Choosing to Lead: The Motivational Factors of Underrepresented Minority Librarians in Higher Education

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

“The stories offered here provide authentic and personal views, from highly diverse perspectives, about why one might pursue management or leadership positions in LIS, the challenges that people from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups face when they attempt to enter that landscape, and practical strategies for developing oneself to ensure success.”


— from the Foreword by Mark A. Puente, director of diversity and leadership programs at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL)

Why does a person choose to lead in an environment where she or he is traditionally labeled “the minority”? Over the years, many library researchers have found that underrepresented minority librarians leave the profession for various reasons: microaggressions, discrimination, burnout, lack of opportunity. But some of these academic librarians both stay in the profession and are motivated to become leaders.

Choosing to Lead: The Motivational Factors of Underrepresented Minority Librarians in Higher Education takes a positive inquiry approach by providing first-hand accounts of success stories, best practices, and practical advice from a collection of diverse authors. Instead of looking at academic library “failures” when it comes to diversifying the leadership workforce, this book highlights what’s going right and how to implement it across the profession—with an emphasis on building strengths and fully leveraging one’s interests, behaviors, and passions, while never ignoring or deemphasizing the prevailing challenges that exist for diverse LIS professionals who wish to advance their leadership skills. Through case studies, promising practices, and specific strategies for cultivating diversity in academic library leadership, this is a resource for both librarians of color who wish to seek leadership positions and current library leaders who want to nurture these future leaders.



Chapter 1. Introduction
Antonia P. Olivas

Chapter 2. Motivate, Lead, Inspire
Oscar Baeza

Chapter 3. Leadership Begins with You
Shannon D. Jones

Chapter 4. Can You Be a "Troublemaker" without "Making Trouble"? Reflections on Self-Development, Self-Acceptance, and Unsettling the Racialized Workplace in the Most Productive Possible Way
Michelle Baildon

Chapter 5. Trying to Fashion a World: Facilitating the Revolution with Critical Librarianship
Deborah Lilton

Chapter 6. Out of the Box
Meredith R. Evans, Ph.D.

Chapter 7. Using Leadership to Accomplish Long-Term Goals
Hector Escobar

Chapter 8. Community Building for Success
Jody Gray

Chapter 9. Public Service: A Foundation of Leadership Development and Attainment
Binh P. Le

Chapter 10. Conclusion
Antonia Olivas

About the Authors

Antonia Olivas

Antonia (Toni) P. Olivas is the Education & Sociology Librarian at California State University San Marcos. She is a proud Knowledge River and Spectrum scholar who received her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Arizona. Toni’s research interests include motivation to lead of underrepresented minority academic librarians and cultural/social justice in higher education. In 2014 she received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the joint doctoral program of University of California San Diego/California State University San Marcos.

Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)

Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship.