Three Ways to Maintain Inclusive Collections in Academic Libraries

Today’s academic library is tasked with demonstrating its role in student academic success, engaging with campus communities, and keeping the library as a central hub of activity.

One way to encourage students to take advantage of the resources that academic libraries have to offer is by providing inclusive collections that are accessible to all.

Adopting evidence-based tools and techniques can support this goal by regularizing activities to curate and maintain a diverse collection.

Here are three key steps you can take to help your academic library improve the representation of diverse content.

1. Analyze current holdings and address gaps.

The first step to curating and maintaining inclusive collections is to analyze the data you have for your current stock. This helps to remove any subjectivity from the decision-making process so you can create collections that represent the entirety of your student body.

Taking a data-driven approach helps you to:

  • Pinpoint any core gaps within your stock, which can then be filled to create more inclusive collections;
  • Identify understocked and overstocked materials, in line with demand metrics;
  • Check your collections to find missing items.

However, this analysis can be time-consuming, especially when librarians have so many other responsibilities.

collectionHQ’s brand-new software, cHQacademic has been designed to help college and university libraries to analyze data and manage collections more efficiently and cost-effectively.

cHQacademic also offers “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Analysis” which analyzes library collections against twelve industry-accepted DEI topics to provide an understanding of the extent to which diverse communities are being represented.

This analysis offers actionable insight that enables academic librarians to identify areas of their collections that are underrepresented and address gaps.

2. Monitor and maintain improvements.

To maintain inclusive collections, data analysis cannot be a one-off task. However, with so many other tasks to complete, it can often fall to the bottom of the list. It’s a laborious and complex process to simply analyze the wealth of data you have, let alone manipulate and digest it to understand how best to improve diversity in your collection.

Evidence-based tools help you use your time most effectively. By delivering the analysis in a manageable format that is easy to understand, you can keep track of your collections and make continuous improvements, without manually undertaking this work.

You can also use this analysis to save money, as you will identify ways to maximize the usage of current material in your collection – such as moving to a new location or increasing promotion, before purchasing new or replacement copies.

cHQacademic delivers easy-to-use action plans that can be used regularly by library staff to carry out collection management tasks. The action plans will:

  • Highlight overused “grubby” books that are in poor condition, without librarians spending hours checking each item by hand;
  • Identify outdated publications that need to be replaced – a Library Journal survey found that 40% of student respondents had encountered library resources containing outdated, stereotyped, or incorrect information about marginalized people.
  • Streamline the weeding process and call attention to ‘last copies’ to avoid the unintentional removal of essential learning materials.

You can then use the software to create calendars to include data analysis in your collection management workflows. These tasks can be scheduled across campuses to regularly right-size your collections, so students can always access the materials they need.

3. Communicate with stakeholders.

Finally, by adopting a more methodical approach to maintaining inclusivity in the collection, you can communicate the work you are doing – and its value – to stakeholders.

Proving your commitment to inclusivity will also encourage the full breadth of the student body to view the academic library as an essential part of their education experience.

You can highlight this commitment to stakeholders and students alike by:

  • Promoting your inclusive collections through library displays.
  • Creating awareness campaigns on platforms like social media.
  • Highlighting the work being done across internal communication channels.

We hope that this guide has given you some ideas that will help you to better maintain inclusive collections in your library.

At collectionHQ, we fully support the hard work librarians do every day to deliver a consistently high standard of collection, ensure students can access the resources they require, and provide a better library experience for all users.

We want to make your job easier through evidence-based, easily implemented data analysis and insight tools. That’s why we have introduced cHQacademic, to streamline labor-intensive tasks and help you take control of your collection more effectively.

If you’re interested to learn about the difference it could make across your campus, please get in touch to book a free demonstration.

Comments are closed.