“Librarianship As A Cultural Profession”<br />© 2005 – 2011. Vanessa Irvin Morris. All rights reserved.<br />Contact: vani...
Defining Multiculturalism<br />According to the Journal of Counseling & Development, the terms race, <br />culture and eth...
Defining Multiculturalism<br />Other terms I’d like to incorporate into our discussion:<br />Class - term used to define g...
Defining Multiculturalism<br />WHAT IS AMERICA’S NATIONAL IDENTITY?<br />It is a cornucopia of peoples and cultures<br />A...
Defining Multiculturalism Source: Gae Broadwater, 2001.<br />Gae Broadwater (2001) talks about the differences between the...
Defining Multiculturalism Source: Gae Broadwater, 2001.<br />Aspects of Culture<br />Dominant American<br />Sub Cultures<b...
Defining Multiculturalism Source: Gae Broadwater, 2001.<br />Aspects of Culture<br />Dominant American<br />Sub Cultures<b...
Defining Multiculturalism<br />ALL institutions engage in a culture, and within that institutional culture, <br />communit...
Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />Community or Association<br />Institution<br />Accepts that things <br />can a...
Defining Multiculturalism<br />It is important to realize that each and every person has a philosophical <br />orientation...
Defining Multiculturalism<br />American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights<br />The American Library Association...
Multiculturalism Defined<br />Therefore, let us propose a definition for Multiculturalism for <br />Librarians and Educato...
 Provide curricular support
 Ensure high quality reference services and programs </li></ul>All within the context of materials and services that are a...
Multiculturalism Defined<br />Therefore, I propose the following definition for multiculturalism in Librarianship: <br />“...
Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />All together, we make up the American culture, the American national identity....
Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />LIBRARIANS ARE THE CULTURE KEEPERS OF AMERICA. <br />AS SUCH, WE CANNOT BE PAS...
Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />As culture keepers, it is our duty to ensure that diverse materials, programmi...
Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />The key to servicing diverse communities in a library setting is: ENGAGEMENT<b...
Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />Wholistic approaches to institutions and communities interacting successfully ...
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Librarianship as a Cultural Profession

  1. 1. “Librarianship As A Cultural Profession”<br />© 2005 – 2011. Vanessa Irvin Morris. All rights reserved.<br />Contact: vanirvinmorris@gmail.com<br />Librarianship as a Cultural Profession by Vanessa Irvin Morris is licensed <br />under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Based on a work at www.slideshare.net. <br />
  2. 2. Defining Multiculturalism<br />According to the Journal of Counseling & Development, the terms race, <br />culture and ethnicity tend to be used interchangeably. This is highly <br />problematic because they are all very different concepts.<br />Race - this term has been used to group people by physical appearance; to imply a common<br />descent or heredity. In 1942, Ashley Montagu wrote: “Race is the witchcraft of our time … <br />is a contemporary myth … man’s most dangerous myth.”<br />Culture - represents thebehaviors and beliefs that characterize a certain group. Culture can<br />manifest physically in terms of buildings, tools, etc. Subjective culture involves a group’s <br />Social structure, systems and organizations … beliefs, values and norms (paradigms).<br />Ethnicity - is embedded within culture. Characteristics that make up smaller groups within a<br />larger cultural group or society. Examples: The many tribes of the American Indian family; <br />different ethnicities of the Mexican/Latino cultural family; even different ethnicities within<br />The European cultural family. Ethnicity is played out in terms of how we speak, eat, work, <br />and celebrate life stages.<br />
  3. 3. Defining Multiculturalism<br />Other terms I’d like to incorporate into our discussion:<br />Class - term used to define groups of people of similar economic and/or <br />social empowerment and accessibility.<br />Disabled/Handicapped/Challenged - terms used to denote persons who are <br />physically, mentally or emotionally suffering from a loss of 100% normal function of any <br />part of the human body and/or experience.<br />Underserved - a newer term that can include persons who are disenfranchised via class, <br />societal positioning (e.g. prisoners), gender, sexual orientation, disability, and/or AGE. Misunderstanding of the underserved occurs when those challenges manifest themselves in a lack of basic survival needs as in a home, vehicle, education, relationships, etc. <br />
