Diversity in the Workplace

Information and resources on Training Programs, Bibliography, Special Topics, Women's Issues, and Spanish-Speaking diversity.

The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services website provides information and resources on Strategic Planning for Diversity, Employment Discrimination, Diversity Statistics, Diversity Advocacy and the Recruitment and Retention of a Diverse Library Workforce.


See these topics at the Advocacy and Issues: Diversity section of the ALA web site:

  • Programming to Promote Diversity
  • Outreach to Underserved Populations
  • Diversity in the Workplace
  • Diversity Research & Statistics
  • Workforce Development

Training Programs

There are a number of general training resources available that target diversity issues. When looking through general training materials on diversity, you may wish to seek out exercises from the service industry if your goal is to facilitate service to diverse library users versus training staff on workplace diversity. If you are targeting workplace diversity, human resource training materials abound.

Which exercises you might wish to use depends very much on the outcome you are looking for from the training (are you raising people's awareness of the range of learning styles, the need for accommodations, their own prejudices, etc). To create meaningful change, you usually want to be as specific as possible. Also, ground training exercises designed to improve service to diverse communities in the community actually served by that specific library. Locate as much information as possible about the library users and the surrounding community. GeoLib displays easy-to-use geographic information of relevance, for library planning for a wide audience of (e.g., library researchers, librarians, and policymakers.)

Professional trainers often develop their own exercises after observing the actual climate where they are going to provide a training. They would review the climate surveys (if they have been done), shadow the library for a half day before providing a training, and conduct staff interviews. Keep in mind, the particular materials and exercises developed by a given trainer is intellectual property.

Brief Bibliography

Additional resources can be found on our Diversity in Libraries WordCat list.

Diversity Counts, 2012.

Diversity Counts is a comprehensive study of gender, race and age in the library profession, originally conducted in 2006 and released in 2007, then updated in 2012. The new data reveals a small gain – from 11 percent in 2000 to 12 percent in 2009-2010 – in the percentage of racial and ethnic minorities working as credentialed librarians in the nation’s public, academic and school libraries. While credentialed librarians remain predominantly female and white, this new data provides a fuller picture of diversity within the profession today.

Hildenbrand, Suzanne. Reclaiming the American Library Past: Writing the Women In>. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Pub, 1996.

Jones Jr., Plummer Alston. "Public Libraries and Racial and Ethnic Awareness in the 1970s." In Still Struggling for Equality: American Public Library Services with Minorities. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited, 2004. 83-120.

Maack, M. N. 1982. "Toward a history of women in librarianship: a critical analysis with suggestions for further research." Journal of Library History 17, 164-185.

Martinez, Elizabeth. 2010. "Chicano Librarianship: On the 40th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, a Leader in the Movement Remembers the Early Years in East Los Angeles County." American Libraries, 2 Nov. 2010.

Lloyd, Monique. 2007. "The underrepresented Native American student: Diversity in Library Science". Library Student Journal, <http://www.librarystudentjournal.org/index.php/lsj/article/view/39>.

Weibel, Kathleen, Kathleen de la Peña McCook, and Dianne J. Ellsworth. The Role of Women in Librarianship, 1876-1976: The Entry, Advancement, and Struggle for Equalization in One Profession. Phoenix, Ariz: Oryx Press, 1979.