We Are Committed to Diverse Collections
The University Libraries recently began an initiative to increase the number of books in its collections by diverse authors and about diversity-related topics. In keeping with the diversity standards of Central Michigan University and the American Library Association, the library is committed to reflecting the varied interests, needs, and identities of its users through its book collections.
Collaborating with campus diversity offices, the library identified thirty-six diversity book awards celebrating the diverse racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identities of people living in our nation. While not an exhaustive list of all such awards, it represents our varied CMU community members. Each of these awards celebrates notable books in such areas as literature, children’s fiction, history, biography, current issues, and more. Examples from the list of the thirty-six awards include: International Latino Book Awards, the Stonewall Award, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the American Indian Youth Literature Award.
The library will purchase the annual winner of each of these awards beginning in 2021. While purchasing past award-winning books is not part of this initiative, a quick check of the library catalog shows the library already owns about 25% of these titles. Previous award-winning titles may be added upon request.
It is important for libraries to deliberately undertake initiatives like this because many publishers of multicultural or diverse books are smaller, independent publishers not regularly included in conventional library purchasing channels. Academic libraries acquire their books through a variety of purchasing plans and agreements with publishers, and these arrangements favor larger, mainstream publishers. To represent diverse voices in its collection, a library needs to step outside its usual purchasing practices and take a more hands-on approach to collection building.
The library is excited about making these new materials available to library users. These books will play a supporting role in many areas of teaching and learning across the university. The library is proud to support our university’s commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive community.
If you have any questions or would like more information about the awards included in this project, please contact Tim Peters, Associate Dean of University Libraries at firstname.lastname@example.org.