Diversity Audit

A diversity audit is an opportunity to examine who is represented in your library collection. This practice was developed by teen librarian Karen Jensen to make her collection more representative of her community and the world at large. Some questions to ask before you start are:

  • What do I want to learn?
  • What collection will I look at?
  • What types of diversity will I assess?
  • Where will I find statistical information about different kinds of diversity?
  • Who is in my community (town, province, country)?

Why Conduct a Diversity Audit?

Conducting a diversity audit helps you make informed collection development decisions to ensure that:

  • Marginalized people in your local community can see themselves represented on your bookshelves
  • People from majority groups can see their friends, neighbours, family members represented on your bookshelves
  • Readers have the opportunity to read about people like themselves
  • Readers have the opportunity to read about people different from themselves

Definitions

The following definitions may be helpful in understanding the diversity audit process.

    • Diversity: In the context of collections, having a variety of representations, experiences and points of view; a book written that includes diverse characters or points of view by any author (From Diversity Considerations in YA: Doing a Diversity Audit)
    • Own Voices: An author from a marginalized or under-represented group writing about their own experiences (From Diversity Considerations in YA: Doing a Diversity Audit)
    • Intersectional: In the context of library collections, characters or authors who belong to one or more under-represented or marginalized groups (e.g., a person of colour who is also gay)
    • Ethnicity: The ethnic or cultural origins of a person’s ancestors (From Statistics Canada)
    • Visible Minority: In Canada, visible minorities are defined by the Employment Equity Act as "persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour." The visible minority population consists mainly of the following groups: South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean and Japanese. (From Statistics Canada)


Resources for Conducting a Diversity Audit

Statistical information

Process

Resources for Finding Diverse Books


Further Reading