Question Seven

The library has regular training and learning initiatives and discussions with the staff team(s) and external stakeholders on methods to remove barriers to inclusion and to increase the degree of cultural competency and inclusionary practices internally.

What is it and why is it important?

In Question Six, we suggested ways to develop a plan of action to remove barriers to inclusion. The plan includes:

  • governance,
  • human resources,
  • training/learning,
  • communication/outreach,
  • programs, services, and collections.

In this question, we are assessing if the library has implemented training and learning initiatives with staff and external stakeholders. These initiatives should actively explore and challenge beliefs, and most importantly, enhance behaviours and practices that lead to inclusion.

Research has demonstrated that cultural competence and inclusion training enhances culturally competent behaviours among staff and volunteers (Schim, Zwyghuizen, Borse 2006). By continuing the dialogue with staff, presenting them with learning initiatives and training to fortify practices that lead to inclusion, an organization is solidifying its intent to remove barriers to inclusion.

“Inclusiveness training and the inclusiveness blueprint interact and are woven together to create a more successful inclusiveness initiative.”

(Inclusiveness at Work: How to Build Inclusive Non-profit Organizations, p. 16.)

What does it look like and how do you do it?

There are several in-house and public training opportunities available for consideration. There are quite a few training resources that focus on creating inclusive workplaces. They are often referred to as social inclusion, cultural competency, anti-oppression, and anti-racism training.

Below are brief descriptions of these areas:

Social inclusion

Social inclusion is a multi-dimensional, over-arching concept that focuses on facilitating inclusion into the community and into the greater society on a number of fronts.

Social inclusion works to:

  • increase employment with under-employed, marginalized people;
  • eliminate poverty;
  • enable civic engagement;
  • eliminate oppression, discrimination, and racism;
  • enable fair access to a variety of public resources and institutions.

Removing barriers to social inclusion represents an organization’s efforts to promote integration into Canadian society.

Cultural competency:

According to the Government of British Columbia, cultural competence refers to an organization’s ability to function effectively in a variety of cultural settings. Cultural competence requires an understanding of the communities being served, as well as the cultural influences on individual beliefs and behaviours. An organization can achieve cultural competence by incorporating one’s understanding of individuals and groups of people into practices and policies used in appropriate cultural settings.

A culturally competent library is able to provide services to people with diverse values, beliefs and behaviours, including tailoring delivery to meet the target community groups’ social, cultural, and linguistic needs. A culturally competent library effectively responds to Canada’s changing demographics – an increasingly multicultural population.


From the City of Toronto Website: InvolveYouth 2:
A guide to meaningful youth engagement < a href="">

“What does it mean to work from an anti-oppression framework?

  • Actively working to acknowledge and shift power towards inclusiveness, accessibility, equity, and social justice.
  • Ensuring that anti-oppression is embedded in everything that you do by examining attitudes and actions through the lens of access, equity, and social justice.
  • Being conscious and active in the process of learning and recognizing that the process as well as the product is important.
  • Creating a space where people are safe, but can also be challenged.”

An anti-oppression workshop “will help to familiarize participants with the concepts and language of anti-oppression. It provides the basic tools for naming and analyzing oppression” and understanding of the various degrees of privilege provided to included groups in our society and thus provides context for learners to understand the types of privilege experienced. (City of Toronto, Website: InvolveYouth 2)


In the guide titled Training for Racial Equality and Inclusion: A Guide to Selected Programs, Ilana Shapiro describes anti-racism training as the “type of training approach [that] is designed to incorporate training at all three levels (individual, intergroup, and systemic). However, its ultimate purpose is to help people understand the systemic nature of racism. Though anti-racism trainings often start with individuals identifying their own cultural identity (similar to an intercultural/valuing differences approach), training will usually move quickly into understanding how cultural identities have been strongly influenced by historical and systemic factors (e.g., white male privilege was given institutional legitimacy in the U.S. Constitution, which only allowed men who owned land to vote.) As training expert Patti DeRosa writes, “anti-racism holds that the core culture and institutional structures must fundamentally change, while recognizing that changes in our personal attitudes are also essential.” (Shapiro, 2002.)

