Date of Award

Spring 4-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Lee, Ed.D

Second Advisor

Dr. Cherilynne Hollowell, Ed.D

Third Advisor

Dr. Catherine Webb, Ed.D


Purpose: The purpose of this ethnographic qualitative study was to identify and describe how community college library leaders utilize culturally responsive leadership strategies when leading their organizations, based on Horsford et al.’s (2011) Culturally Relevant Leadership (CRL) framework.

Methodology: This study identified and described culturally responsive leadership strategies of library leaders at the California Community Colleges (CCCs). As part of a thematic team, the researcher designed an interview protocol in alignment with the four dimensions of the CRL framework: professional duty, personal journey, pedagogical approach, and political context. Fourteen participants were identified and selected using criterion sampling, with participants meeting at least three of five criteria. The researcher collected data through semi-structured interviews, then transcribed, analyzed, and coded the data to identify themes and findings.

Findings: The researcher made seven major findings based on the data collection, coding, frequency counts, and analysis of emergent themes utilized by CCC library leaders. The findings are organized into four dimensions: professional duty, personal journey, pedagogical approach, and political context. The findings indicate that culturally responsive library leaders: amplify access to advocate for students, decolonize collections with culturally relevant materials, honor their own personal journeys, create and hold space for diverse lived experiences, continually interrogate policy and practice, center students in the library’s story, and collaborate and conspire with strategic partners.

Conclusions: The researcher drew seven conclusions and seven implications for action based on the findings, to provide deeper insight into the culturally responsive leadership strategies of CCC library leaders. Implications for action include aligning with academic counselors to co-create and support students’ educational plans, conducting regular and collaborative equity audits, and creating intentional opportunities for intersectionality between academic and student affairs.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to replicate this study with library leaders of color, and with library leaders from the California State University and the University of California systems. A meta-analysis could be conducted to identify common culturally responsive leadership strategies utilized among the groups of CCC leaders studied in this thematic study.