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ACRL's Diversity Standards Toolkit


Research shall be inclusive and respectful of non‐Western thought and traditional knowledge reflecting the value of cultural ways of knowing.

ACRL's Interpretation of Standard 11

Cultural competence requires acknowledgment of Western cultural bias, and respectful inquiry of other systems of thought, including sources of traditional knowledge.

Categories of traditional knowledge could include: agricultural knowledge; scientific knowledge; technical knowledge; ecological knowledge; medicinal knowledge, including related medicines and remedies; biodiversity-related knowledge; “expressions of folklore” in the form of music, dance, song, handicrafts, designs, stories and artwork; elements of languages, such as names, geographical indications and symbols; and, movable cultural properties (ALA Traditional Cultural Expression Taskforce 2010).

Culturally competent researchers shall:

  • Reflect on and acknowledge their ethnocentrisms and biases.
  • Recognize others’ ethnocentric tendencies and biases.
  • Foster sensitivity, openness, and a spirit of inquiry to others’ world views and cultural orientations.

Culturally competent organizations shall:

  • Support and encourage research opportunities to explore the gaps in critical knowledge in the profession.
  • Assist librarians and library staff in identifying and applying for funding, including providing time, resources, and supportive recommendations.
  • Provide funding when possible.
  • Assist in establishing and maintaining networks of professionals that will encourage idea development.
  • Ensure that research on cultural competency, diversity issues, and related topics is valued in retention, promotion, and tenure processes.

Sample Application of Standard 11

  • Alongside positivist pedagogical approaches to information literacy instruction, librarians can introduce different cultrually-based ways of knowing that privilege the knowledge systems of traditionally marginalized communities. 
  • Librarians can feature examples, words, and cultural phenomena from cultures around the world, or marginalized cultures within the United States.
  • Librarians can encourage students to pursue research topics, and forms of expression (in the work that they complete with their library research), that reflect their own cultures, and/or non-dominant cultures that are unfamiliar to them,

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

3 things I know are true: Ask participants to come up with three things that they know are true and ask them to share them with the group. Inevitably, some of the truths will contradict each other, which can lead into a discussion of how we know what we know.  Ways of knowing that can be explored in this activity include: empirical knowledge, generational knowledge, sensory information, narrative history, traditional wisdom.


Writings on Culture, Knowledge, and Pedagodgy

  • Scheurich, J. J. (2002). Anti-racist scholarship: An Advocacy. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Scheurich, J. J., & Young, M. D. (May 01, 1997). Coloring epistemologies: Are our research epistemologies racially biased?. Educational Researcher, 26, 4, 4-16.
  • Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. New York: Teachers College.
  • Banks, J. A., & Banks, C. A. M. G. (2013). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives.
  • Accardi, M. T., Drabinski, E., & Kumbier, A. (2010). Critical library instruction: Theories and methods. Duluth, Minn: Library Juice Press.
  • Semali, L., & Kincheloe, J. L. (1999). What is indigenous knowledge?: Voices from the academy. New York: Falmer Press.

Cultural Awareness Trends

Institutions Implementing this Standard and Contact Information

University of Washington Libraries - UW Bothell/ Cascadia Community College Campus Library

Althea Eannace Lazzaro, MA, MLIS

Research & Instruction / Psychology Librarian

Our library's Diversity Team led a teaching meeting where we asked librarians to read Geneva Gay's chapter "Variations in Ethnic Discourse Styles in the Classroom" in Culturally Responsive Teaching and then we discussed ways to incorporate different discourse styles--like narrative, co-narration, and group work--into our information literacy instruction and ways to foster a variety of communication styles in our students.