Hopeful Visions, Practical Actions: Cultural Humility in Library Work

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

Read an interview with the editors now!

LIS educators and students, library directors, managers, frontline employees, and those who work behind the scenes all share how they are taking action and creating change. Thoughtfully addressing DEI issues related to policies, services, and programs, this collection’s diverse chorus of voices will both enlighten and inspire.

Cultural humility offers a renewing and transformative framework for navigating interpersonal interactions in libraries, whether between patrons and staff or staff members with one another. It foregrounds a practice of critical self-reflection and commitment to recognizing and redressing structural inequities and problematic power imbalances. This collection, the first book-length treatment of this approach in libraries, gathers contributors from across the field to demonstrate how cultural humility can change the way we work and make lasting impacts on diversity, equity, and inclusion in libraries. This book's chapters explore such topics as

  • how Indigenous adages can be tools for reflection and guidance in developing cultural humility;
  • the experiences of two Black librarians who are using cultural humility to change the profession;
  • new perspectives on core concepts of customer service;
  • rethinking policies and practices in libraries both large and small;
  • using cultural humility in approaching collection development and creating resource guides;
  • what cultural humility can look like for a tribal librarian working in a tribal college library; and
  • reflecting on cultural humility itself and where it is going.

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use. An e-book edition of the text will be available shortly after the print edition is published.

Foreword by Mark A. Puente

Part I        Origins
1    “Time Is a Ship That Never Casts Anchor”: Indigenous Adages in Promoting Cultural Humility
Loriene Roy and Leisa Moorhouse
2    Redressing Power Imbalances in Librarianship Using Cultural Humility: A Perspective from Two Black Librarians
Twanna Hodge and Xan Goodman
3    Getting Past “Approachability”: What Cultural Humility Brings to Library and Information Education
Lilliana Montoya and Sarah Polkinghorne

Part II        Reflective Practice
4    Reflections on Culturally Humble Practice in Bibliography, Scholarship, and Readers’ Advisory: A Case Study
Michael Mungin
5    Cultural Humility and Evaluating Books for Young Readers
Silvia Lin Hanick and Kelsey Keyes
6    Learn, Act, Connect: Thriving as an International Librarian and Global Citizen
Meggan Houlihan, Amanda Click, and Dina Meky
7    Cultural Humility in Instruction on Health Outreach Projects: Revising a Course on the Grant-Writing Process
Jarrod Irwin

Part III    Community
8    Embedding Diné Culture in Individual and Institutional Cultural Humility Practices: A View from the Tribal College Library
Rhiannon Sorrell
9    Beyond Late Fees: Eliminating Access Barriers for Everyone
Carrie Valdes
10    Small Changes Make an Impact: How Access and Metadata Services Teams Address Cultural Humility
Melanie Bopp, Tricia Mackenzie, and Kimberley A. Edwards
11    Cultural Humility and Servant Leadership
    Mark Emmons

Part IV     Hopeful Visions
12    Knowing (un)Knowings: Cultural Humility, the Other(s), and Theories of Change
nicholae cline and Jorge R. López-McKnight 
13    Cultural Humility: A Journey to Radical Self-Love 
Naghem Swade and Daniyom “Dani” Bekele

About the Editors and Contributors

Sarah R. Kostelecky

Sarah R. Kostelecky is the Director of Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communication (DISC) for University of New Mexico Libraries. Her research focuses on outreach efforts to underrepresented communities, diversity in academic libraries and library collections, and Native American language resources. Previously at UNM, Sarah has served as the Education Librarian and Access Services Librarian in the Indigenous Nations Library Program (INLP). She earned both her MA in Information Resources and Library Science and BA in Sociology from the University of Arizona. Prior to working at UNM Libraries, Sarah was the Library Director at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM, the premiere educational institution for contemporary Native American arts and cultures. Along with David A. Hurley and Paulita Aguilar, she co-edited “Sharing Knowledge and Smashing Stereotypes: Representing Native American, First Nation, and Indigenous Realities in Library Collections,” a special double issue of the journal Collection Management. Sarah has enjoyed working in a variety of libraries including university, public, tribal college, and museum. She is a member of Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico.

Lori Townsend

Lori Townsend is the Learning Services Coordinator and Engineering Librarian for the University of New Mexico Libraries. Her research interests include threshold concepts and information literacy, academic librarians of color and cultural humility. Lori holds a BA in history from the University of New Mexico and an MLIS from San Jose State University. Before coming to UNM, she worked as the Electronic Collections Librarian at California State University, East Bay from 2005-2010. She is co-author, along with Amy R. Hofer and Silvia Lin Hanick, of the book Transforming Information Literacy Instruction: Threshold Concepts in Theory and Practice (Libraries Unlimited, 2018); she and Silvia Lin Hanick are Series Editors for the just-launched Libraries Unlimited Series on Teaching Information Literacy Today. Lori is a member of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of Duck Valley.

David A. Hurley

David A. Hurley is the Web and Discovery Librarian for the University Libraries. In addition to cultural humility, he writes and presents on search, reference services, and information literacy. He was previously the director of the Diné College libraries on the Navajo Nation, chief of the library development bureau at the New Mexico State Library, and branch and digital services manager for the public library of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. With Sarah R. Kostelecky and Paulita Aguilar, David co-edited “Sharing Knowledge and Smashing Stereotypes: Representing Native American, First Nation, and Indigenous Realities in Library Collections,” a special double issue of the journal Collection Management.

"Discussions about EDI aren’t new, but examination of power imbalances in modern libraries are uncommon in the literature. In this work, real stories are an effective tool in showing how a lasting change in our profession will not come from a single approach. We can learn from these stories, for example, how others have experienced racist micro-aggressions, or how leaders deal with inequity of representation in a library workforce. The diverse narrative voices, many very personal, are a strength, as is the foundational understanding that our patrons and fellow staff experience power imbalances in ways that ‘we’ do not ... With its varied voices and story-centred approach, this book would appeal to anyone interested in improving their practice of inclusive library work, reading with a broad mind and an open heart."
— Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association

"Each essay has a unique tone and incorporates recent research, personal experiences, and anecdotes, all supported by lengthy bibliographies. Chapters end with open-ended questions for reflection and discussion. These subjects—inclusion, diversity, cultural humility—are complex, and can be emotionally challenging. It's helpful to have a structured guide such as this to share as professional reading and start necessary conversations with library staff."
— Booklist