Bridging the Gaps: Measuring Cultural Competence among Future School Library and Youth Services Library Professionals

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School library and youth services professionals must develop and display a strong sense of cultural competence to effectively serve their patrons. Cultural competence is defined here as one’s ability to understand the needs of populations different from their own. This paper reports on the perceptions of school library and youth services students about how well their library and information sciences (LIS) coursework has prepared them to become culturally competent library practitioners.

An electronic survey was used to collect data from matriculating LIS students. The survey contained a Likert scale measuring three areas of cultural competence: self-awareness, education, and interaction. A gap-analysis technique was employed to detect discrepancies between students’ prior knowledge and actual learning relative to cultural competence. By focusing on the responses from students enrolled in school library and youth services concentrations, this study may help both school library and youth services educators and practitioners consider implementing more culturally sensitive curriculum and pedagogical reforms.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Library and Information Science