Linguistic restrictions and prohibitions, such as the English-only concept, have been used throughout American history as the dominant culture’s method of dealing with perceived threats to linguistic, and thus cultural, homogeneity.
Demographics in the United States have changed dramatically in the last ten years, and will continue to transform society. This change has affected our interaction with each other as colleagues, co-workers, and as information service providers striving to serve our diverse populations and to collaborate in our multiethnic/multicultural library workplaces. Among all the parameters affecting these interactions, language diversity—the vocal, audible aspect of diversity—poses challenges to librarians, library staff, and library administrators.
Language as a means of communication encompasses all languages spoken by librarians, library staff and constituents, and also includes the needs of the disabled (sign language) and those with speech and/or hearing difficulties.
The following guidelines serve as incentives towards equity and understanding in interactions and communications with each other. Librarians and library staff shall seek to: