University Libraries & Learning Sciences Faculty and Staff Publications

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2019

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to introduce the idea of cultural humility, distinguish it from cultural competence, and argue that it has a role in librarianship. Design/methodology/approach: We use an interdisciplinary exploration of the concept of humility to understand what cultural humility means and how it differs from cultural competence and other approaches to intercultural communication in libraries.

Findings: Despite some reservations with the term itself, we find that a practice of cultural humility is more appropriate to front-line interactions in library contexts than cultural competence models.

Practical implications: Libraries looking to address issues in intercultural communication and services to multicultural populations will find an approach that may be better suited to their contexts than prevailing models of cultural competency.

Social implications: Librarians need to commit to redressing the power imbalances and other structural issues that interfere with library service, for the benefit of the patrons, the library, and librarians themselves.

Originality/value: While cultural humility is increasingly being used in librarianship, there has not been a systematic exploration of the concept and how it applies to library contexts.

Publisher

Emerald

Publication Title

Reference Services Review

ISSN

0090-7324

Volume

47

Issue

4

First Page

544

Last Page

555

DOI

10.1108/RSR-06-2019-0042

Language (ISO)

English

Keywords

diversity, cultural humility, cultural competence, librarianship, inter-cultural communication

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