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The Necessary Measure: Exploring Opportunities for Staff Diversity at University of Wisconsin Libraries Council of U. Wisconsin Libraries Thursday, April.

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Presentation on theme: "The Necessary Measure: Exploring Opportunities for Staff Diversity at University of Wisconsin Libraries Council of U. Wisconsin Libraries Thursday, April."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Necessary Measure: Exploring Opportunities for Staff Diversity at University of Wisconsin Libraries Council of U. Wisconsin Libraries Thursday, April 14, 2005 Tracie D. Hall American Library Association Office for Diversity 1-800-545-2433 x 5020

2 Dimensions of Diversity AccentLanguage BackgroundPolitical Affiliation AgeLearning StyleRace AppearanceLifestyleRegional Background Communication StyleMannerismsReligion Economic StatusMarital StatusReligious Denomination EducationMental Ability/ Mental Health Sexual Orientation EthnicityNationalitySize Family Size/MakeupOccupationSkin Color GenderParental StatusValues System Income LevelPersonality TypeWork Experience Job ClassificationPhysical AbilityWork Style

3 U. Wisconsin Colleges Plan 2008: Educational Quality Through Racial And Ethnic Diversity GOAL #1: Increase The Number Of Wisconsin High School Graduates Of Color Who Apply, Are Accepted, And Enroll At UW System Institutions. GOAL #2: Encourage Partnerships that Build the Educational Pipeline by Reaching Children and Their Parents of An Earlier Age. GOAL #3: Close the Gap in Educational Achievement by Bringing Retention and Graduation Rates for Students of Color In Line With Those of the Student Body As A Whole. GOAL #4: Increase the Amount of Financial Aid Available to Needy Students and Reduce Their Reliance On Loans. GOAL #5: Increase the Number of Faculty, Academic Staff, Classified Staff and Administrators of Color So That They Are Presented in the UW System Workforce in Proportion to Their Current Availability in Relevant Job Pools. In Addition, Work to Increase Their Future Availability As Potential Employees. GOAL #6: Foster Institutional Environments and Course Development That Enhance Learning and A Respect for Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

4 The Changing Demographics of College Enrollment According to Donna Roe and David Moody (2002), between 1990 and 1995, student enrollment in higher education increased by 3. 21%. However in this same period, enrollment by students from diverse groups rose 28% (at a rate of about 1% a year), while white student enrollment decreased by 4%. An AASCU/NASULGC co-sponsored study comparing four year public college or university enrollment between 1990 and 2000 found that enrollment of racial/ethnic minorities had increased by over 34% during the ten year period (from 1,102,486 to 1,481,633), similarly the number of non-resident foreign students had increased by slightly more than 30% (from 197,063 to 256,663). During this same period white (non-Hispanic) student enrollment decreased by almost 11% (from 4,607,396 to 4,117,145). Overall student enrollment increased by 3.4% over the ten year period. Between 2000 and 2010, the US Dept.. of Education expects public four-year institution enrollment to increase 18%. The Census Bureau predicts that the number of “minorities” ages 18 and older will grow almost 25% during this same decade. What are the implications of these trends on academic libraries?

5 Increasing Diversity in the Ranks of the Profession is of Critical Concern to Providing Equitable Service to Academic Library Users Data collected over the last decade indicates that nearly 9 of 10 public, academic, and school librarians are White (ALA Office for Research and Statistics, 1998; National Center for Education Statistics, 1993-94). In 1991, racial and ethnic minorities comprised only 9% or 344 of the 4,032 graduates receiving accredited MLIS degrees. In 2001, they accounted for less than 13% or 504 of the 4,109 MLIS degrees awarded, an increase that fails woefully to reflect the combined 152% growth increase experienced by these populations between 1990 and 2000 (ALISE Library and Information Science Education Statistical Report/U.S. Bureau of the Census). Isabel Espinal (Library Journal, 2004) gives a potent example of the potential inequity in service such underrepresentation can cause., “For every Latino public, academic, and school librarian, there are about 9,177 Latinos in the population. For every white, non-Latino librarian, there are only 1,830 white non-Latinos in the population. This disparity means that whites have five times more opportunity to find a librarian with roots in their culture than Latinos.” To meet the complex information needs of minority communities, it is imperative that we move to educate and develop a large, dynamic corps of racial, ethnic and ethno-linguistic minority librarians. As library director, Camila Alire, writes, “what the minority [librarian] brings to the position is knowledge of minority history and culture; evidence of supporting services to minorities; and possible linguistic abilities”. Perhaps most importantly minority librarians “can advocate for organizational change”, “serve as role models” and “provide the necessary linkages to minority communities…” (Alire, 2001).

