How to Build and Defend Inclusive Collections

Create library collections that are inclusive and reflect a diverse range of people, stories, and experiences.



Course Overview

Guest speaker sessions via Zoom:
Wednesdays, Mar. 13, 20, and 27, starting at 2:00 pm ET (recordings available)

Asynchronous, facilitator-led workshop over 3 weeks

Create library collections that are inclusive and reflect a diverse range of people, stories, and experiences by learning how to conduct a diversity audit, ensure representation, and defend your collections against censorship challenges.

Library collections must be diverse and inclusive, offering windows into and reflections of the vast array of people, stories and experiences that make up our world. In this course, you’ll learn 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 and inclusion audit of your collections, and hear about ways to include wider perspectives from and about LGBTQIA+ people, Black, indigenous, and people of color, and historically underrepresented ethnicities, cultures, and religions. You’ll learn how to ensure that your collections are more reflective of the diversity of your community and the larger world and how to establish policies for keeping your inclusive collections safe against book challenges.

You’ll complete assignments to complete a diversity and inclusion audit over 3+ weeks in an interactive online classroom environment with personal coaching from an expert in the field. In addition, you’ll have access to our foundational bonus content—rich supporting materials you can explore at your own pace, including a series of webinars from Library Journal and School Library Journal contributors, readings, activities, and videos.

The transformational speaker program has given thousands of librarians the tools and vision for meaningful change. The live sessions run on Wednesdays, March 13, 20, and 27, starting at 2:00 pm ET (recordings available) with an ongoing facilitator-led workshop over 3 weeks. Don’t miss this opportunity!


When you sign up early, you’ll have immediate access to our Early Access On Demand Resources—a series of webinars from Library Journal and School Library Journal contributors along with rich, supporting materials in the form of readings, activities, and videos—to explore at your own pace.

Who should take this course

This course is for any librarian who influences or manages library collections and materials.

Expected time commitment: 

If you attend or watch the recordings of all live sessions and participate fully in the asynchronous workshop, you'll spend approximately 3-4 hours per week on this course. You'll earn 15 hours of PD credit and a Library Journal certificate of completion. 

Live sessions are also available on demand for six months

Can’t make a live session? All guest speaker sessions are recorded and available on demand for six months following the initial broadcast. Asynchronous workshops allow you to complete assignments and receive feedback from experts.

Certificate of completion provided

15 professional development credits are available

For support with online courses, please contact


All guest speaker sessions feature live captioning and are made available on demand after the initial broadcast. Please email upon registration if you require any special accommodations and we will make our best efforts to facilitate them.





Group Rates

Have a team attend and increase your impact!

Discounted registration fees are available for groups of 3 or more. When you register your team for our online courses, they will be placed in the same small workshop group, where discussions and project-based assignments receive feedback from an experienced librarian.


Send us a request for a quote.

If your group prefers to work separately, just let us know.


By registering for this event you confirm that you have read and agree to our Code of Conduct.

For support with online courses, please contact


Full program to be announced soon!

See Fall 2023 Program below.



Week 1: Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Establishing goals and priorities: Defining inclusive collections and learning how to build and maintain them


Session 1 | 2:00-2:45 pm ET

Creating Inclusive Library Collections

While it’s important to ensure our collections are diverse, what does it mean to ensure they are truly inclusive? In this session, we’ll discuss why moving toward inclusive library collections is a crucial step in advancing equity and justice at our institutions. You’ll learn from an expert how to assess your collections as they are now, and hear what considerations to make when ordering and weeding. We’ll also touch on how to address some of the challenges to materials in your collection and how to advocate for underrepresented voices that must be included.


Kymberlee Powe, Children and YA Consultant, Connecticut State Library Division of Library Development 



Workshop Q&A + Break | 2:45-3:00 pm ET

An introduction to this week’s assignment and an overview of what to expect from the online workshop in this course


Session 2 | 3:00-3:45 pm ET

Conducting a Diversity Audit of Your Collections and Ordering: Where to Start 

In this session, we’ll discuss the process of conducting a diversity audit of both your collections and your ordering. You’ll learn how to plan a diversity audit, which salient data points should be included, how to gather the requisite information, and how to set goals to address gaps. We’ll discuss the step-by-step process for establishing your diversity audit and how to make diversity and inclusion natural and ongoing parts of collection management and promotion.