When selecting a training session for the board, staff, or volunteer team, it is important to ensure the type of training is aligned with the library culture, and that there is acceptance of the type of training selected.

  1. Determine if social inclusion training has been included in the current training and development plans for all staff
  2. Determine the type of training that best fits the library culture and budget.
  3. Develop or amend social inclusion training and learning initiatives for staff to increase the degree of cultural competency and knowledge of internal inclusionary practices.
  4. Thread the discussion of the importance of inclusion and the integration of inclusion (as well as removing barriers to inclusion for the community) into the discussions regarding planning.
Figure 7.0 Develop your inclusion training plan
Questions to assist with development of a training plan Response What next steps are required Who is responsible What is the timeline What is the Progress Update?
  1. Has social inclusion training been included in the current training and development plans for all staff?
  • What type of training program or initiative best fits the library’s culture and budget? For example, should a train-the-trainer type program be considered, in-house or public program?
  • Who is responsible for developing or refining the social inclusion training and learning initiatives plan?
  • Who is responsible for researching various training programs?
  • When should the training be developed by?
  • If assistance with sourcing information about training initiatives is required, please see the list below. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and that neither the CULC/CBUC nor the investigator or researchers of this toolkit are affiliated and do not endorse the quality and calibre of training offered by the organizations below. When considering contracting with an external consultant or firm, it is important to learn about the training program and receive references to confirm the quality of training. Also, please note that this list was compiled in the summer of 2009. Links and the type of training offered may have since changed:


    Centre for Organizational Cultural Competence –

    • Cultural Competence Assessment Tools, trainer toolkits, programs for recruitment, hiring, and transitioning new immigrants into the workplace.


    Calgary Multicultural Centre –

    Services include:

    • Cultural Competency Audits for companies and organizations that want to determine how well they are managing cultural differences;
    • Cultural Awareness Training for companies and organizations that want to understand and manage the way culture affects behaviour (at work, in negotiations, during interviews, when shopping, etc.);
    • Cross-Cultural Communication Workshops that develop skills and strategies for communicating with clients, employees, and co-workers from different cultures;
    • Conflict Intervention for groups that are experiencing conflict rooted in cultural misunderstanding;
    • Pre-departure Cultural Briefings for individuals or groups travelling to other countries on business;
    • On-arrival Orientations to Canadian culture for individuals or groups arriving in Canada on business or study tours.


    KW Counselling Services (Kitchener-Waterloo) –

    Offers diversity and cultural competency training that seeks to provide participants with an insight into how people and cultures differ while creating an environment of empathy and unity.

    Harmony Movement (North York) –

    IDEAS (Integrated Diversity and Equity Action Strategies) are anti-oppression and anti-discriminatory workshops that introduces an integrated approach to promoting safe learning and working environments. IDEAS is designed for teachers who are seeking professional development in areas of diversity and equity as well as organizations seeking solutions to inequitable situations within the workplace, while creating an open forum to discuss uncomfortable matters.

    Competence Consultants and Associates (Toronto) –

    Provides Anti-racism Anti-oppression (ARAO), Cultural Competence, Diversity, Inclusion, Equity models for your work place. Also provides training and organizational development that creates common language and frameworks between individuals, teams, and levels of an organization. Introduces basic principles of anti-oppression, equity, power, privilege, and cultural competence. Workshops available.

    Pluri Vox Media Corporation (Ottawa) –

    Diversity Training – Working in multicultural contexts requires cross-cultural knowledge and awareness. Pluri Vox Media Corp. provides training to clients in diversity issues. Pluri Vox will develop site specific diversity awareness strategies and training to develop diversity knowledge.