6 Recruitment Campaigns without Equally Potent Retention Efforts Have Little Long-term Effectiveness According to Census Bureau Reports the Number of Librarians Overall Decreased by More than 5% Between 1990 and 2000 with Dramatic Decreases Among Most Racial/Ethnic Groups. 1990 2000 Difference Total Librarians200,881 190,255 -10,656 or –5.3% White (not Hispanic)171,470 163,535 -7,935 or –4.6% Black (not Hispanic) 15,500 11,365 -4,135 or –26.6% American Indian/ 904 700 -204 or –22.5% Alaska Native Asian/Pac. Isl. 6,787 6,105 -682 or -10% Hispanic 6,164 6,370 +206 or +3%

7 High Attrition Rates Among Librarians of Color Speak to the Need for Retention and Succession Planning in Diversity Recruitment Strategies. There is growing evidence of higher than average attrition among ethnic minorities in the profession due to limited opportunities for professional mobility and access to positions of leadership. Rather than tangibly multiplying the numbers of librarians of color, existing minority recruitment programs have simply provided for the replacement of retirees and those leaving the profession prematurely. (Jones, 2003/Reese and Hawkins, 1999)

8 Student Perceptions of the University Experience Suggest Opportunities for Intervention and Support by Academic Libraries According to the much cited and critiqued “Michigan Student Study” (MSS), two-thirds (or 66%) of racially/ethnically diverse students agreed with the statement “I have not done as well academically at U. Michigan as I thought I would. Only two-fifths (or 40%) of white students agreed. The MSS also found that 46% of African American seniors, 30% of Asian American and Latino seniors, and 21% of white seniors felt they had some difficulty in “being taken seriously academically having professors think that I am capable of doing high quality work”. Of the students surveyed by the MSS, students of color were likely to seek mentoring by faculty/staff of color. 50% of African American, 28% of Latino, and 21% of Asian American, and 10% of white students had a mentor of color. In keeping with this finding the study reported that 94% of African American, 58% of Latinos, 51% of Asian Americans, and 29% of white students agreed that “the hiring of faculty of color should be a top priority” for the university. Indeed there is evidence imbedded in the MSS and in critiques of the study (Lerner and Nagai, 2003) that suggest it does not tell the whole story, that students’ perceptions of cultural alienation and inequitable treatment based on race and ethnicity actually increase the longer they are on a college campus. To help explain this perception, Robert Blauner (1992)speaks to the concept of " Racism as atmosphere”, that is "the idea that an organization or an environment might be racist because its implicit, unconscious structures were devised for the use and comfort of white people, with the result that people of other races will not feel at home in such settings".

9 The Desk that Divides Us: Identifying the (Removable) Barriers to Providing Equitable Service to Diverse Populations n a 1982 study by Geza Kosa, the third most common reason for students’ hesitation to ask the reference librarian for help was a fear of appearing ignorant. A student in the 1986 study by Desmond B. Hatchard and Phyllis Toy explained that he/she did not approach the librarian because, "I have a fear of appearing foolish or stupid in case I'm asking an obvious question or a question the answer to which I have already been told but have forgotten". Claude Steele (1992) points out yet another barrier that could impact interactions between diverse students and academic librarians, "the specter of stigma and racial vulnerability." Steele portends that for some students of color asking for help implies "being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one's group". Ling hwey Jeng, one of less than five LIS deans of color provides salient testimony that this feeling is not easily transcended. She says “like it or not, the success or failure that I have will be seen as the success or failure of a minority group” (2005).

10 Beyond Window Dressing: When Diversity and Cultural Competency Should and Must Become Central to the Function of the Library Despite real and perceived barriers to service, researchers and practitioners have shown evidence that racial and ethnic minorities tend to rely more heavily on libraries critical information needs. (Reese and Hawkins, 1999; Whitmire, 2002) In her compelling 1994 study, Rebecca Martin declared that library services created for the general student population often failed to address important differences in minority students' needs due to differences in socio- economic background and/or learning style. In her 1997 study, Ethelene Whitmire found a correlation between grade achieved and the total time spent in the library during the semester. Importantly, she did not find a similar correlation between GPA and number of books borrowed. She goes on to assert that based on survey African-American students [as a group example] who perceived a welcoming college environment were also more likely to use the academic library. Thus, we can see some overt connection between the perceived environment of the academic library by students and resulting academic performance.

