Evaluating, Auditing, and Diversifying Your Collections

In this multifaceted online course, you’ll complete work to ensure that your collections are Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive—with personal coaching from experts from libraries and beyond.

Live Interactive Sessions: Tuesdays: April 30, May 7 & May 14 from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET. Plus, self-guided options and additional bonus content offered so you can follow along at your own pace.

Do you want to ensure that your library’s collections are diverse, equitable, inclusive—and well-read?

In this foundational course from Library Journal and School Library Journal, designed specifically for public librarian professionals who work in collections and readers’ advisory (RA), you’ll hear from an outstanding group of experts as they explore key concepts essential to cultivating and promoting inclusive and equitable collections. You’ll conduct a diversity audit of your collections and learn about how to include diverse books, wider perspectives, #ownvoices, and how to be more responsive to the community you serve.

The course will cover a wide range of topics, helping teach librarians how to evaluate books and media through an inclusive lens, that includes the experiences of LGBTQIA people, Native people, people of color, people with disabilities, non-binary or gender non-conforming people, and ethnic, cultural, religious minorities, and more.

When you attend this interactive online course, you’ll come away with: 

  • The ability to assess current library collections, book promotions, and displays through a diverse lens in order to assess gaps in collections and service areas.
  • An understanding of key diversity and cultural literacy concepts such as white privilege, unconscious bias, cultural appropriation, and intersectionality.
  • The ability to recognize common problematic stereotypes, tropes, and microaggressions in media.
  • The ability to assess the diversity and inclusiveness of current collection development and RA practices.
  • Guidance on planning and executing a diversity audit.
  • Tools, tips, and advice on how to better diversify collections and displays.
  • A plan of action to better diversify your library collections and address gap areas that will transform your understanding of your library users and the services you provide.

Inspiring Live Guest Speakers + Project-Based Learning
Engage with presenters via live video stream, visual presentations, and chats, and workshop practical solutions in groups, with guidance from an advisor, to map out your own cultural literacy and inclusion initiatives. You’ll leave with well-developed strategies designed to make a lasting impact on your community.
 
Online course features

  • Instructor-led online course features personalized interaction over 3+ weeks
  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live webcast (with recordings available afterward)
  • Self-guided track with video lessons and supporting resources in the online classroom to provide a foundation for your work
  • Homework assignments to help you make progress on your goals
  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment to help sort out challenges
  • Ongoing group conversation via discussion forums
  • Articles, videos, and other resources
  • Access all course content for 6 months after the course ends
  • Bonus: Register early and get immediate access to archival video recordings from related courses 

Who should take this course
This event is excellent for public librarians, both adult and youth services, academic librarians, and school librarians. The program will be especially relevant to librarians in collection development, collection management, merchandising and displays, programming, outreach, and library marketing.
 
Sample Session Themes:

  • Reviewing the Basics: Foundations of Cultural Competency
  • How to Conduct a Diversity Audit
  • Recognizing Stereotypes, Tropes, and Appropriation

Can’t make a live session? No worries. All sessions will be available to you “on-demand” following the initial broadcast. 
 

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Stephanie Anderson is Chair of Library Reads, the Assistant Director of Selection for BookOps (aka the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library), and passionate about books and public libraries, and what they can do for people and their communities.
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Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker works as both a production editor and a contributing editor to Electric Literature. She is the creator and host of the podcast Minorities in Publishing. She previously served as a panel organizer and social media manager for We Need Diverse Books, a non-profit organization that sprang to life from the #WeNeedDiverseBooks media campaign to increase minority representation in literature.

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Michelle Baildon is a Collections Strategist for Arts & Humanities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA). One of her specialties includes helping researchers find primary sources - both online and analog - such as historical newspapers and magazines, unique or hard-to-find publications, personal papers, and archival records. Before MIT, she served as the History and Political Science Librarian at Boston College.

Anna Clutterbuck-Cook serves as the reference librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society, where she has worked since 2007. A historian as well as a librarian, Anna completed her Master’s degrees in library science and history at Simmons College (2011) with a thesis on the founding of the Oregon Extension off-campus study program. She has since pursued research on the subject of the history of sexuality and gender, with a particular interest in Christian attitudes toward sexual diversity. 

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Anastasia Collins is a Research and Instruction Librarian at Simmons University Library. She brings several years of academic library experience with an emphasis in reference, research services, and instruction with subject specializations in the humanities, social work, education, and social sciences and scholarly expertise in children's literature, American English literature, and English language studies.

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Sarah Park Dahlen

Sarah Park Dahlen is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science at St. Catherine University. She teaches courses on children’s and young adult materials and services, storytelling, social justice, and library and information science. Currently, she is examining representations of transracially adopted Koreans in children's literature and the information behaviors of transnationally adopted Koreans. She co-edited a children's and young adult multicultural literature textbook with Dr. Jamie Naidoo titled Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors Through Reading. Her next project examines race in the Harry Potter series.

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Leah Koch is a co-founder of The Ripped Bodice Bookstore. Leah, with her sister Bea, now work with Sony Pictures TV to develop projects based on their close relationships with romance novel authors and readers.