    Centre for Anti-Oppression Studies –

    The Centre for Anti-Oppression Studies was formed in order to:

    • Develop resources to support the development of a network of individuals and organizations to provide ongoing leadership to promote anti-oppression education, action, and practice.
    • Provide ongoing training to assist individuals, human service agencies, and communities to engage in anti-oppressive work and practice.
    • Produce learning materials on anti-oppressive work and practice.
    • Engage in research regarding best practices in anti-oppressive work and practice.
    • Promote policy development and engage in advocacy regarding issues of social justice.
    • Sponsor community conferences, forums, and events.

    New Brunswick

    The New Brunswick Multicultural Council, Inc –

    • They have developed a Cultural Competency Training program which will assist managers and team members in public and private sector workplaces and educational institutions to build their capacity to manage diversity and create welcoming workplaces where all team members can reach their fullest potential.

    Comprecultures –

    • Offers a variety of fast-paced, highly interactive, half- and full-day workshops, carefully tailored to the needs of the client and to the working environment of participants.

    Diversis –

    • Offers on-demand and personalized cross-cultural training to governments, employers, community organizations, and to newcomers as well.

    Nova Scotia

    Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia –

    • Their program offers training in three modules. Module one focuses on what cultural competence means and why it is needed; how to identify gaps in your cultural knowledge and skills; and how values, beliefs, and attitudes affect your ability to relate to others.
    • In module two, participants will develop skills that include: how to analyze types of cultural behaviour; how to prevent misunderstandings; how to gain awareness of body language; how to learn better ways to communicate with ESL speakers; and where to find resources to help build cultural competence.
    • In module three, participants will put their skills into action using workplace situations. They will examine issues where cultural competence will solve problems and increase functional capacity; analyze workplace situations or barriers to cultural competence; and discover how individuals can promote positive change in any setting or group.

    Audit Tool Interpretation – How to Assess Status and Progress

    The Social Inclusion Audit Tool is designed to help the library assess the library’s current status and level of progress in removing barriers to social inclusion. This box contains some examples to help when using the Audit Tool for Question 7.

    Low Status/Low Progress

    This may be the case when the library has not implemented any, or very few, elements of the inclusion plan, including strategies for improving inclusiveness training for staff and external stakeholders.

    What should you do? Be Open to Change.

    The introductory and subsequent chapters of this book are useful for reminding library board and staff why social inclusion is important. The exercises in Chapter 6 are important to guide planning, and the exercises in this chapter will help with the development of an inclusion and cultural competency training plan for staff and stakeholders.

    Low Status/High Progress

    This may be the case when library staff and stakeholders are not yet trained but there is recognition that inclusion and cultural competency training is important. The training type and the trainer have been identified.

    What should you do? Refine.

    It is important to stay motivated and review the inclusion training plan. What are the barriers holding back implementation? The exercises in this chapter will help to refine the plan and make informed choices. Setting deadlines and assigning responsibility for implementing the training strategy is also critical.

    High Status/Low Progress

    This may be the case when some kind of diversity training is included in staff training programs, but it has not been evaluated to determine if it is sufficient, or whether it is the right kind of diversity training for the library’s needs.

    What should you do? Become Intentional.

    The exercises in this chapter will support the library to think critically about the kind of training the staff needs. It is important to evaluate current training/learning effectiveness. Adding inclusion/cultural competency training as a topic for discussion at staff meetings may encourage participation and motivation. Again, assigning responsibility to someone and setting deadlines for implementation will improve progress.

    High Status/High Progress

    This may be the case when the library has a training and learning strategy for inclusion and ensures that all staff, new and existing, get regular training and updates as required. Cultural competency training has been extended to key external stakeholders, and the effectiveness of the training is regularly reviewed and evaluated to meet the changing needs of staff and community alike.

    What should you do? Mentor Others.

    The library is demonstrating a high capacity by developing and holding regular inclusiveness and cultural competency training and learning for staff. No doubt there will have been some great successes along the way and some failures. Sharing these experiences with other libraries will help everyone on the way to become more inclusive.