Collection Development Diversity Statement
The Collection Development Department of the Collection Strategies and Services Division of the University of Maryland Libraries adheres to the University of Maryland Strategic Plan’s Commitment to Diversity. In addition, we are committed to and guided by the initiatives of the Libraries’ Diversity Advisory Committee.
As we address issues of strategic thinking and planning, values-based diversity is a critical component of collections development. We not only look at the traditional dimensions of collections but we also add value in differences found within those collections. For example, differences may be found in perspectives, authorship, audience, or subject.
Collection strategies and services serve as the foundation for learning and give the information seeker tools to grow knowledge. It must be a community service whether it is for students, faculty and staff or for the greater good of our communities, cities, states and nation. We envision our collections as a road towards discovery as we encourage lifelong learners who engage in critical inquiry. This policy helps reflect and protect the rights of our diverse communities, in addition to supporting education and open access to knowledge.
Our selection process to support academic course offerings must reflect the many facets and dimensions of diversity. The goal should be to create collections that are open, receptive to feedback, and transparent. In addition, collection strategies and services must be comprehensive and ongoing to ensure patrons are supported throughout their education and research. Creating opportunities for discovery and access to authoritative information will result in responsible and active citizenship not only in our community but throughout the world.
Assessing Diversity in Our Collections
ACRL has developed eleven Cultural Competency Standards that must be incorporated into each of our library infrastructures. These must all be utilized within the framework of an institution’s mission, vision, and goals.
Cultural Competence is not stagnant. It is free flowing and requires constant assessment of changes to the collection, the institution, and society at large. The ACRL Cultural Competency standards are the most current tool to use in the academic library as we assess our ongoing challenges of building an inclusive community through collection development. The Diversity Standards on Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries (based on the 2001 National Association of Social Workers Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice) provides clear definition of what “Cultural Competence” is, as well as a specific standard that addresses the issue of collection development.
The ACRL Definition of Cultural Competence is a congruent set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable a person or group to work effectively in cross-cultural situations; the process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each.
ACRL Standard #4 addresses issues of collection development, programs and services.
Librarians and library staff shall develop collections and provide programs and services that are inclusive of the needs of all persons in the community the library serves.
For those responsible for the development and management of library collections and/or the provision of library programs and services, this specifically involves:
- Providing an equitable basis for purchasing materials and providing programs and services.
- Ensuring that consideration of the needs of historically oppressed, underrepresented, and underserved groups is integral to collection development and management and the provision of programs and services. Regularly assessing the adequacy of existing collections, programs, and services to ensure they are reflective of the diversity of the library’s constituent populations.
- Regularly reviewing the current and emergent demographic trends for the library’s constituent populations to inform collection development and management and the provision of programs and services.
- Providing increased accessibility through cataloging by allowing natural language words and advocating for changes in the LOC heading
- Creating and advocating for the creation of programs and services that are reflective of the cultural heritage, cultural backgrounds, and social identities of the library’s constituent populations.
- Including constituents as major stakeholders in decision-making and advisory entities and the planning, development, and evaluation of collections, programs, and services.
Regular assessment of collections should be a well-defined process that includes all collections according to the Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries (2012).
Reviewed:8/11/15, 9/16/19; CDC Approved:12/13/19.