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Annabelle Mortensen

Annabelle Mortensen is the Access Services Manager for Skokie Public Library, overseeing the team responsible for the library's physical and digital collections, including staff who select, catalog, label, digitize, and shelve materials. In her spare time, she wrangles two young sons, binge-watches HBO, and pines for the sunshine of her native California.

  

Kiera Parrott is the reviews director for Library Journal and School Library Journal, where she oversees a talented staff of editors and several thousand reviewers. Kiera previously served as the head of children’s services at Darien Library (CT) and began her career at the New York Public Library. 

Becky Spratford

Becky Spratford is a Readers' Advisory Specialist and librarian specialized in training other library workers. She trains library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through the local public library. For over fifteen years she has served the patrons of the Berwyn Public Library and traveled all over the United States witnessing public libraries in action and helping them to improve service to patrons.

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Part 1: Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 2:00 PM — 4:15 PM ET

Session 1 | Welcome to the Course and Foundational Frameworks | 2:00 PM — 2:15 PM ET

Kiera Parrott, LJ/SLJ Reviews Director, will explain how the discussion groups and assignments will work and highlight key concepts, including #ownvoices, privilege, and intersectionality. 

Speaker:
Kiera Parrott, Reviews Director, Library Journal & School Library Journal

Session 2 | 2:15 PM — 3:00 PM ET

Speaker: Anastasia Collins, Liaison Librarian, Simmons College Beatley Library (MA)

Intermission | 3:00 PM — 3:15 PM ET

Session 3 | Conducting a Diversity Audit | 3:15 PM — 4:00 PM ET

In this session, Annabelle Mortensen will discuss the need for librarians to perform regular audits of their collections and programs in order to better align offerings to community need, identify gaps, and set benchmarks for diversification. Participants will learn how to plan a diversity audit, which salient data points should be included, how to gather the requisite information, how to set goals to address gaps, and how to make diversity and inclusion natural parts of collection management and promotion.

Speaker:

Annabelle Mortensen, Access Services Manager, Skokie Public Library

Part 2: Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 2:00 PM — 4:15 PM ET

Session 1 | From Stereotype to Authenticity: The Importance of Representation in Children’s and Adult Collections | 2:00 PM — 3:00 PM ET

Some common stereotypes in books and media are easy to spot; others require a more fine-tuned understanding of culture and history. In this series of sessions, attendees will learn how to spot problematic stereotypes and tropes based on ethnic, racial, gender, or sexual identity. Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen will focus specifically on Asian and Asian/Pacific American representation; Jennifer Baker’s area of expertise is in the depiction of Black and African/African American representation, and librarian Anna Clutterbuck-Cook’s presentation will delve into LGBTQIA+ representation. 

Speakers: 
Part 1: Sarah Park Dahlen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Master of Library and Information Science Program, St. Catherine University (MN)
Part 2: Jennifer Baker, Writer, Editor, Advocate, and Founder, Minorities in Publishing podcast

Intermission | 3:00 PM — 3:15 PM ET

Session 1, Part 3  | 3:15 PM — 3:45 PM ET

Speaker: Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, Reference Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society

Session 2 | Collection Development Lessons from a Bookseller | 3:45 PM — 4:15 PM ET

With their first ever Romance Books Diversity Report, Bea and Leah Koch, owners of The Ripped Bodice Bookstore, spotlighted the glaring inequities in romance publishing and bookselling. Join Leah Koch for a discussion of how the diversity report has brought awareness and accountability to the broader issue of lack of diversity in the world of publishing, and learn how they address the issue in their bookstore and beyond.

Speaker: Leah Koch, Founder, The Ripped Bodice Bookstore

Part 3 - Tuesday, May 14, 2018, 2 — 4:15 pm ET

Session 1 | From Reading Diversely to Buying Diversely: Collection Development and Readers’ Advisory for the Inclusive Librarian | 2:00 PM — 2:30 PM ET

Diversifying your collection begins with diversifying your suggestions. Learn from Becky Spratford of RAforall.com how to locate and combat implicit racism and sexism in our resources and provide a wider range of suggestions to our readers in this compelling session. Spratford will explain how encouraging readers to read more diversely results in libraries buying more diversely, and share ideas for how you can include your whole staff in the process. You’ll come away with an understanding for how equity work can become a part of your daily practice via interactions with your patron, staff, and the wider community.

Speaker: Becky Spratford, Readers’ Advisory Specialist

Session 2 | 2:30 PM — 3:00 PM ET

Speaker: Michelle Baildon, Collections Strategist for Arts & Humanities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA)

Intermission | 3:00 PM — 3:15 PM ET

Session 3 | How to Diversify, Starting Now | 3:15 PM — 3:45 PM ET

In this session, you’ll learn how one organization turned valid criticism into action and change. LibraryReads, the organization of librarians that produces a popular monthly booklist, will share how they responded to the feedback of their community and took steps to diversify their booklists in this practical, insightful session. 

Speaker: Stephanie Anderson, Chair, LibraryReads
 

The course features live guest speakers in interactive sessions with Q&A as well as self-guided “homework” and readings to support deeper learning. You’ll work in small groups with facilitators experienced in anti-oppression work to complete assignments and field research that will fuel your diversity initiatives.

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