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Information Services to Diverse Populations

Developing Culturally Competent Library Professionals

by Nicole A. Cooke


What do the terms "social justice" and "diversity" really mean in the library environment—and why are they important? Information Services to Diverse Populations answers these questions and explains how the training and education of LIS professionals needs to change.

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December 2016

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 166
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Adult Services and Programs/Multicultural Populations
  Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/LIS Profession
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Filling a gap in the existing library and information science literature, this book consolidates recent research and best practices to address the need for diversity and social justice in the training and education of LIS professionals.

The development of cultural competency skills and social awareness benefits LIS students, their future employers, and the library profession at large—not to mention library customers and society as a whole. This textbook and comprehensive resource introduces students to the contexts and situations that promote the development of empathy and build cultural competence, examines the research in the areas of diversity and social justice in librarianship, explains how social responsibility is a foundational value of librarianship, and identifies potential employment and networking opportunities related to diversity and social justice in librarianship.

A valuable book for students in graduate library and information science programs as well as LIS practitioners and researchers interested in knowing more about the topic of diversity in the profession, Information Services to Diverse Populations: Developing Culturally Competent Library Professionals addresses the political, social, economic, and technological divides among library patrons, covers transformative library services, and discusses outreach and services to diverse populations as well as how to evaluate such services, among many other topics. Appendices containing suggestions for exercises and assignments as well as lists of related library organizations and readings in related literature provide readers with additional resources.


  • Addresses perennially important and emerging hot topics in librarianship, such as diversity, cultural competence, and social responsibility
  • Updates the ongoing discussion on cultural competence and diversity with new concepts, such as critical race theory
  • Authored by an expert who actively teaches and conducts research in the subject areas of library instruction and information literacy as well as diversity and social justice in librarianship
Author Info

Nicole A. Cooke, PhD, MLS, is program director for the MS in library and information science (MS/LIS) and assistant professor at The Graduate School of Library and Information Science at The University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign. She is the 2016 recipient of the American Library Association Equality Award, an accolade given to an individual or group for outstanding contributions toward promoting equality in the library profession. Cooke was an ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois and was instruction librarian and tenured assistant professor at Montclair State University's (NJ) Sprague Library. Cooke earned her master's degree in library science and doctorate in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers University and received a Master of Education in adult education from Penn State. She has published a book and several articles about library instruction and information literacy, and written numerous articles and book chapters on distance learning and pedagogy, human information behavior, and diversity and social justice in librarianship. Cooke has been named a Mover & Shaker by Library Journal and received the 2013 Norman Horrocks Leadership Award from the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). Her website is



"This extremely relevant and topical guide only starts the conversation about diversity and gives the reader motivation to continue. It is a much-needed resource for both the student and professional."VOYA

"Although geared toward library science students and public librarians, school librarians will also find the content valuable. . . . Librarians who seek to better understand diversity and the library will benefit from this work."School Library Connection

"Although written for LIS students, this work is also essential for all information professionals and will be particularly valuable to library managers looking to recruit a more inclusive workforce."School Library Journal

"In Information Services to Diverse Populations: Developing Culturally Competent Library Professionals, Nicole A. Cooke has written a book that is clearly needed in this emerging area of library services. . . . For librarians, library staff and library instructors who are involved, or need to become involved, in the work of cultural competencies, diversity, and inclusion, Information Services to Diverse Populations is a vitally useful book. . . . [I]ts existence should be welcomed by anyone who is interested in this area of librarianship."Technical Services Quarterly

"Information Services to Diverse Populations provides a clear and comprehensive description of the landscape of diversity in librarianship as a profession and service. This book is particularly appropriate for library and information science graduate students and can function as a foundational text even for those students who do not have a background in critical theory."College & Research Libraries

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