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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 Diversity Policy and upholds its guidelines and implements its initiatives as we contemplate the selection of resources and provide services that support the instruction, learning and research of all segments of our academic community. We are committed to the initiatives of the Libraries’ Diversity Advisory Committee.

Defining diversity takes on multiple dimensions and expands as we grow in our understanding of its complexity. “It is not just based on visible characteristics and demographics; it is about diversity of thought, diversity in approach, and diversity in ideas.” (1) Harris. (8/21/2014) In order to provide excellent services and resources, it is imperative that we fully comprehend the many facets and dimensions of diversity. In the university community “education is about intellectual diversity.” (2) (A.Hudson-Ward). (8/8/2014).

As we address issues of strategic thinking and planning, values-based diversity has become a critical component. We not only look at the traditional dimensions but we need to add value to the differences as advocated for a healthy multi-generational workplace. Communication styles differ as well as technology familiarity and how we interact with its application in exploration of resources and services.

If we want to ensure our future, then our profession has to reflect and protect the rights of all people in order to bring about change in our diverse communities. Collection strategies and services serve as the foundation for learning and give the information seeker tools to do whatever is of excellence. 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.

In our selection process to support academic course offerings, resources must reflect the many facets and dimensions of diversity. From ethnicity, race, age, attitudes, behaviors, sexual orientation and culture to fiscal planning, resources and communication, they all count in how we interact. To say that one is color blind or unbiased would not be truthful but the goal should be to work on our abilities to be open, receptive and transparent.

We envision our collections as a way to bridge the gap and find familiar roads towards discovery as we encourage lifelong learners who engage in critical inquiry. Our collection development priorities and practices must mirror and ensure literacy as an integral part of curriculum being implemented, offered, taught, studied and researched. In addition, collection strategies and services must be comprehensive and ongoing so that it enables tellers to keep telling the story through their study and research. When we think of structures or a system for discovery and access; opportunities will abound for inclusiveness and acceptance thereby resulting in responsible and active citizenship not only in our university community but the world.

Assessing Diversity in Our Collections

ACRL has developed eleven Cultural Competency Standards that must be incorporated into each of our library infrastructures; from policy making, administration, to managerial practice. 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 the various changes taking place. 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 provides clear definition of what Cultural Competence is as well as a specific standard that addresses the issue of collection development.

ACRL Definition of Cultural Competence is a congruent set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable a person or group to work effectively in crosscultural 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

(National Association of Social Workers, 2001).

ACRL Standard #4 addresses issues of collection development, programs and services.

Development of collections, programs, and services is that 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.

This is interpreted to mean:

Widespread changes in the linguistic and cultural fabric of library populations, coupled with the increasing sophistication of information technology, both require and make possible new approaches to the development of library collections and the provision of inclusive community-wide services. Upholding a commitment to cultural competence requires ensuring equitable access to collections and library services that is mindful of these changes.

Librarians and library staff need to learn how to detect and prevent exclusion of diverse constituents from service opportunities and seek to create opportunities for constituents, matching their needs with culturally competent services or adapting services to better meet the culturally unique needs of constituents. Furthermore, they need to foster policies and procedures that help ensure access to collections that reflect varying cultural beliefs.

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).

 

Revised Draft 8/11/2015; Reviewed and Approved by Collection Development Council 9/1/15