Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework

About the Framework

Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework image: human head silhouettes expressing a variety of ethnicities and cultures.

The Joint ALA/ARL Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework Task Force’s final draft of the Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity: A Framework was approved by the boards of directors of the four partner organizations, the American Library Association (ALA), Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Public Library Association (PLA), during summer 2022.

The Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework is a tool both theoretical and practical in its orientation, as a guide for developing personal, organizational, institutional, and systems-level knowledge and understanding of the nature of racism and its many manifestations. Racism results in differential, inequitable, and devastating impacts on Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) in the library and information science (LIS) sector, the communities libraries serve, and beyond. The framework is not intended to be liberatory practice in itself—an instrument or agent that will abolish racial inequity or a step-by-step guide—but, rather, to provide the grounding needed to effect change in thinking, behavior, and practice that will lead to better outcomes for racialized and minoritized populations. Therefore, while the framework offers examples of implementation, these are not meant to represent an exhaustive list. Although the LIS sector cannot, on its own, solve the problem of racism in society, it can acknowledge the role it has played in contributing to and sustaining systems of inequity and oppression of communities of color, and own the responsibility for countering its effects, both historically and today. And while we acknowledge the global impacts of racism, for the purposes of this framework, we will specifically address the impacts of racism in both the United States and Canada.

View and download Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity: A Framework. Accompanying professional development is anticipated, and details will be shared when available.

Background Information

In September 2019, the Public Library Association (PLA), along with the American Library Association’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS); Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL); and Association of Research Libraries (ARL) announced the formation of the Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework Task Force. The task force was charged to create a framework for cultural proficiencies in racial equity that can be used in public and academic libraries through: scanning the environment, including review of relevant documents (such as ACRL Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries) to identify literature and similar statements and frameworks related to racial equity; drafting the framework; seeking comment from stakeholders and the library community on the draft; and revising as needed.

The task force held status updates at the June 2021 ALA Annual Virtual Conference and Exhibition and April 2021 ACRL Conference. Through February 2021, the task force developed a logic model, with facilitation by Katherine Skinner, executive director, Educopia Institute. In May 2021, Christina Fuller-Gregory, assistant director of libraries, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, joined the task force to build on the logic model, as well as an environmental scan and findings from a cross-sector survey, to lead the framework development. In the spring of 2022, the task force reviewed and incorporated feedback from the library field into the final version of the framework.

Information Session

An information session for all public library workers took place on February 23, 2022:

Open Feedback Process

The Joint ALA/ARL Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework Task Force invited feedback from the library community on the initial draft framework through March 2, 2022. Next Steps

Following the close of the comment period on March 2, 2022, the task force will review and incorporate feedback for a potential final draft. If substantial feedback is collected through the online website and virtual forums and significant revisions are needed, a second revised draft framework will be shared widely for comment. When the framework is finalized, it will go through the approval process for adoption by the four organizations, ACRL, ARL, ALA, and PLA.



Please contact Angela Maycock,