11 Considerations for Future Service Planning Currently, academic librarians (of which 87% are majority) serve a student population that is 32% minority (Roe and Moody). Many Researchers (Feuerstein, Gardner, Whitmire, etc.) have found an association between cultural heritage and learning styles. Gardner went on to describe eight different learning modalities: verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, body/kinesthetic, musical/rhythmical, interpersonal and intrapersonal. At the peak of the information age or the “paperless/papermore” society, there is mounting evidence that the emphasis may be shifting from the information itself to “the strategy of the search which may be different for each person.” As trained search strategists, librarians are called upon to become mediators of the search, indeed the learning, experience. On a recent panel NSLS administrator Anna Yackle, offered that if the 20th century had been the “century of the library”, the 21st century would prove itself the “century of the librarian.” This comment obliges libraries, as business writer Jim Collins might say, to get the right people on the bus before determining the destination.

12 Ideas for Improving Academic Library Services to Divers Populations Commit to monthly review of the growing body of library and education related diversity scholarship. Participate in diversity or anti-bias training regardless of what you think you already know. Reach out to college faculty and staff working in ethnic studies departments or multicultural students centers or programs and look for ways to establish partnerships. Join one of ALA’s affiliate Ethnic Caucuses. Become aware of any discriminatory practice that you observe in your library. Recruit for diversity at every level of the library and create opportunities and expectations for existing staff to increase cultural competency. Champion diversity as central (not tangential) to customer service. Remember the much quoted mantra: “If you don’t like change, you’ll hate irrelevancy.”

13 Useful University Library Diversity Sites University of Tennessee Libraries Diversity Committee diversity diversity/ University of Maryland Libraries Diversity Committee FF/ALLSTAFF/DIVERSITY/ University of Maryland Libraries Diversity Assessment B/Diversity20032004.pdf#sea rch='diversity%20committee% 20university%20libraries B/Diversity20032004.pdf#sea rch='diversity%20committee% 20university%20libraries ‘ Penn State University Libraries Diversity Committee Climate Survey htm University of Oregon Libraries Diversity Committee http://libweb.uoregon.ed u/diversityhttp://libweb.uoregon.ed u/diversity/ Duke University Perkins Library Diversity Working Group diversity/diverse.htm The Ohio State University Libraries Diversity Committee es/staff/diversity es/staff/diversity/

14 Relevant Articles Diversity Initiatives vs. Residency Programs: Agents of ChangeDiversity Initiatives vs. Residency Programs: Agents of Change? by Rebecca Hankins, Michele Saunders, and Ping Situ ay3/diversityinitiatives.htm ay3/diversityinitiatives.htm Demographic Shifts Call for Cross-Cultural Competence in Library Professionals by DeEtta Jones ay3/diversityinitiatives.htmDemographic Shifts Call for Cross-Cultural Competence in Library Professionals ay3/diversityinitiatives.htm Unequal Opportunities: Race Does Matter Library Journal (November 1, 1997): 42. By Evan St. Lifer and Corinne Nelson. The Assessment of Diversity Initiatives in Academic Libraries, Journal of Library Administration 34(1/2) (2001): 73-104. By Johnnie Love Libraries and the Changing Face of Academia: Responses to Growing Multicultural Populations. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994 By Rebecca Martin, The Librarian as Mediator: A Significant Change in the Educational Role of Librarians by Donna Roe and David Moody'roe%2 0donna%20david%20moody‘'roe%2 0donna%20david%20moody The Campus Environment for African-American and White Students: Impact on Academic Library Experiences by Ethelene Whitmire e.htm e.htm

15 Other Relevant Resources The Diversity Librarians' Network (DLN) is being developed by the University of Tennessee Libraries' Minority Resident Librarians Diversity Climate Surveys: Worth the Effort By Pat Disterhoft, associate professor of education; Debbie Giunta, director, Center for Cultural Fluency; and Arianne Walker, director, Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, all of Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, California. Rating Library & Institutional Priorities in Managing Diversity: Results of a Preliminary Study by Janice Simmons-Welburn, Director, Human Resources and Processing Services, University of Iowa Libraries ProMosaic™ II - The Diversity/Inclusion Assessment Tool Professional Publication: Stop Talking and Start Doing: Attracting People of Color to the Library Profession Gregory L. Reese and Ernestine L. Hawkins, (Chicago: American Library Association, 1999)

16 Office for Diversity Contact Information Tracie D. Hall Director, Office for Diversity American Library Association 50 East Huron Street Chicago, IL 60611 Telephone 800-545-2433 ext. 5020 email Website:

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