The Quest for Diversity in Library Staffing: From Awareness to Action
n Brief: Despite our ongoing quest for diversity and a growing number of initiatives to increase it, the demographics of the professional librarian population haven’t changed in any significant way. We are starkly lacking in diversity based on race and ethnicity (we are overwhelmingly white), age (librarianship is an aging profession), disability, economic status, educational background, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other demographic and identity markers of difference. This lack of diversity should be seen as a signal, an invitation to us to look critically at our culture, our practices, and our assumptions, and investigate what it is about ourselves and our profession that is preventing underrepresented people from being able to, or even wanting to, enter and stay. We need an awareness of how privilege, bias, and the attendant power differentials and oppression play out at the individual and the systemic levels of our profession. And we must consider how these affect the experiences of underrepresented and marginalized people within our dominant (white, heterosexual, cisgender, and patriarchal) culture. In this article I consider the meaning of diversity in librarianship. Then, using the ClimateQUAL Organizational Climate and Diversity Assessment as an example, I analyze the potential problems with our data collection and analysis related to diversity and organizational culture. I conclude by suggesting some practical steps for library leadership and by identifying future directions for research.