Benefits of Participation

Issues of diversity, fairness, and improving customer service are major concerns to many institutions. Research in the organizational sciences suggests that these issues are not separate concerns, but rather that they are interrelated pieces of a construct that we refer to as the “healthy organization.” A healthy organization is defined as an organization in which employees feel empowered and believe that the organization values diversity. It is an organization in which the policies, practices and procedures are administered fairly and employees believe that they are treated fairly.

Developing diverse workforces in supportive and productive work environments is reported to be a major concern of many libraries, as attested to by the numerous conferences, conference presentations and initiatives sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and other organizations. However, diversity assessment has only recently become a tool in libraries for measuring and planning change, and as a result, assessment of diversity initiatives is still scattered.

ClimateQUAL® is based on the thesis that, for large libraries, anecdotal or observational evidence of how the organization is faring with diversity efforts is inadequate and that systematic, reliable assessments must be undertaken. Library systems with multiple sites are also good candidates for systematic assessment.

A library may need to undertake a systematic diversity assessment in order to meet the requirements or suggestions of its parent organization or to show leadership to the parent organization by undertaking an assessment before it is suggested or required that a library undertake such research.

ClimateQUAL® provides a useful management tool for effective organizational adaptation that uses deep assessment of a library’s staff to plumb the dimensions of climate and organizational culture important for a healthy organization in a library setting. This provides feedback from the survey that is grounded in a baseline from the libraries that have already participated. Using normative scales and institutional results effectively, significant improvements can be achieved. The most effective techniques for remediation are not top-down, but those that engage the entire staff.

Participating libraries will be asked for the following support:
* Assistance with project funding;
* Assignment of a contact person to work with us throughout the project;
* Attendance of group meetings held during ALA;
* Commitment to repeat the survey periodically to measure the impact of improvement strategies over time; and
* Commitment to work with ClimateQUAL® community members to develop “best practices” strategies for using survey results as a tool for organizational and service improvement.