SPEC Kit 319: Diversity Plans and Programs · 15
organizations that have been working to define and
assess progress. She found that the more levels of com-
mitment within the organization, the stronger the
commitment is to change the organization and to rec-
ognize the benefits. According to her findings, success-
ful diversity initiatives require both top management
leadership and employee commitment. The responses
to this survey show there is strong support for diver-
sity by both library and university administration at
ARL member institutions. This inspires confidence
that there will be a change in the workplace dynamics.
Lori Mestre argues there is a gap of services and
responsibility without a full-time individual to over-
see diversity outreach, collection development, ref-
erence and instruction, programming, and liaison
responsibilities. However, many other levels of sup-
port and commitment are necessary to carry out the
diversity plan and a committed leadership team at the
institution level and within the library guarantees a
strong, effective plan for diversity.
This survey indicates there has been a significant
increase in the number of groups and committees
formed to address diversity or inclusive workplace
goals in the past ten years. Human resource officers
share the responsibility of leading these committees
and implementing diversity plans with diversity of-
ficers, staff development officers, multicultural librar-
ians, and other library staff. Even without the pres-
ence of a primary, full-time individual responsible for
diversity and multicultural activities, these endeavors
are achieved when the library administration makes
diversity everyone’s responsibility.
In 2006, Courtney Young explored the presence
of diversity Web information in the Committee on
Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a small subset of
large academic research libraries. Her research also
looked at whether diversity information was located
on top- or lower-level pages. Because only two of 13
libraries had top-level links to the diversity-related
pages and very few had information about the diver-
sity collections, she made several recommendations
for libraries, including: place a link for diversity or
multicultural topics in the top level page, provide
contact information for the diversity individual or
group, publicize diversity programs, and highlight
information for persons with disabilities. While there
is evidence that libraries are moving in this direc-
tion, more libraries should follow this advice since
the willingness to publicly share their diversity plan
and strategies via the Web site suggests a welcoming,
inclusive environment in which to work, study, and
be successful.
Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce con-
tinues to be a challenge for libraries. It is evident that
research libraries are committed to actively recruit li-
brarians from underrepresented ethnic/racial groups
and have employed specific strategies to increase the
diversity of applicant pools. What is not known is
how many of the open searches have resulted in new
hires of minority librarians. At this point, it is difficult
to acknowledge strides that might have been made
because of the lack of recruitment assessment tools.
Very few libraries are designing mentoring
programs specifically for librarians from under-
represented ethnic or cultural groups. Many of the
libraries responding to this survey have informal
or formal mentoring programs for all librarians
but rely on external professional development pro-
grams, such as those sponsored by the ALA ethnic
caucuses, to provide mentoring opportunities for li-
brarians from underrepresented groups. They also
turn to skill building opportunities offered by the
University of Minnesota Training Institute for Early
Career Librarians and ARL’s Leadership &Career
Development Program for training to advance these
librarians to leadership positions.
As libraries continue to move forward in diver-
sity activities, more statistics need to be mined from
reports such as the ARL Annual Salary Survey and
ALA Diversity Counts to actually validate the efforts of
the recruiting and hiring of staff and librarians from
underrepresented racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.
The development of more assessment tools will be
crucial to provide supporting evidence of change.
Academic libraries are also looking forward to the
development of guidelines for cultural competencies
by the Association of College and Research Libraries
Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee. These guide-
lines will extend the inclusion of skills and behaviors
necessary to support a working environment that
acknowledges the strength in having multicultural
and diverse individuals in the organization.
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