  4. 4. Defining Multiculturalism<br />WHAT IS AMERICA’S NATIONAL IDENTITY?<br />It is a cornucopia of peoples and cultures<br />A diverse identity; a cultural identity<br />A multicultural identity rooted in democratic principles<br />Those democratic principles are most commonly displayed in terms of <br />intellectual freedom, thought and expression<br />Intellectual freedom, thought and expression are afforded on<br />an equal basis where?<br />AT YOUR SCHOOL’S LIBRARY; AT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY<br />
  5. 5. Defining Multiculturalism Source: Gae Broadwater, 2001.<br />Gae Broadwater (2001) talks about the differences between the standards of<br />mainstream American cultural norms and various sub-cultural norms.<br />Mainstream America: who is this? How do we know “mainstream” American<br />Cultural values when we see them? <br />Basically, mainstream values are those “across the board” criteria and standards<br />that create an overall national identity.<br />Broadwater illustrates how mainstream American norms are often at odds with <br />common ethnic and/or even community-based norms. (see next slide) <br />
  6. 6. Defining Multiculturalism Source: Gae Broadwater, 2001.<br />Aspects of Culture<br />Dominant American<br />Sub Cultures<br />Sense of Self<br />and Space<br />- Formal -<br />Hugs, bows, handshakes<br />- Informal -<br />Handshake<br />Implicit, Indirect<br />Emphasis on Context;<br />Meaning Found Around Words<br />Explicit, Direct<br />Emphasis on content;<br />Meaning Found in Words<br />Communication<br />and Language<br />“Dress for Success”<br />Wide range of<br />accepted dress<br />Dress seen as a sign of<br />position, wealth, prestige,<br />religious rules<br />Dress and<br />Appearance<br />Food and<br />Eating Habits<br />Eating as necessity<br />“Fast Food”<br />Dining as a social<br />experience; religious rules<br />Linear and Exact Time<br />Value on Promptness<br />“Time Equals Money”<br />Elastic and Relative Time<br />Time spent on enjoyment<br />of relationships<br />Time and<br />Time Consciousness<br />Focus on nuclear family<br />Responsibility for self<br />Value on youth; age a handicap<br />Focus on extended family<br />Loyal, responsible to family; <br />Age given status and respect<br />Relationships,<br />Family, Friends<br />Individual Orientation<br />Independence<br />Prefer direct conflict resolution<br />Group Orientation<br />Conformity<br />Preference for harmony<br />Values and<br />Norms<br />
  7. 7. Defining Multiculturalism Source: Gae Broadwater, 2001.<br />Aspects of Culture<br />Dominant American<br />Sub Cultures<br />Egalitarian<br />Challenging of Authority<br />Individuals control their destiny<br />Gender Equity<br />Hierarchical<br />Respect for authority and<br />social order<br />Individuals accept their destiny<br />Distinct Gender Roles<br />Beliefs<br />and Attitudes<br />Mental Processes<br />and Learning Styles<br />Linear, Logical, Sequential<br />Problem-Solving Focus<br />Lateral, wholistic, simultaneous<br />Accepting of life’s difficulties<br />Emphasis on the task<br />Reward based <br />on individual achievement<br />Work has intrinsic value<br />Emphasis on relationships<br />Rewards based on seniority,<br />relationships<br />Work is a necessity of life<br />Work Habits<br />and Practices<br />
  8. 8. Defining Multiculturalism<br />ALL institutions engage in a culture, and within that institutional culture, <br />community subcultures are expressed.<br />Academic Libraries<br />Dominant Culture Subcultures <br />= University = Faculty, Students<br /> = Student Activities/Organizations<br />Special Libraries<br />Dominant Culture Subcultures<br />= Corporations, = Management, Employees,<br />Museums, Courts, = Groups within employee pop.<br />Hospitals, etc.<br />School Libraries<br />Dominant Culture Subcultures <br />= Institution = Faculty, Students,<br />= School District = Student Activity Groups<br />= Municipality<br />Public Libraries<br />Dominant Culture Subcultures <br />= Municipality = Library Staff, Neighborhoods, <br />= Library Admin. Groups within neighborhood community<br />“Members of community-based <br />audiences often do not belong to<br />the dominant groups represented <br />in an institution.” <br />- Broadwater, 2001.<br />
  9. 9. Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />Community or Association<br />Institution<br />Accepts that things <br />can and will go wrong<br />Orderly perfection to things;<br />institutions are designed to create order<br />Only the best, the strongest<br />will survive and dominate<br />Inclusive rather than exclusive;<br />there is room for people w/diff. abilities<br />Contributions can be controlled<br />and predicted<br />Consensual contribution is a <br />primary value<br />Nonhierarchical; Responds Quickly<br />Hierarchical; Bureaucratic processes<br />promotes slow response<br />Has great difficulty recognizing <br />individuals and values<br />Recognizes individual characteristics<br />Cares for people; but has difficulty<br />producing goods and services<br />Can provide good and services but<br />has difficulty caring for people<br />Many rights of citizenship are forgone<br />for employment<br />A place to express citizenship<br />Because of differences reflected in cultural backgrounds, <br />educational levels, economic status and positional-professional <br />affiliation, misunderstandings can occur based on erroneous assumptions. <br />This is often done unintentionally. <br />Table adapted from Broadwater, 2001.<br />
