What narratives do library collections tell? Whose stories do collections represent?
Which groups see themselves in library collections? What gaps are there in library collections?
The work for this project is ongoing, however annual celebration months will be used to focus on collection development in specific areas. The timeline is:
February: LGBT+ studies for LGBT+ History Month
March: Women and Gender Studies for Women's History Month
October: BME Studies for Black History Month
Nov-Dec: Disability Studies for Disability History Month
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 Social Sciences and Humanities Libraries wish to take a more proactive approach to collection development that enables us to think critically about the collections we currently hold so that we are aware of the gaps and the narrative these collections tell. This will ensure the collections we build are used and useful, and continue their transformational impact.
This project will champion diversifying our collection development across the Social Sciences and Humanities Subject Librarians’ network , and with the aim of enhancing collections in areas such as LGBT+ Studies, Disability Studies, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) Studies and the intersections between these identities.
The project will seek input from those already working in these areas across the University to help identify gaps and concerns regarding our collections.
If you have any questions, comments or want further information please email the project lead, Helen Worrell at Helen.Worrell [at] bodleian.ox.ac.uk
Project successes so far:
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 over 1000 views since it's launch in June.
Advocated for embedding equality within subject collection policies across the Bodleian Libraries to address under-collected areas within the collections.
Creation of a one-off fund to purchase EDI texts that do not fall within clear subject boundaries currently used.