Tag Archives: Ethnic Diversity

Black Lives Matter in Health Libraries

“To show up imperfectly but open to change is better than not showing up at all”
@shopsundae, Instagram

On Friday 17th July, 76 healthcare knowledge and Library staff joined us for the Black Lives Matter in Health Libraries virtual discussion. It was led by Hong-Anh Nguyen and Natasha Howard who have previously delivered sessions on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to the healthcare library workforce and have acted as beacons in this work.

Natasha, Hong-Anh and I started to discuss ED&I learning opportunities last year. We wanted to push forward open conversations and galvanise us as a workforce to take more action. It might not come as a surprise that our initial idea was to have face to face workshops across each region, but due to the pandemic we had to explore the idea of doing something virtual. Then the world watched in horror as George Floyd was murdered by the people who were supposed to protect him and the Black Lives Matter movement exploded. I, like many white people or people with privilege, was suddenly uncomfortably aware that I wasn’t doing enough. That I wasn’t being anti-racist and that I needed to take action. Fully confronting your privilege and complicity is a deeply uncomfortable but necessary process, and once you have come to accept it, it is time to get to work. Seeing how many people booked on to this session made me realise that many of us feel the same way and that taking action in our professional lives can help make the changes we so desperately want to embody.

We asked the network which topics you wanted to discuss and we had some great questions. When we looked through them ahead of the event there were some clear themes emerging. These are the main questions that we worked through, although further questions and experiences were shared by participants throughout;

  • How can library staff, regardless of level or role, effect positive change and influence upwards where resistance is being met?
  • What does it mean to decolonise a library in the healthcare context?
  • How can libraries promote their EDI collections and encourage engagement with this topic through the resources they provide?
  • What should library collections relating to EDI or BAME groups be called? What language would be most appropriate and least offensive?

From our discussions it was clear that many of us are worried about doing or saying the wrong thing, but the clearest message I took away was to educate myself when feeling unsure. That’s why we have created a reading list of resources for you. This covers a wide range of media (articles, books, podcasts), educational tools to work through, broad themes on the topic to more specific information on diversity in libraries. We have made the recording of the event which is available on request to members of the UK health libraries networks (email your request to the address below). Hopefully these resources will be the starting point for us in taking action in dismantling inequality in health libraries and our workforce.

One of the key things I’ve learnt so far is that it is not the responsibility of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic friends and colleagues to educate us about discrimination they may face to work, nor how our services contribute to that discrimination. Those of us with privilege can undertake that learning ourselves. I have made the commitment to being an ally through a process of lifelong learning. With that comes the understanding that I might not always get it right, but as long as we are trying then change can begin to occur. I hope you will join me.

Holly Case-Wyatt
LKS Development Manager, HEE London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Mapping the Workforce, Mapping the Challenges

In November 2015 CILIP and ARA released the executive summary of Mapping the Library, Archives, Records, Information Management and Knowledge Management [LARKIM] and related professions in the United Kingdom”; an ambitious research project commissioned in 2014. It is believed to be the first wholesale national workforce mapping study of the LARKIM domains ever conducted in any country. The research establishes a long-needed data baseline, a starting point to identify trends by repeating the study in the future.

The survey estimated the size of the UK LARKIM workforce at 86,376 and 6,565 (7.6%) of those work in a Health and Social Care settings. The study identified a number of key findings:

Women dominate the workforce – The overall gender split of the overall LARKIM workforce is 78.1% female, 21.9% male.

Women are under-represented in senior management – Male workers are more likely to occupy management roles than their female peers. The 10.2% of men in senior management roles is almost double that of female workers (5.9%)

There is a significant gender pay gap – The study identified that men earn more than women: 47% of men working more than 22 hours per week and earn £30,000 or more annually, but only 37.3% women.

The workforce is highly-qualified – The UK information workforce is academically well-qualified: 61.4% have a postgraduate qualification. Of those that hold qualifications related to library and information science, 50.5% have a postgraduate qualification.

High-earners are more likely to hold professional qualifications than low-earners Whilst, there no direct link found between academic qualifications and pay, a significant link was found between professional qualifications and earnings; 64.8% of the workforce earning £40,000 or more hold a professional qualification.

There is an ageing workforce – The highest proportion of the workforce falls in the 45 to 55 age band. 55% are over 45 years of age. It has been suggested that further work is required to look at trends. In a 2005 study conducted by MLA South East puts the figure of those who are over 45 at around 54%. This might suggest that the profile of the profession is generally older and tends to attract those who come to the profession as a second or third career.

There is low ethnic diversity within the workforce – It was found that 96.7% of the workforce identify as ‘white’ compared to 87.5% identifying as ‘white’ in UK Labour Force Survey statistics

ARA and CILIP have already begun to consider how to address the issue arising from the survey. The key findings highlight the lack of ethnic diversity and gender equality in the profession and that is something that we all have a responsibility to address across in all our organisations.

CILIP has produced both Regional and Sector factsheets which can be accessed at http://www.cilip.org.uk/about/projects-reviews/workforce-mapping . There is a factsheet specifically on the Health and Social Care sector. It details how the sector is split by domain and region and gender. The factsheet lists academic and professional qualifications as well as earnings. All the sector factsheets are readily available so you can compare Health and Social Care with other parts of the profession. An online data platform is being scoped with the aim to launch it later this year to allow CILIP and ARA members to query the data for information and benchmarking.

Jo Cornish MCLIP (Revalidated 2016)
Development Officer (Employers)
Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals