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Purpose: This chapter introduces a new tool, termed the Communication Agreement, for enhancing communication in the library workplace. The chapter defines the communication agreement, provides discussion questions for forming a communication agreement, provides examples of how communication agreements are beneficial to a diverse library workforce, and provides strategies to informally assess communication agreements’ effectiveness.

Practical implications: Communication problems in diverse library workplaces can lead to, or exacerbate, conflict between employees. Generational, cross-cultural, gender, and other differences can lead to misunderstandings and conflict between employees. The communication agreement provides library managers with a tool to bridge differences in communication styles between employees, enable employees to engage in more effective communication, assist employees in developing better understandings and respect for colleagues of different backgrounds, and raise employees’ emotional intelligences.

Originality/Value: Numerous resources and publications provide generalized approaches to communicating with others in a heterogeneous workplace or team, but the communication agreement provides a new approach for developing effective communication between people in a diverse library workplace.

Limitations: The chapter lays out informal assessment strategies for the communication agreement, but formal assessment methods and metrics still need to be developed.


Publisher Acknowledgement:

This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript. The version of record can be found here: Stanwicks, K.N. (2017), "Let’s Talk About How We Talk: Communication Agreements in the Library Workplace", Emotion in the Library Workplace (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 37), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 189-202.

This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) license. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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