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Journal of Academic Librarianship


Diversity is a core value of the American Library Association and diversity standards including cultural competencies have been adopted by the Association of College and Research Libraries. Nevertheless, academic libraries still have obstacles to overcome to embody these principles. Minorities continue to be underrepresented in the field and many encounter barriers within library cultures where cultural competency is lacking and micro aggressions are pervasive and invisible to many white colleagues. This study uses critical participatory action research to identify ways a library diversity and inclusion team can support library employees engaging in equity-minded work at a private, predominantly white Catholic university in the Midwest. The researchers developed a moderator guide, which they used to conduct focus groups with library faculty and staff. Library employees were asked to identify the challenges and opportunities for doing equity-minded work at the institution. What emerged from these conversations led to the development of four guiding principles. The guiding principles outlined are: a) engaging stakeholders; b) building relationships; c) modeling equity-minded practice; and d) demonstrating intercultural competence. These guiding principles are embedded in a critical theory of love as well as critical emotion and critical whiteness studies. These principles promote re-humanizing the ways in which library employees interact with each other and students while resisting the normalization of white cultural practices. Action item examples are offered to demonstrate how library employees can incorporate these principles into their practice. Finally, we offer our next steps moving forward as we plan to implement these guiding principles to support a climate of equity for library employees.



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Peer Reviewed



Library employees, Guiding principles, Critical theory of love, Critical whiteness studies, Critical emotion studies, Academic library

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