs, and services. National
recruitment initiatives, such as the ARL Initiative to
Recruit a Diverse Workforce and the Leadership &
Career Development Program, have been created to
address the need to recruit minority librarians to the
profession and advance them into leadership posi-
tions in ARL member libraries. During that time, the
number of diversity or multicultural groups at the
local, state, and national levels also appears to have
The main purpose of this survey was to explore
what other progress has been made in ARL member
libraries to recruit and retain a diverse workforce and
to identify the existence and content of diversity plan
documents the strategies they use to increase the
number of ethnically/culturally diverse librarians
in the profession and in their libraries the elements
of programs that successfully support an inclusive
workplace the people, groups, and/or committees
responsible for overseeing the programs and how
libraries are assessing the effectiveness and success of
such programs. The survey was conducted between
March 15 and April 28, 2010. Forty-nine of the 124
ARL member institutions completed the survey for a
response rate of 40%. All but one of the respondents
is from an academic library.
Diversity Plans
A diversity plan may include a statement of diversity
values or goals for the library, a description of strate-
gies 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 work cli-
mate assessment, and other similar elements. It may
be a stand-alone document or part of a broader docu-
ment, such as a library strategic plan or an institution-
wide diversity document. Thirty-six of the responding
libraries (73%) stated they have a diversity plan as
described above. Some of these documents pull to-
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