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EDI Strategies in Recruitment Toolkit

BCLA is sponsoring a project led by Jessica Lee to address how we can diversify our sector through strategies in recruitment — with a focus on achieving a more racially equitable workforce.


This project will deliver a practical toolkit to organizations looking for actionable strategies and who are committed to becoming anti-racist organizations and being a more welcoming and inclusive place of work.

The toolkit will:

  1. Identify and examine systemic barriers to creating and supporting a racially diverse and inclusive workforce. It will shed light on challenges, barriers, current realities and experiences of IBPOC candidates in libraries.
  2. Provide a roadmap and strategies for how to recruit new employees in libraries with proven case studies and illustrations on more equitable hiring practices.
  3. Create a foundation for supporting IBPOC candidates interested in pursuing work in libraries.

The toolkit will be shared with library leaders and stakeholders that engages them in a vision for an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce and connects them with strategies to act upon.


Key work involved in this project is outlined below:

Milestones Timeframe (Start-End)
Finalize project charter March 2022
Conduct research and gather information from stakeholder groups April – July 2022
Synthesize findings and draft toolkit content August – September 2022
Collect feedback on draft and iterate October 2022
Produce toolkit final version November 2022
Present toolkit to library leaders and key stakeholders January 2023
Share toolkit resource with larger BCLA membership 2023


Libraries have been dominated by policies, practices and procedures that have created barriers for racial representation in our workforce.

This is reflected in how:

  • there are fewer racialized staff in professional roles, as well as in roles of increasing levels of leadership; and
  • there is an imbalance of racialized workers in libraries compared to their diverse multiracial client base. Our library workforce often does not reflect the populations we serve.

This project seeks to evaluate our organizations, hear from the experiences of IBPOC library workers and candidates, and provide strategies in recruitment to dismantle barriers and bias as one step towards a racially equitable workforce — a workforce with diverse lived experiences, talents, and abilities that strengthen our libraries.

The problem of diversity is not limited to the category of race and ethnicity — there are additional underrepresented identity groups in libraries. For the scale of this project, we will focus on EDI strategies to be more inclusive in recruiting candidates with diverse racial and cultural backgrounds — the same strategies will also benefit diversifying our workforce in general.

This project recognizes that recruitment is not the sole solution to the problem of a workforce dominated by exclusion based on power and privilege. Retention is a key consideration for a diverse workforce. This requires an organizational culture shift and changes to infrastructure and systems in order to support minority workers when they join our workplaces. For this project scope, we are focused on recruitment as just one piece in diversifying and strengthening our organizations.


If you have questions about this project, please reach out to Jessica Lee at [email protected].