All posts by Kristin Walker

connecting diversity work and library work

Culturally competent library services and related factors among health sciences librarians: an exploratory study



Objective: This study investigated the current state of health sciences libraries’ provision of culturally competent services to support health professions education and patient care and examined factors associated with cultural competency in relation to library services and professional development.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Data were collected with a survey questionnaire that was distributed via SurveyMonkey to several health sciences librarian email discussion lists.

Results: Out of 176 respondents, 163 reported serving clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Various services were provided to develop or support initiatives in cultural competency in health professions education and patient care. A considerable number of respondents were unsure or reported no library services to support initiatives in cultural competency, although a majority of respondents perceived the importance of providing culturally competent library services (156, 89.1%) and cultural competency for health sciences librarians (162, 93.1%). Those who self-identified as nonwhites perceived culturally competent services to be more important than whites (p=0.04). Those who spoke another language in addition to English had higher self-rated cultural competency (p=0.01) than those who only spoke English.

Conclusions: These findings contribute to our knowledge of the types of library services provided to support cultural competency initiatives and of health sciences librarians’ perceived importance in providing culturally competent library services and cultural competency for health sciences librarians. The results suggest implications for health sciences libraries in fostering professional development in cultural competency and in providing culturally competent services to increase library use by people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds.


Cultural Competency; Health Sciences Librarians; Health Professions Education; Libraries; Library Services; Patient Care; Professional Development

Hijabi Librarians: How and Why We Started this Site and Why We Chose Our Name

“The Muslim librarians on this blog aim to take a look at Muslims in literature in today’s world. We seek to give voice to Muslim Literature through the lens of OUR expertise as professionals and to give OUR opinions as Muslim Americans. As Muslim Librarians we’ve noticed that while there is a growing number of books with Muslim protagonists being published, there are a lack of review sites dedicated to librarians and teachers penned by Muslim professionals in the literature community. We aim to recognize, celebrate and honor the books and authors that get it right.”

Selected readings

Berry, J. D. (2004). White Privilege in Library Land. [Article]. Library Journal, 129(11), 50-50.

Bonnet, J. L., & McAlexander, B. (2012). Structural Diversity in Academic Libraries: A Study of Librarian Approachability. [Article]. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 38(5), 277-286. doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2012.06.002

Ettarh, F. (2014). Making a new table: intersectional librarianship. Retrieved from In the Library with the Lead Pipe.

Montague, R.-A. (2013). Advancing cultural competency in library and information science. Paper presented at IFLA WLIC: Future Libraries: Infinite Possibilities, Singapore, 2013.

How Slack Got Ahead in Diversity

Here’s one thing Slack did:

 In 2015, Slack worked with Textio, a company that analyzes job descriptions to ensure they appeal to the widest possible audience. (Slack’s job descriptions feature phrases like “care deeply” and “lasting relationships,” which statistically draw more applications from women. Microsoft’s, by contrast, feature words like “insatiably” and “competing.” Amazon’s keywords: “maniacal” and “wickedly.”)