Wayne State University

Literature on Diversity in the LIS Profession


Abdullah, I. (2007). Diversity and intercultural issues in library and information science (LIS) education. New Library World, 108(9 and10), 453.

In order to prepare librarians to become socially and culturally competent professionals in a multicultural society, those who are responsible for tutelage of LIS students should communicate to students the image of teaching and learning in a diverse environment.

Allard, S., Mehra, B., & Qayyum, M.A .(2007). Intercultural leadership toolkit for librarians: Building awareness to effectively serve diverse multicultural populations. Education Libraries, 30(1), 5-12.

To better serve communities of various backgrounds, librarians should acknowledge the key principles of intercultural communication and implications for information services. This article provides five tools LIS professionals can immediately use to foster and create inclusive and cross-cultural information services in diverse communities. These steps will facilitate librarians identifying and understanding cultural differences and the perspectives not reflective of mainstream culture.

Berry, J. D. White privilege in library land. (2004). Library Journal, 129(11), 50.

After an eye-opening experience at a conference, the author is compelled to adapt several statements from “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” to the LIS profession. He utilizes this adaptation to demonstrate the existence of privileges whites possess to encourage LIS professionals to explore diversity within the profession through workshops, conferences, and other activities. Participating in such activities will contribute to creating a more racially and socially competent profession.

Horvat, A. (2003). Fragmentation of the LIS curriculum: The case of Croatia. New Library World, 104(6), 227-232.

Knowledge of LIS professionals is disparate yet interdisciplinary and this has significantly contributed to the fragmentation of the LIS curriculum. One possible solution is integrating a modular component with other traditional components of LIS curriculum. This will allow respective differences and similarities of knowledge to be combined with essential information and skills, as a way of creating a solid foundation of knowledge students and faculty can draw upon as LIS professionals.

Jaeger, P.T. & Franklin, R.E. (2007) The virtuous circle: Increasing diversity in LIS faculties to create more inclusive library. Education Libraries, 30(1), 20-26.

Article suggests creating diverse LIS faculties is a significant means of expanding inclusive library services to our diverse population. Research indicates mentorships are very effective in recruiting from historically underrepresented populations. A diverse pool of LIS doctoral students who graduate and obtain faculty and administrative positions allows for their personal perspectives to influence the educational and practical processes of librarianship which can cultivate racially, ethnically, and culturally competent librarians. These librarians then provide effectively inclusive library services to diverse communities.

Kim, K. & Sei-Ching, J. S. (2008). Increasing ethnic diversity in LIS: Strategies suggested by librarians of color. The Library Quarterly, 78(2), 153-177.

Authors assess the effort LIS schools and associations have exerted to recruit and retain students of color and outline strategies of such recruitment and retaining efforts. A study which solicited responses from students of color in terms of effective recruitment and retention strategies was conducted. Providing assistantships and financial support is regarded as the most effective strategy institutions and associations can use to recruit students of color. Hispanics show the most dissatisfaction with recruitment and retention efforts, which is speculated to be caused by Hispanics having the most disparity of representation in the LIS profession relative to their representation in the U.S.

Lance, K.C. (2005). Racial and ethnic diversity of U.S. library workers. American Libraries Journal, 36(5), 41-45.

Lance argues there is a lack of diversity in many professions in which at least a graduate level degree is required for entry. He argues one of the major causes of this is the lack of graduate degrees held by minorities. He goes further to suggest that the time and financial costs to obtain a master’s degree in library and information science along with the salary failing to commensurate with the degree level can be deterrents for minorities.

Lloyd, M. (2007). The underrepresented Native American student: Diversity in library science. Library Student Journal, volume 2.

Low representation of Native Americans in the LIS profession is credited to the general tendency of LIS recruitment efforts to overlook Native Americans as well as the complex diversity within the Native American ethnicity itself. This article also argues that to better recruit Native Americans, a common ground must be created to establish how this ethnicity is defined and identified in society.

Love, E. (2007). Building bridges: Cultivating partnerships between libraries and minority student services. ­Education Libraries, 30(1), 13-19.

This article offers a step-by-step approach to effectively network and collaborate with student services for minority students, as a mean to recruit these students into the LIS profession and battle barriers many minority students encounter as they transition from high school to college.

Overall, P.M. (2009). Cultural competence: A conceptual framework for library and information science professionals. The Library Quarterly, 79(2), 175-204.

Diversity initiatives in the LIS profession will prove to be futile without creating and fostering culturally competent library organizations through inclusive organizational values, practices and attitudes. Successfully increasing diversity in this profession requires the attainment of a culturally competent LIS workforce where cultural and racial differences are appreciated. To create culturally conscious organizations, cultural assets and deficiencies should be identified in the following domains: cognitive, interpersonal and environmental.

Peterson, L. (1996). Alternative perspectives in library and information science: Issues of race. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 37(2), 163-174.

Lorna Peterson encourages scholarly discourse concerning the racial and social constructs of society and their effects in the LIS profession. As she recalls instances of the profession evading these sensitive issues, Peterson argues LIS’s obvious tendency to avoid addressing these issues has contributed to the profession’s lack of urgency to foster scholarly discourse on diversity in the field.

Shachaf, P., & Snyder, M. (2007). The relationship between cultural diversity and user needs in virtual reference services. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33(3), 361-367.

Sparse research has been conducted to examine the relationship between cultural diversity and user needs of virtual reference services in academic libraries. This article discusses a study conducted to compare this relationship between Caucasian-American and African-American distance learning students and found there were several differences in the information seeking behaviors between these ethnicities. The article suggests the differences may illuminate concerns associated with knowledge gaps between college students of these ethnicities and encourages more research on this topic.