A New Guide From Ithaka S+R: “Leading by Diversifying Collections: A Guide for Academic Library Leadership”
Leading by Diversifying Collections: A Guide for Academic Library Leadership was published on November 9, 2022 by Ithaka S+R.
Danielle Miriam Cooper
Roger C. Schonfeld
Oya Y. Rieger
November 9. 2022
From the Introduction:
Academic libraries build collections in the context of their parent institutions—primarily to support the institution’s research, teaching, and learning mission. They also build collections that document and preserve the cultural and scientific heritage of our society to represent a wide range of perspectives. In these efforts, universities and their libraries are developing approaches that address calls for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with a focus on creating space for and the perspectives of historically marginalized groups. Library leadership has an important role in ensuring this work is championed and steered effectively, and this guide is designed in support of that. We also anticipate this guide will be of interest to a broader audience interested in diversifying library collections, including especially those who will partner with leadership to realize the library’s goals in this area.
Knowing that their libraries have much work to do—particularly with collections—many library directors and AULs are looking for support. Ithaka S+R developed this guide to contribute to the efforts emerging in response to this need. The guide presents a series of takeaways, exercises, and examples that those in leadership positions in academic libraries, including deans, directors, and collection heads, can utilize to begin, supplement, and review their library’s efforts to diversify collections. To develop this guide, we worked with many individuals, both in on the ground roles and in positions of authority, most of them leaders in this work. The approaches we recommend here represent an aggregated and refined version of practices that have worked to good effect in leading contexts. While we attempt to provide sufficient scaffolding to enable leaders in other institutions to adapt their approaches, we recognize that in some contexts these approaches may be an imperfect fit. As always, we advise leaders who may be interested in implementing our approach to bear in mind their local context, not only in their library but also as it is situated institutionally and regionally, in considering how to adopt and adapt from our approach.
The guide is grounded in and advances the following foundational principles:
- Libraries have a unique role in supporting institution-wide DEI goals through their collection strategies.
- Meaningful contributions to collections work can come from library staff at all levels; therefore a library-wide strategy for diversifying collections must foster shared values. New organizational directions that involve cultural, budgetary, and policy change must have strong support from directors and collection managers as primary facilitators of large-scale change.
- Diversifying collections may require senior leadership to take risks in the face of opposition or inaction internally and externally
The guide is designed to help library leadership take action in ways that are grounded in the reality that every institution is unique. There is no “one size fits all” approach to address any of the field’s key issues, and the guide therefore provides a framework rather than a prescriptive method for universal application.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.