Measuring Diversity in the Collection (paywall)


Measuring Diversity in the Collection (paywall)


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A collection diversity audit is a crucial tool for libraries to assess their offerings. Starting small makes it manageable. “You manage what you measure” is an adage embraced by business schools and self-help gurus alike. The sentiment also applies to library staff looking to assess the inclusivity of collections and programs thorough diversity audits. In the same way that fitness trackers offer reality checks for sedentary lifestyles, diversity audits cast light on the homogeneity embedded within library collections, providing data that identifies gaps in representations of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and other traditionally marginalized perspectives.

Armed with this information, librarians can more mindfully work to narrow the gaps. According to LJ’s 2019 Public Library Diverse Materials Survey, only nine percent of responding libraries have conducted a collection diversity audit, while another 14 percent plan to run one in the future. A common obstacle is the difficulty of developing a methodology that fits within already heavy workloads. In 2017, the Skokie Public Library (SPL), IL, embarked on a two-year audit designed to cultivate insights without overwhelming staff.

Section headings:
  • Setting the Scale
  • Developing the Methodology
  • Results are only the Beginning
  • Customizing the Process




Annabelle Mortenson





Annabelle Mortenson, “Measuring Diversity in the Collection (paywall),” Antiracism Digital Library, accessed February 27, 2024,