Library Instruction for Diverse Populations Bibliography

NOTE: In spring 2015, the committee moved from static pdf files to a Zotero bibliography. This bibliography is being revised by the committee during the 2019-2020 academic year.


The students enrolling in American institutions of higher education are increasingly diverse. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) publishes actual and projected statistics for enrollment in postsecondary degree-granting institutions. The 40th edition (published in 2013) of Projections of Education Statistics to 2021 predicts enrollment of U.S. residents in all postsecondary degree-granting institutions, by race/ethnicity to increase (between the year 2010 and 2021) by the following:

  • 4 percent for students who are White
  • 25 percent for students who are Black
  • 42 percent for students who are Hispanic
  • 20 percent for students who are Asian/Pacific Islander
  • 1 percent for students who are American Indian/Alaska Native
  • 25 percent for students who are 35 years old and over

[Hussar, W.J., and Bailey, T.M. 2013. Projections of Education Statistics to 2021 (NCES 2013-008). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.]

This diversity necessitates that all educators-librarian-instructors, included-have a solid understanding of the backgrounds, learning styles, and learning preferences of their students.

The Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee of the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Instruction Section has compiled this bibliography to meet the need of librarian-instructors for information about teaching diverse populations within college and university settings. The Committee hopes that librarians needing to teach a class to students of a particular group can turn to the relevant section of the bibliography, find an overview of issues and strategies relating to that population, and locate informational resources that will give them immediate help in preparing teaching methods and materials.

The bibliography includes print and electronic resources key to development of effective methods and materials for providing library instruction and teaching information literacy competencies to diverse student groups. The committee focused primarily on resources authored within the last ten years that specifically describe teaching diverse groups within an academic library context. Significant resources on teaching diverse populations within any educational setting and on the information-seeking behaviors of diverse populations are also listed, as are resources more than ten years old but seminal to their topics. No more than twenty resources are listed for each diverse population group, and all resources have an accompanying annotation, letting readers know what particular resources can contribute to their understanding of the topic. Web pages and electronic listservs are listed where appropriate; listservs, in particular, are not used by educators to the same degree, or in the same manner, as librarians working with different population groups.

In addition to General Resources on teaching diverse populations within academic libraries, the Bibliography also addresses the following groups:

Beyond helping librarian-instructors prepare for teaching classes, the Bibliography also serves as an overview of the state of the literature on teaching various populations. The amount of research and writing that librarians have created on teaching international and nontraditional students is encouragingly high. Other areas are less developed-notably instruction to Native American students and instruction of diverse populations in an online or distance education environment.

The Bibliography thus works with the Research Agenda for Library Instruction and Information Literacy in encouraging areas of further research.

Created by:Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee, Instruction Section, Association of College and Research Libraries