Beyond the Diversity Audit: Uncovering Whiteness in Our Collections Public Deposited
In late 2020, a group of librarians at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) came together to pursue the design of a diversity audit for monograph collections. After initial research and reflection, the authors realized that evaluating their existing collection on its racial or ethnic representation would not only be problematic, but also unnecessary, because it was clear to the authors that their collections are dominated by white voices and perspectives. How could they be otherwise? They were built for a primarily white audience as part of a system of knowledge production dominated by whiteness. The authors questioned whether the framework of a “diversity audit” really addressed their goal of a systematic anti-racist approach to collections management. This chapter details the authors’ process of rejecting the diversity audit framework for a large-scale review of monographs in a large academic library collection in the United States. It reviews the literature regarding diversity audits, as well as background on whiteness studies, as it leads to the authors’ rationale for instead developing a workbook for collection selectors. This workbook will position collection management practices within the white institutional presence (WIP) conceptual framework developed by scholar Diane Gusa (2010).
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- Rybin Koob, A., Aguilera, A., Carey, F.C., Li, X., Tingle Dolan, N. and Watkins, A. (2023), "Beyond the Diversity Audit: Uncovering Whiteness in Our Collections", Black, K. and Mehra, B. (Ed.) Antiracist Library and Information Science: Racial Justice and Community (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 52), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 69-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0065-283020230000052009