A Study of the Cultural Intelligence of Special Libraries: Phase 1

Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

11th Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries International Conference

Conference Location

Florence, Italy


In this article, research is presented from phase one exploration of the cultural intelligence (CQ) of special librarians including international information professionals. This research was inspired by three focused questions: (a) What is the overall level of CQ of participating special librarians?, (b) What variations exist among the four factors of cultural intelligence within the participants, and (c) What are the viewpoints of these librarians about the importance and value of cultural intelligence within their organizations? Special librarians’ cultural intelligence has not been formerly studied (with the exception of United States law firm librarians, a specific type of special librarian). A concurrent strategy was used in this mixed-methods study. A survey that included the cultural intelligence assessment, demographic questions, and open-ended items was disseminated to members of the Special Libraries Association (SLA). Of 148 initial respondents, 51 provided complete survey responses. The data was collected and analyzed resulting in two main conclusions: (a) special librarians feel cultural intelligence is important to their organizations and roles, and (b) participants have various levels of CQ within each factor. The findings support recommendations to incorporate CQ training within organizational practices and to make CQ a priority as our practices are global. Phase 2 of focus groups of participants that opted-in will take place after this publication and offer additional rich insight into thoughts about cultural intelligence practices and application within organizations.


cultural intelligence, cultural competency, special libraries, special librarians, information professionals, international special librarians