Diversity in Libraries

“Diversity is an essential component of any civil society. It is more than a moral imperative; it is a global necessity. Everyone can benefit from diversity, and diverse populations need to be supported so they can reach their full potential for themselves and their communities.” ~ ACRL

Arizona is a land of diversity, particularly urban Arizona. Check out the stats for the city of Phoenix, or for Tucson. We are fortunate to live in state rich with culture, but library employees often don’t reflect the communities that they serve.

According to 2009-2010 ALA stats, 88% of credentialed librarians are white, 5% African American, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% Latina/o, and less than 1% either Native American or multi-racial. Source: ALA Diversity Counts (from Feral Librarian)

The same blog that pulled those stats, Feral Librarian, has a great post on programs that are working on the “pipeline problem” in librarianship by recruiting and supporting new librarians from underrepresented groups. The library school at U of A made the list because of its Knowledge River program, which “focuses on educating information professionals who have experience with and are committed to Latino and Native American populations.”

ACRL also has updated Diversity Standards for academic libraries. The standards are a collection of “cultural competencies” that can help libraries ensure they’re meeting the needs of diverse communities.

How does your library foster diversity?

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