Skip to Main Content

Changing the narrative: championing inclusive collection development: Home

A guide produced as part of the "Changing the narrative: championing diversity in collection development" project, running January 2020 to December 2021, led by Helen Worrell.

Purpose of LibGuide

This guide gives an overview of the project 'Changing the narrative: championing inclusive collection development'.  The project ran from January 2020 - December 2021.  This guide is intended for students and researchers at the University of Oxford seeking support in LGBT+ Studies, Women's Studies, BME Studies, Disability Studies and curriculum redesign.

Use this guide to find out about printed and online resources in these areas.

Information about the project

Across the University many Departments are now undergoing changes to rectify historic gaps in teaching and enhance inclusivity.  In addition to top down curricula changes, students and researchers are setting up networks to examine these issues within Oxford University and campaign for change, see for example ‘Common Ground Oxford’ or TORCH’s ‘Queer Studies Network’.   Other GLAM institutions are also addressing the historic bias of their collections, for example the Pitt Rivers’ Public Engagement with Research strategy includes a focus on decolonisation of the museum and its collections, and the Ashmolean has promoted diversity through object-based learning. 

Inspired by this, the Bodleian Libraries decided to take a more proactive approach to collection development that enabled us to think critically about the collections we currently hold so that we are aware of the gaps and the narrative these collections tell.  We wanted to ensure the collections we build are used and useful, and continue their transformational impact. 

If you have any questions, comments or want further information please email the project lead, Helen Worrell at Helen.Worrell [at] 

Project outcomes

Project successes:

Promoted and trialled are range of resources in LGBT History month and Women's History month.  Advocated for purchase of the following resources to enhance our online collections:
LGBT Magazine archive
Women and Social Movements, International
Black Studies Center

In liaison with the Bodleian Libraries, College Libraries and JCR Welfare reps created and shared a resource list of anti-racist educational resources in response to Black Lives Matter which has had nearly 2000 views since it's launch in June 2020.  This reading list is cited on the Equality and Diversity Unit's resources page.

Created a resource list of LGBT+ resources for promotion during LGBT+ History month.  The reading list is cited in University promotions for LGBT+ History Month.  

Advocated for embedding equality within subject collection policies across the Bodleian Libraries to address under-collected areas within the collections.  Added the following statement to the overarching collection policy: The Bodleian Libraries commit to developing collections that reflect a diverse academic community and breadth of scholarship including previously under-represented areas.

Raised awareness of EDI and the need to diversify collections amongst library staff.

Advocated for the creation of a ring-fenced fund to purchase EDI texts that do not fall within clear subject boundaries currently used.

Liaised with Divisional EDI representatives to seek input in to the project and suggestions for resources to support their work.