Last week Ithaka S+R released a report, “Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity: Members of the Association of Research Libraries: Employee Demographics and Director Perspectives,” authored by Roger C. Schonfeld and Liam Sweeney (both Ithaka S+R).
The report, which employed demographic surveys and interviews with library directors, found that libraries remain “over three quarters white, and nearly 90% white in leadership roles.”
Schonfeld and Sweeney also contend that libraries see themselves as more diverse and equitable than their demographics suggest.
Not only do libraries that are more racially homogenous than the average see themselves as more equitable than the overall library community, they do so by a larger margin than the more diverse institutions.We observe a similar pattern with regards to inclusivity.
Finally, the report asserts that library directors largely identify “pipelines” as the primary cause of a lack of diversity, rather than internal library culture.
They [library directors] primarily recognize that there is a problem, and that the problem is centrally related to a lack of racial/ethnic diversity. The problem, as they see it, has less to do with internal factors (for instance, implicit bias in interviews or markers of inclusiveness in the library culture) and more to do with external factors (limited applicants from diverse backgrounds).
The report concludes by calling for “qualitative investigations of notably successful libraries” to better understand how libraries can become more diverse and equitable.