Hire and Train Culturally Competent Staff

magnifying glass graphicThe need for culturally competent staff that are trained to work with immigrant and refugee populations is an increasing need for public libraries13. Cultural competency is the ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations with people of various backgrounds or experiences, and requires engagement in reflexive practices14. Training around cultural competency for those involved in work with immigrant and refugee groups has proven to be useful for building better and more trusting relationships between the library and immigrants12. Our forum participants recommended that libraries seek out hirees that are skilled in this area and offer ongoing initiatives to develop cultural competence among all members of the library staff. Additionally, language barriers are often a significant challenge for immigrants in the public library, highlighting the need to hire multilingual staff and others who are embedded within immigrant and refugee groups1.

Learn more about how to hire and train culturally competent staff from these real life examples and other resources:

Example or Resource Short Description
Recruiting for Diversity, ALA ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) presents multiple strategies that libraries might employ to help with recruitment and hiring a workforce that is diverse over the short and long term.
Project Ready This online professional development course is geared towards library staff who are interested in improving their cultural competence when working with children and youth, particularly children of color or Indigenous children.
Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity on Museum Boards, AAM In this free recording, members of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) discuss strategies for recruiting and retaining a racially and ethnically diverse board. Having a library or museum board that is more representative of the community can help make the organization more inclusive and responsive to immigrants and refugees.