The National Football League’s Rooney Rule requires that an ethnic minority candidate be interviewed for each head coaching and general manager vacancy. It does not grant any preferential treatment other than getting an ethnic-minority in the door who would not have a chance otherwise because of the good ole white boy network.
The Rooney Rule has had some success. But much like libraries, the people in charge do not proportionately represent those they serve. Seventy percent of NFL players are black. But the league has never had that percentage of black coaches. Much like in quite a few libraries, the population they serve is comprised of a majority-minority but the librarians are still overwhelmingly white. At the beginning of the 2018 season, the NFL had seven black head coaches and one Latino head coach. By the end of the season, only two black, one Latino head coaches were left standing. The numbers are just as depressing in libraries with only five-percent of librarians in general being African American.
In past years, libraries have been better about advertising positions with minority caucuses and other places where minorities may see open positions. But, has that lead to more hires for ethnic minorities? I say no. Without something similar to the Rooney Rule, I do not believe that libraries are pressed to bring in a minority candidates for each position. When they do bring in a minority candidate, what percentage is hired? The fact that no one keeps this statistic (that I can find) says it all. Without a requirement to interview a minority candidate for each position, we are only recruiting more minority candidates to apply for positions.
The Rooney Rule also focuses on hiring more general managers of color. This is most important in libraries to introduce the equity and inclusion factors. It is not enough to just hire people of color in entry faculty and staff positions, but we must then have a fair and equitable chance of advancement. That advancement “ensures” that we are included in the decision making processes. That advancement fosters an environment of inclusion. If libraries are truly committed to Equity and Inclusion, they will institute their version of the Rooney Rule and commit to interviewing POCs for managerial positions, especially senior level positions. There are only 192 African Americans serving as deans and/or library directors in the United States. What realistically should be our goal by 2029? A thirty percent increase would lead to 250 African American deans and library directors. That should at least be the minimum goal in the next ten years.