  10. 10. Defining Multiculturalism<br />It is important to realize that each and every person has a philosophical <br />orientation that is rooted in a cultural base. We are all multicultural.<br />Culture is NECESSARY because it provides a way for people to define themselves, <br />respond to, and influence people, events and their environment. Culture is a cornerstone<br />of motivation for all people.<br />Thus, as librarians, to carry the banner for multiculturalism we must:<br />Know Thyself. You must know who you are multi-culturally (again, none of us are <br />monolithic. You must know what works for you in terms of respect, communication and trust. <br />You must also know what does not work for you.<br />2) Be a Lifelong Learner. Learn more about communication patterns, social roles, taboos <br />and norms, holidays and special occasions of various cultural families. Read genres beyond<br />your normal reading diet; read what you patrons read so that you understand their interests.<br />3) Accept What You Know and What You Don’t Know. You can’t know everyone and <br />everything. TRUST your heart, and your sense of sincerity and integrity. “There are no <br />substitutes for sincerity and integrity.” (Broadwater, 2001.)<br />
  11. 11. Defining Multiculturalism<br />American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights<br />The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information <br />and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.<br />I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, <br />and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not <br />be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.<br />II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical <br />issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.<br />III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information <br />and enlightenment.<br />IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free <br />expression and free access to ideas.<br />V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, <br />or views.<br />VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should <br />make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals <br />or groups requesting their use.<br />Adopted June 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.<br />
  12. 12. Multiculturalism Defined<br />Therefore, let us propose a definition for Multiculturalism for <br />Librarians and Educators.<br />With these points in mind:<br />Librarians and educators are keepers and promoters of the American culture. <br />As such, librarians and educators are endowed to:<br /><ul><li> Promote library materials
  13. 13. Provide curricular support
  14. 14. Ensure high quality reference services and programs </li></ul>All within the context of materials and services that are applicable, supportive and edifying <br />to all cultures within the diverse American society. <br />
  15. 15. Multiculturalism Defined<br />Therefore, I propose the following definition for multiculturalism in Librarianship: <br />“Multiculturalism in library service is the process<br /> of engaging librarians, staff and <br />patron communities in materials that reflect their <br />own personal cultural acceptances,<br />as well the promotion and acknowledgement, <br />acceptance and appreciation of all<br />cultures in a global society that illustrate the <br />historical and progressive diversity of humanity.”<br /> - Vanessa Irvin Morris<br />
  16. 16. Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />All together, we make up the American culture, the American national identity.<br />One group (i.e. cultural, gender-based, socio-economic, etc.) cannot do without the <br />other; we are all connected; thus all responsible to one another.<br />What kind of librarian are you?<br />- book librarian?<br />- people librarian?<br />- activist librarian?<br />We preserve the cultural information of our society.<br />We support and protect all citizens’ right to freedom of information and equity of access.<br />We promote self-education, and lifelong learning via our clarity of providing materials <br />that answers the information wants and needs of all members of society.<br />
  17. 17. Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />LIBRARIANS ARE THE CULTURE KEEPERS OF AMERICA. <br />AS SUCH, WE CANNOT BE PASSIVE, AFRAID OR UNSURE OF WHO WE ARE, <br />OR WHAT OUR PURPOSE IS. <br />WE MUST APPROACH OUR PROFESSION WITH <br />CLARITY OF INTENT, ACTIVISM, INTEGRITY<br />AND AN OPEN HEART. <br />NOTHING LESS IS ACCEPTABLE.<br />
