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ACRL's Diversity Standards Toolkit

Cross-Cultural Leadership

Library leaders shall influence, support, and encourage the creation of proactive processes that increase diversity skills; empower colleagues, co-workers, and constituents from diverse backgrounds; share information about diverse populations; and advocate for their concerns.

ACRL's Interpretation of Standard 9

Successful leaders will help to foster diversity skills among fellow leaders, library faculty and staff. Diversity skills are defined as sensitivity to diversity, multiethnic/multicultural leadership, acceptance and valuation, cultural competence, and ability to deal with ambiguity. Cross cultural leadership helps to fulfill the organizational mission (Northouse 2006, 3; Rank and Hutchison 2000).

Culturally competent leaders shall:

  • Foster sensitivity, openness, and a spirit of inquiry to other world views and cultural orientations.
  • Model culturally competent attitudes and behavior.
  • Support diversity skills training and diversity education—including the exploration of social justice, privilege and oppression, and fear and anger around cultural diversity issues—in a safe environment that allows for discussion and reflection (Van Soest and Garcia 2008).
  • Encourage and seek out leadership qualities within library faculty and staff from a variety of cultural backgrounds and support their development and retention in the profession.
  • Develop and support a multiethnic/multicultural workforce to meet the needs of the constituency.
  • Create opportunities for cross-cultural communities and skill development of staff. 
  • Support continuing education of staff to be culturally competent.

Culturally competent organizations shall:

  • Provide leadership opportunities to library faculty and staff from a variety of cultural backgrounds and support them in developing leadership skills.
  • Foster a workplace climate and organizational culture that is open to a variety of leadership styles.

Did you know?

ALA's Affiliates include the Associations of Ethnic Librarians, which also provide various diversity scholarships, professional development, and leadership opportunities.

Sample Applications of Standard 9

  • Establishing committees for diversity and inclusion
  • Supporting staff in participating in leadership programs or continuing education opportunities on diversity through ACRL or other professional organizations
  • Offering trainings related to diversity on an ongoing basis, rather than in reactionary circumstances

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.

Ice Breakers


This video series originated as part of former ALA President Molly Raphael's "Empowering Diverse Voices" initiative, and includes interviews and stories from diverse library leaders in the field.

Cross-Cultural Leadership Trends

Institutions Implementing this Standard and Contacts

We would like to have your suggestions about what insitutions to showcase here.  It could be your own institution or you can refer someone you know.  Your feedback is appreciated.

"Your Institution's name and diversity work here"

Your Opinion