Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Linda Spatig

Second Advisor

Louis Watts

Third Advisor

Eric Lassiter

Fourth Advisor

Monica G. Brooks


The library profession as a whole is predominantly white with a large discrepancy between the percentage of minorities in the United States in general and the percentage of professional librarians who are minorities. Despite past recruitment efforts, there remains a dearth of minority librarians in higher education and the reasons for this remain unclear. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate minority librarian experiences in higher education and their perceptions of supports and barriers encountered in becoming and being professional librarians. Five themes emerged from the data. The first theme pertained to the spirit of service and activism which was a significant characteristic of all nine interviewees. Theme two showed how mentoring and networking was an important part of the experience of becoming and being an academic librarian. The third theme, microaggressions, showed the prevalence of the daily injustices that minority librarians in higher education often experience. Theme four pertained to the educational and work environments the informants experienced namely predominantly white institutions (PWIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Tribal College and Universities (TCUs). The fifth theme showed how most of the interviewees were “natural born librarians” characterized by the love of libraries and reading. The findings provide new evidence into the experiences and perceptions of minority librarians and will assist library schools in developing programming and curriculum pertinent to librarians of color, assist administration in higher education, particularly in academic libraries, to create environments more conducive to attracting minority librarians, and assist professional library organizations in developing and improving programming designed to increase the ranks of minority librarians in higher education.


Minorities in library science -- Research.

Minorities in library science -- Recruiting.

Academic librarians -- Research.