  18. 18. Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />As culture keepers, it is our duty to ensure that diverse materials, programming and services are <br />accessible to all people. These materials can be inside the library or in the community. Either way, <br />librarians are responsible for connecting the community with its cultural information. In order to live out <br />this mission, we must be culturally competent in interacting with diverse groups of people.<br />2 Types of Cultural Competence (adapted from Broadwater, 2001):<br />Individuals become culturally competent in the following ways:<br />1) They are comfortable with their own cultural heritage and are able to engage <br /> self-assessment in order to maximize their own sense of multiculturalism.<br />2) They develop an awareness and acceptance of differences along with their own cultural knowledge.<br />3) They understand the dynamics of difference.<br />4) They have a willingness and ability to adapt their practice to the cultural context of the community.<br />Organizations become culturally competent when the organization and its <br />personnel have the capacity to: <br />1) value diversity, <br />2) conduct self-assessment, <br />3) manage the dynamics of difference, <br />4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge, and <br />5) adapt to the diversity and cultural contexts if individuals and communities served.<br />
  19. 19. Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />The key to servicing diverse communities in a library setting is: ENGAGEMENT<br />According to the Oxford American College Dictionary the act of “engaging” <br />means to:<br />1) occupy, attract, or involve someone’s interest or attention,<br />2) to cause someone to become involved in a conversation or discussion,<br />3) arrange to employ or hire someone,<br />4) establish a meaningful contact or connection (as in communities).<br />How do we as librarians and educators, engage our patrons and communities?<br />1) Readers Advisory / Reference Interview / Customer Service<br />2) Collection Development and Management<br />3) Library Programming<br />4) Community Outreach: person-to-person, promotional materials, social media<br />Another process in which communities develop via engagement is by interacting <br />in a two-way exchange that supports the community.<br />Libraries do this via COMMUNICATION and COLLABORATION.<br />1) We build partnerships and coalitions.<br />2) We mobilize resources.<br />3) We coordinate activities.<br />
  20. 20. Librarianship As A Cultural Profession<br />Wholistic approaches to institutions and communities interacting successfully would include<br />communicating on the basis of mutual respect, inclusivity, patience and trust. <br />This communication can only productively occur when there is<br />knowledge, acknowledgement and appreciation of self and of others.<br />For the front-line librarian that means <br />KNOWING YOUR COMMUNITY.<br />Underserved<br />GLBTQ <br />Homeless<br />Physically Challenged<br />Mentally Challenged<br />Emotionally Challenged<br />Ageism<br />Gender<br />Societal Communities<br />Urban<br />Suburban<br />Rural<br />Religious<br />Cultural Communities<br />Latino/Mexican<br />African/Caribbean/African-American<br />European American<br />Immigrants and Refugees<br />Asian American<br />American and Asian Indian<br />Melungeon/Appalachian<br />9 times out of 10, there will be a cross-cultural overlap <br />in your library’s community.<br />
  21. 21. “Out of Many, One People” - Jamaica’s National Slogan<br />SERVICING OUR CULTURAL FAMILIES<br />AS LIBRARIANS, THERE ARE SOME TRUTHS WE MUST ACCEPT:<br />1. ALL PEOPLE ARE DIVINE, IMPORTANT, AND NEEDED ON THIS EARTH.<br />2. WE ALL CARRY GIFTS AND TALENTS THAT WE CONTRIBUTE TO THE WORLD. <br />3. EVERYONE IS VALUABLE.<br />Our profession’s adage: <br />“Never judge a book by its cover,” <br />applies to people, too.<br />
  22. 22. Selected Bibliography<br />Broadwater, Gae. Engaging New Audiences in Community Development. Paper<br /> presented at the 2001 South Region Community Development Institute,<br /> New Braunfels, Texas.<br />Cameron, Susan Chavez, and Susan Macias Wycoff. “The Destructive Nature of the Term <br /> Race: Growing Beyond A False Paradigm.” Journal of Counseling & Development<br /> 76, 3 (Summer 1998): 277 - 286.<br />Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. The National Center for <br /> Cultural Competence [website]. Available at: http://gucchd.georgetown.edu/nccc/; <br /> accessed 15 June 2009.<br />McGill Equity Subcommittee On Queer People. [webpage]<br /> Available at: / http://www.mcgill.ca/queerequity/; accessed 29 September 2010.<br />Trace Research and Development Center. “A Brief Introduction to Disabilities.” [webpage]<br /> WI: College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Available at: <br />http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/population/populat.htm; accessed 23 June 2009.<br />Weaver, Hilary N. Explorations in Cultural Competence: Journeys to the Four Directions.<br /> Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2005.<br />

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