Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Kyle D Cook

Second Advisor

Clare Irwin

Third Advisor

Nikki Chamblee


The theory of culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) (Ladson-Billings, 1995) has been applied primarily in K-12 settings to help educators engage with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. I argue that public librarians are also educators whose practice is grounded in the need for cultural relevance. However, a review of the literature indicates that CRP has not been applied to the work of public librarianship. I conducted an exploratory case study in order to address this gap in the literature. The population for this study was the staff of “Green County Public Library” (GCPL), a public library system in a majority-Black, suburban county in the northeastern U.S. (n = 30). I conducted virtual, semi-structured interviews and reviewed secondary data to: (a) determine where the criteria of CRP and traits of culturally relevant educators were evident within this setting and (b) examine how study participants perceived the importance of culturally relevant practices in their work. In this study, I found that: (a) CRP may provide a framework for describing the work of public librarianship; (b) CRP should be advanced through a library staff that reflects its community; and (c) GCPL serves as an example of imperfect progress on the path to becoming more culturally relevant.

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