Read part 1 of the Diversity Audit blog series here!
Read part 2 of the Diversity Audit blog series here!
As you know from my last post I have begun a comprehensive and extensive Diversity Audit on my high school library’s fiction collection. I have decided to do the diversity audit by genre first, so that I will have data on the diversity of each individual genre. This information will help immensely with my collection development efforts going forward. After I have completed all 7 genre’s diversity audit, since I am completing it within a common excel sheet, I will also have the data for the collection as a whole.
Changes I Made
I did not make too many changes to the process during this audit, but I did make one small change. I added a column called “problematic content” so that I could keep track of which books I find that include problematic or harmful racial stereotypes. I’ve noticed that while I’m researching the books to find out their diversity representation, I’m often finding that some of them have reputations for poor representation so I want to keep note of those ones so I can go back in and weed them out. You can see the column in the downloadable google sheet found above.
Mystery/Horror Author Diversity:
Mystery/Horror Main Character Diversity
As you can see, our Mystery/Horror genre is even worse than our Fantasy & Sci-Fi genres for diversity representation. This is particularly distressing because the Mystery/Horror is by far one of the most popular genres for our students and staff. I now know that I need to do some emergency collection development of this genre, and will make sure I start researching and finding great representation books in this genre for our collection!
thanks so much for all the work you have done. And thank you also for sharing your spreadsheets. We (Rodgers Memorial Library, Hudson NH) have been talking and planning to embark on a similar process, but I must confess, I was hoping to find we wouldn’t have to do it title by title. I was thinking about a down and dirty approach to get a rough idea of any kind of diversity, but, after reading your blog, I have come to realize that if we’re going to do this, we should do it a thoroughly as possible. Keep up the good work.
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One thing you can do if you’re not ready to tackle a full collection audit is to choose like a randomized 10% of the collection to audit, and then you could extrapolate. Or audit all books purchased this year. There are definitely ways of starting a big smaller than I did! It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation. But I have to say I have zero regrets of having done a big one. The data has been invaluable in helping direct me in purchasing and weeding decisions this year!
If you are in California (and therefore have a free state provided subscription) or if you purchase a subscription to TeachingBooks.net there is a new diversity audit toolkit…the collection analysis is still quite rough (only having data for 50% of the books when I ran 400 mystery/horror titles from my middle school library). I think it will get better and better as more librarians (and their staff) add to the tool. While it’s not nearly as thorough as your audit, it is a quick overview and a another place to gather data if you’re filling out the spreadsheet you created.