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ACRL's Diversity Standards Toolkit

About This Project

During the 2013 ALA conference, the ACRL's Diversity Committee held a meeting on Sunday, June 30.  The meeting was led by Martha Parker, 2013 ACRL's Diversity Committee, Vice-Chair.  At that session, we received feedback from several institutions and colleagues looking for ideas and guidelines for implementing the  ACRL's Diversity Standards for Academic Libraries.

The need for a site or a medium to provide a toolkit with ideas for implementing the diversity standards was discussed.  Martha Parker from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Latrice Booker from Indiana University Northwest,  Althea Lazzaro from the University of Washington-Bothel and Cascadia Community College, and Tarida Anantachai from Syracuse University agreed on collaborating for this project.  Please feel free to contact us and to suggest additions to this guide as needed.

For information about the ACRL's Diversity Committee and its members, please follow this link:

Brief Introduction to the diversity standards

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville: Martha Parker, Librarian-In-Residence , and Jeff Banks,  Assistant Director and Diversity Programs, present the ACRL's 2012 Diversity Standards for Academic Libraries

Purpose and Goals Statement

   The following standards were developed by the Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee of ACRL
(Association of College & Research Libraries), based on the 2001 National Association of Social Workers
Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice. The standards are intended to emphasize
the need and obligation to serve and advocate for racial and ethnically diverse constituencies. As such,
they are intended to apply to all libraries supporting academic programs at institutions of higher
   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.
   As visionary leaders open to change, new ideas, and global perspectives, ACRL is committed to diversity
of people and ideas, as noted in its 2007 White Papers.  ACRL understands that if
libraries are to continue being indispensable organizations in their campus communities, they must
reflect the communities they serve and provide quality services to their increasingly diverse
   To achieve diversity in substance as well as in form, libraries have to open their arms to all perspectives
and experiences. That requires competency in matters of cultural pluralism that are not intuitive and
must be learned, like any other essential skill (Smith 2008, 143).
   To this end, these standards provide a framework to support libraries in engaging the complexities of
providing services to diverse populations, and recruiting and maintaining a diverse library workforce.
The standards may also serve as a starting point from which libraries can develop local approaches and
goals in the context of their organizations’ mission and situation.


Cultural competence: A congruent set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable a person or group
to work effectively in cross‐cultural situations; the process by which individuals and systems respond
respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds,
religions, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of
individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each (National
Association of Social Workers, 2001).

Culture: Customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; a set of
shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.

Diversity: State or fact of being diverse; different characteristics and experiences that define individuals.

Globalization: The process of integrating regions via communications and economics.

Multiethnic/multicultural: Existence of, and interest in, many cultures within a society rather than in
only a mainstream culture.

Multiculturalism: The policy or practice of giving equal attention or representation to the cultural needs
and contributions of all the groups in a society.

Outcome: An anticipated or desired result.

Why implement the standards?

The most important reason to implement the standards is to gain ideas and insight on how to serve all of our users.  The next article is a great introduction to the changing demographics in our nation now and in the near future.

Diversity Trends in Libraries

Diversity updates from the ALA's ACRL Resident Interest Group announcing new librarian positions with a diverse flair.

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Your Opinion

We welcome your suggestions on how to improve this libguide.  You could post your suggestions within this box or contact the collaborators by email.  Note the information is located in the right pane.

ACRL's Standards Selection of Sites Disclosure

To the extent that it is possible, we have selected several national and state resources.  Note that the UAF libraries are not responsible for the content of external websites.  These news feeds are simply a starting point to your implementing of these standards.