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Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries: Service delivery

Critical Pedagogy and Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries

Librarians and library staff shall be knowledgeable about and skillful in the use and provision of information services available in the community and broader society, and shall be able to make appropriate referrals for their diverse constituencies.

Libraries need to promote cultural competence by supporting the evaluation of culturally competent service delivery models, and by setting standards for cultural competence within these settings. Culturally competent librarians and library staff need to be aware of and vigilant about the dynamics that result from cultural differences and similarities between and among librarians and library staff and constituents. This includes monitoring cultural competence among library employees through such means as supervision, in-service training, performance evaluations, and feedback from constituents.

Librarians and library staff must seek to create relevant and appropriate services for constituents, matching their needs with culturally competent service delivery systems, or adapting services to better meet the culturally unique needs of constituencies. They must develop and promote policies and procedures that help ensure access to services and resources that accommodate varying cultural beliefs. Furthermore, they need to detect and strive to prevent exclusion of diverse constituencies from accessing and using library services.

Direct practitioners, policymakers, or administrators shall:

  • Promote free and open access to information for all constituents through support and advocacy of the Library Bill of Rights.
  • Create, implement, and evaluate service delivery systems or models that are relevant and appropriate to the targeted constituent populations or advocate for the creation of such services.
  • Develop instructional methods, practices, and resources that are widely accessible and reflective of the broad diversity of learning styles, language abilities, developmental skills, and cultural perspectives represented in the learning community.
  • Review current and emerging demographic trends for the library’s constituent populations to determine service needs.
  • Actively recruit multiethnic/multicultural staff and include cultural competence requirements in job descriptions and performance and promotion measures.
  • Develop staffing plans that reflect the organization and the targeted constituent population (for example, hiring, position descriptions, performance evaluations, training).
  • Employ effective strategies for confronting librarian and library staff remarks, attitudes, and behaviors that insult, devalue, or demean constituents or their culture.