The following article was recently published by Library Leadership & Management.
Penn St. University
Nancy S. Kirkpatrick
While existing library literature tends to focus on various diversity programs and discuss lack of diversity in the occupation, research is lacking on what libraries, individual managers, and minority librarians can do to cultivate diversity based on findings from management literature. This study explores linking those findings with practical steps that libraries, managers, and minority librarians can take to increase diversity in libraries.
Review of management literature found that successful minorities have sponsors who advocate for them as well as mentors who provide guidance and psychological support. It also found that voluntary initiatives such as awareness building through increased contact with minorities, eliminating biases through processes and structures, setting specific goals, and increasing social accountability were more effective than mandatory diversity training programs.
Based on the findings from the management literature, libraries are advised to communicate management commitment through their websites, job posts and other venues, set specific goals, evaluate outcomes, and make managers accountable by incorporating diversity-related performance goals in their evaluation. Managers’ willingness to be bias interrupters and serve as diversity champions also contributes to the success of diversity efforts. Appealing to people’s desire to look good to others is also found to be more effective than coercive techniques. Structured hiring practices and objective evaluation criteria for promotion also eliminate biases and lead to improvement. Minority librarians are encouraged to seek out sponsors as well as mentors, build on their resilience, and establish genuine personal long-term relationships with people of different backgrounds to achieve success in their careers.
Direct to Full Text Article
13 pages; PDF.