At the beginning of the school year, I decided to embark on a journey into the school library collection. I was going to do an diversity audit. I have wanted to do a diversity audit for the last few years, but wasn't able to start until this year. To get ready for the audit, I read articles, attended conference sessions, and looked at statistics. Our school library is only four years old, with an average book age of 2014, so I am hoping that the collection will be more diverse overall than the publishing average.
First step, decide which categories I would be specifically looking for and create a spreadsheet. I decided that I was going to take an in depth look at the collection, that will most likely take two years to complete. I wanted to be able to use the audit to diversify the collection, but also to create Reader's Advisory lists. So my spreadsheet has a lot of categories, but I am planning to tackle the library one genre at a time.
I decided to start with Action & Adventure. Going in I knew this genre was going to skew white and male. Sure enough after about 100 books that is exactly what was happening. However, I also realized how long each book was taking to review. I wanted results a little quicker. So I switched gears. I decided to audit the authors first. Since many authors have books in multiple genres, this would make sense for me to be able to save time in the long run. After I complete the author audit, I can shift back to the genres. This will also help me make weeding decisions as I go through each section (I know the library is only four years old, but shelf space is tight). To help with the author audit, I am using author webpages, CCBC, Teachingbooks.net, Goodreads and articles to help me determine the information. Before I began I knew I would have to make some presumptions about some authors. I made the decision to presume white, where otherwise information is not available. This may end up making my overall number skew more white than it should, but I have found that most white authors don't declare their racial background, whereas many authors of color do. Any mistakes made on this will be purely mine.
Currently I am a little more than a third of the way through the author audit and what I have seen is surprising. So far the collection is skewing very white and female. I have a little over 7500 fiction titles that I am looking at for this audit. I will add another update soon to let you know how it progresses.
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