The Joint ALA/ARL Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework Task Force’s final draft of the Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity: A Framework was approved by the boards of directors of the four partner organizations, the American Library Association (ALA), Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Public Library Association (PLA), during summer 2022.
The Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework is a tool both theoretical and practical in its orientation, as a guide for developing personal, organizational, institutional, and systems-level knowledge and understanding of the nature of racism and its many manifestations. Racism results in differential, inequitable, and devastating impacts on Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) in the library and information science (LIS) sector, the communities libraries serve, and beyond. The framework is not intended to be liberatory practice in itself—an instrument or agent that will abolish racial inequity or a step-by-step guide—but, rather, to provide the grounding needed to effect change in thinking, behavior, and practice that will lead to better outcomes for racialized and minoritized populations. Therefore, while the framework offers examples of implementation, these are not meant to represent an exhaustive list. Although the LIS sector cannot, on its own, solve the problem of racism in society, it can acknowledge the role it has played in contributing to and sustaining systems of inequity and oppression of communities of color, and own the responsibility for countering its effects, both historically and today. And while we acknowledge the global impacts of racism, for the purposes of this framework, we will specifically address the impacts of racism in both the United States and Canada.
Development of the framework began in September 2019, when the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS); ACRL; ARL; and PLA announced the formation of the Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework Task Force. The task force was charged to create a framework for cultural proficiencies in racial equity to be used in public and academic libraries through: scanning the environment, including review of relevant documents (such as ACRL Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries) to identify literature and similar statements and frameworks related to racial equity; drafting the framework; seeking comment from stakeholders and the library community on the draft; and revising as needed. After its formation, the task force developed a logic model, with facilitation by Katherine Skinner, executive director, Educopia Institute. In May 2021, Christina Fuller-Gregory, assistant director of libraries, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, joined the task force to build on the logic model to lead the framework development and launch a call for comments.
ALA President, 2021–2022, Patricia (Patty) Wong, City Librarian, Santa Clara City Library, stated, “The ALA Executive Board enthusiastically supports this framework and is appreciative of this resource that will further equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts in libraries. With diversity as an ALA Core Value, this framework is an exemplary tool for ALA to endorse and for the library community to use in support of racial equity policies and practices.”
“This framework represents the collective work of so many thoughtful leaders within our communities,” said ARL President K. Matthew Dames, the Edward H. Arnold Dean, Hesburgh Libraries and University of Notre Dame Press, University of Notre Dame. “At ARL, we are grateful to all who contributed to these efforts and we are excited to incorporate this framework into the various aspects of the work of the Association. Additionally, I am confident that our member institutions will critically explore opportunities to integrate content from this framework into their operations, programs, and services.”
View and download Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity: A Framework. Accompanying professional development is anticipated, and details will be shared when available.
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.
About the Association of College & Research Libraries
The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for academic libraries and library workers. Representing more than 8,500 individuals and libraries, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products, and services to help those working in academic and research libraries learn, innovate, and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning, transforming scholarship, and creating diverse and inclusive communities. Find ACRL on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
About the Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of research libraries in Canada and the US whose vision is to create a trusted, equitable, and inclusive research and learning ecosystem and prepare library leaders to advance this work in strategic partnership with member libraries and other organizations worldwide. ARL’s mission is to empower and advocate for research libraries and archives to shape, influence, and implement institutional, national, and international policy. ARL develops the next generation of leaders and enables strategic cooperation among partner institutions to benefit scholarship and society. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.
About the Public Library Association
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 10,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or firstname.lastname@example.org.