Indicators of Intentionality

How well the library reinforces the principles of social inclusion

Several of the social inclusion and cultural competency assessments researched for this project included references to “Indicators of Openness” and “Indicators of Inclusion.” However, none included an indicator that focused on consistency – keeping the work of removing barriers to inclusion as a constant priority.

A library’s ability to keep the topic of inclusion “on the table” by consistently integrating it into the strategic and operational framework of the organization is extremely important. It is also necessary to keep this work constantly on the minds of the board of trustees, staff members, and volunteers. Both will strengthen the library’s ability to effectively remove barriers to inclusion.

As the concept of “intentionality” is critical to removing barriers to inclusion, CULC/CBUC’s social inclusion audit places emphasis on intentionality in the following ways:

  1. The social inclusion audit includes an “indicator of intentionality.”
  2. The majority of the questions in the social inclusion audit (7/12) are focused on intentionality.
  3. The audit includes an assessment of the library’s status and progress in developing, implementing and refining the necessary elements of the library’s social inclusion work. Assessing both status and progress will demonstrate the degree to which the organization is intentional about its work to remove barriers to inclusion.

Exploring, viewing, and challenging values and behaviours takes time, as does developing policies and procedures. Staff and volunteer members will require time to understand the purpose and requirements of these new behaviours and policies. They’ll also need time to accept and integrate these new behaviours and approaches into their work.

In 2003, George Candell and his team of researchers found there are five levels of consciousness for individuals receiving training to integrate new culturally competent behaviours. Although the research was conducted on the ability of medical practitioners to integrate new culturally competent behaviours, Candell’s findings highlight the importance of ensuring that the work required to remove barriers to inclusion is intentional and consistent.

Five Levels of Consciousness

Developmental phases of models of cultural competency (Candell, SJ. George, G., Marian, GS…., & Davies, S. (2003). Applying Theory to the Design of Cultural Competency Training for Medical Students: A Case Study. Academic Medicine, 78(6).

  1. Unconscious incompetence – No insight about the influence of culture on medical care.
  2. Conscious incompetence – Minimal emphasis on culture in medical setting.
  3. Conscious Competence – Acceptance of the roles of cultural beliefs, values, and behaviours on health disease and treatments.
  4. Unconscious Competence – Incorporation of cultural awareness into daily medical practice.
  5. Unconscious Supercompetence – Integration of attention to culture into all areas of professional life.

It is important for libraries to fully commit to removing barriers to inclusion and to understand that the work will permeate all levels and practices of the organization. This will require frequent communication, coaching, and training of staff members and volunteers to ensure that individuals automatically develop, implement, and evaluate all policies, programs, and practices, including the perspective of removing barriers to social inclusion.