Leadership, Management and Organizational Development
This panel will address the role of diversity-related research in informing library and information science (LIS) practice and education. Given the complexity of the issues and the contentious nature of the current discussion surrounding aspects of diversity, research can play a pivotal role in supporting decision making in libraries, professional development, and the preparation of new information professionals in LIS programs.
The panelists will address the nature of diversity issues in academic and public libraries, as informed by the research questions and discussion in library-related diversity research, as well as research related to diversity to higher education, more broadly, and research related to diversity in the non-profit and philanthropic communities. Together the presentations will show how current research can help to inform practice-based decision making in libraries, such as hiring, program and service planning, and policy development. They will also show the need for making diversity research a basic LIS curricular requirement in order to develop a more diversity-aware and diversity-active future profession.
In academic and public libraries, key diversity issues range from racial bullying to free speech; transgender student services; economic inequality in general and in relation to access to information and to higher education; inequitable access to mentoring, committee appointments, and continuing education opportunities; workplace microaggressions, stereotyping, tokenism, and solo status pressures; and so-called theoretical discussions related to the superiority of the races. Supporting practitioners in addressing issues in a complex climate requires a broad and informed base of knowledge. However, there is a limited amount of empirical research related to diversity in libraries overall, and in public libraries there is far less empirical research on most topics, as compared with academic libraries, leading in many cases to difficulties in locating sufficient relevant research to make truly evidence-based decisions. The panel members will suggest future directions toward making more diversity research available for LIS practitioners and students alike, as well as areas for future research likely to have strong positive impacts on LIS practice and education.