Betsy Bird, Collection Development Manager, Evanston Public Library (IL)

Dontaná McPherson-Joseph, Collection Management Librarian, Oak Park Public Library (IL)




Week 2: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Preparing for your collection assessment: Identifying harmful – and amplifying authentic – stories in our library materials

From Margin to Center: A Collection Development Deep Dive

Not all representation is good representation, and in this series of enlightening sessions, you’ll learn how to identify the harmful and amplify the affirming. You will hear from several experts in the field about the ways that specific identities are portrayed in mainstream media, their traditions misunderstood or misrepresented, and their stories appropriated by cultural outsiders. You’ll learn how to spot problematic stereotypes and tropes and how to avoid perpetuating such depictions. You’ll walk away with the tools you need - and a trove of resources - to build a more inclusive and affirming collection at your library or institution and become an advocate for storytelling that moves beyond representation and towards real inclusion.

Session 1 | Black Stories in Library Collections | 2:00-2:25 pm ET


Jennifer Baker, Writer, Editor, Advocate, and Founder, Minorities in Publishing podcast


Session 2 | Muslim Stories in Library Collections | 2:25-2:50 pm ET


To be announced



Break | 2:50-3:00 pm ET


Session 3 | Queer Stories in Library Collections | 3:00-3:25 pm ET


To be announced



Session 4 | Native American Stories in Library Collections | 3:25-3:50 pm ET


To be announced



Session 5 | Disability Stories in Library Collections | 3:55-4:20 pm ET


Stacy Wells, Youth Librarian 


Workshop Q&A | 4:20-4:30 pm ET

An introduction to this week’s assignment and an overview of what to expect from the online workshop in this course



Week 3: Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Beginning your audit and defending inclusive collections

Session 1 | 2:00-2:45 pm ET

Assessing and Revising Your Collection Management Policies to Protect Your Collections and Yourself

As you create more inclusive collections, it’s critical to assess your current collections policies so that you are equipped to handle both informal and formal book challenges and have conversations with patrons that promote your inclusive and affirming materials. Having clear procedures, protocols, and messaging in place can provide a strong foundation for collection development work as well as protect frontline staff. Assessing your policies and procedures and how they are communicated with your community is a key piece of your advocacy work.


Kelly Jensen, Editor, Book Riot


Workshop Q&A + Break | 2:45-3:00 pm ET

An introduction to this week’s assignment and an overview of what to expect from the online workshop in this course


Session 2 | 3:00-3:45 pm ET

Stronger Together: Building Community, Coalitions, and Allies

Defending intellectual freedom can’t be the job of just one person. This session will teach you how to find allies inside and outside of your library or school, build coalitions, and work as a community to combat censorship challenges. You will leave with shared resources and tools for how to connect with others to drive change in your community.


To be announced



Session 3 | 3:45-4:15 pm ET

Sustaining Collection Assessment Momentum

Collection assessment work is never done, and in this session, we’ll discuss what is required to build and sustain momentum for this iterative process. You’ll come away with tools and strategies for assessing and understanding the impact of your initial auditing approach, as well as considerations for expanding and refining for the future.


Kymberlee Powe, Children and YA Consultant, Connecticut State Library Division of Library Development 








For support with online courses, please contact




Online Course Preview

A preview of how we build your library skills and bring inspiration to your projects with our online learning experience.

Course Format

One-Week Timeline (Course Runs 3+ Weeks)

DAYS 1-2

On Demand


2.5 hours

DAYS 4-7

1-2 hours (optional)



- Resources

- Discussions

- Bonus Content


- Guest speakers via webcast

- Q&A via chat

- Recordings available on demand


- Project-based homework, applied to your job

- Personalized feedback from a facilitator

- Group discussion in an asynchronous workshop setting via discussion forum


- Facilitator-led feedback


Establish goals and priorities


Prepare for your collection assessment


Begin audit or select materials for a collection




Inspiring Live Guest Speakers + Facilitated Group Workshop for Project-Based Learning



Live session with Andrea Blackman and Tasneem Ansariyah Grace

Live Guest Speakers Each Week

  • Engage with presenters via live video stream, visual presentations, and chats
  • Map out your own equity initiatives with guidance from an expert advisor
  • Leave with refined, robust strategies designed to make a lasting impact on your community
  • Workshop tangible antiracist approaches to your work with input from peer groups


Online Course Features


Recordings of guest speakers

Recordings Available After The Live Session

  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live video stream (with recordings available afterward)
  • Instructor-led online course features personalized interaction over 3+ weeks


Facilitator-led workshop

Online Classroom Organizes All Materials

  • Workshop assignments to help you make progress on your goals
  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment in the workshop to help sort out challenges
  • Ongoing group conversation via discussion forums


Early Access On Demand Resources

Early Access and Ongoing Resources To Support Learning

  • Supporting resources (articles, videos, worksheets) in the online classroom to provide a foundation for your work
  • Access all course content for six months after the course ends
  • Bonus: Register early and get immediate access to archival video recordings from related courses and other bonus content




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