Services for Black Youth • Templates
Culturally Responsive Library Walk


The Culturally Responsive Library Walk is designed to be a collaborative tool for administrators, librarians, and teachers to assess the library's responsiveness to the needs of the Black students who attend the school; it may also be used to assess responsiveness to the needs of other Culturally and Linguistically Diverse students. The goal of the Culturally Responsive Library Walk is to identify strengths, to discover areas that need improvement, and to develop a path to achieve a culturally responsive library program. It is an observation and planning document that is informed by research on culturally responsive pedagogy and is based on the philosophy of creating a student-centered library program. The steps are listed in order below. For the full Walk, including observation and interview sheets, click on the attached pdf.


1. FORM A TEAM: To be most effective, a team must conduct the culturally responsive library walk. Members might include the school administrator, librarian, teachers, parents, and/or students.

2. COLLABORATIVE BELIEFS / VISION OF A CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE LIBRARY PROGRAM (Conversation among Team): What is the school community's vision for a culturally responsive school library program?

3. CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE LIBRARY PROGRAMS: Creating a culturally responsive library program that fulfills your beliefs and vision involves developing quality in the following areas: Librarian/Library staff beliefs and behaviors, Library space, Library resources, Library programming, Library instruction

4. FOCUS FOR CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE LIBRARY WALK: The Walk will be more effective if it is focused around one or two Focus Areas or questions. For example: How well do the library resources meet the needs of our Black students? As a Library Team, decide the particular area(s) listed above that would most effectively move your school toward your vision of a culturally responsive library program.

5. OBSERVATIONS / QUESTIONS: For each focus area, look at the examples of indicators that you might observe. As a team, discuss the indicators until everyone has a clear picture of what you might observe, or what information you might gather, to give a clear picture of what is happening in that area of focus.

6. CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE LIBRARY WALK. Once you have scheduled the Walk and assembled the team (including the librarian, principal, teachers, external educators, parents, students, or others), you will want to pick the appropriate focus sheets and make individual observations. For indicators that are not observable, you may need to talk with the librarian. You may choose to follow up the time in the library by going to a classroom or two to interview a few students and teachers.

7. DEBRIEFING / LONG-TERM PLANNING. Once the Culturally Responsive Library Walk has been completed, reassemble the team to share each participant's Wonderings/Observations and then look at the observations in relation to Beliefs/Vision and research on culturally responsive pedagogy. Together, team members decide the library's Next Steps and outline a plan for continued development of the library program

MLA Citation Hughes-Hassell, Sandra, and Casey H. Rawson. "Services for Black Youth: Culturally Responsive Library Walk." School Library Connection, May 2017,

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Entry ID: 2077543

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