Diversity Initiatives to Recruit and Retain Academic Librarians: A Systematic Review

Janice Y. Kung, K-Lee Fraser, Dee Winn


Libraries across Canada and United States are adopting diversity initiatives to encourage inclusive library environments and services. Many policies and frameworks have a user-centered approach. However, there is little focus on encouraging diverse service providers in the library. The aim of this study is to determine the strategic approaches that academic libraries are using in their efforts to recruit and retain diverse librarians. Systematic review methodology involved searching Library & Information Science Abstracts, Library & Information Science Source, Gender Studies Database, Race Relations Abstracts, Google, and grey literature composed primarily of information from library associations’ and organizations’ websites. The primary search terms (and their variations) include diversity, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomics, academic library, librarians, recruitment, and retention. Publications were included if they were about the recruitment and/or retention strategies used by academic libraries to improve diversity among librarians. Nineteen publications and one ALA website were included in the review. All 20 publications were based in a North American context, and the interventions included targeted recruitment strategies, internship or residency programs, mentor- ship, and professional development opportunities. Using a modified version of the CASP Qualitative Checklist, the publications were critically appraised to evaluate the validity of the findings. Fifty percent of the publications included an assessment component to determine the value of the intervention. Although a number of programs exist to recruit minorities to academic librarianship, the number of visible minorities in the field has remained stagnant for decades.


Diversity, Recruitment Strategies, Retention Strategies, Academic Librarians

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Copyright Janice Y. Kung, K-Lee Fraser, and Dee Winn

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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