Discussion topic: Serving diverse communities

Diversity Mask by George A. Spiva Center for the Arts. Used with permission under CC BY 2.0

Diversity Mask by George A. Spiva Center for the Arts. Used with permission under CC BY 2.0

Most libraries serve diverse communities of one form or another. To quote IFLA on this:

As libraries serve diverse interests and communities, they function as learning, cultural, and information centres. In addressing cultural and linguistic diversity, library services are driven by their commitment to the principles of fundamental freedoms and equity of access to information and knowledge for all, in the respect of cultural identity and values.

In 2014 the ALA released a white paper from the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)  that talks about the importance of diversity in collection development to ensure library collections reflect the cultural demographic in which children are growing up.

Much of the literature and commentary on the topic of libraries and diverse communities focuses on racial and ethnic diversity, but a 2011 article on diversity and LIS education argued that

diversity should embrace the underrepresented, the disadvantaged, and the underserved if information professionals are to provide truly inclusive services.

In this discussion topic we will attempt to explore different types of diverse communities that are served by libraries and explore some examples in depth with guest posts.

In your ILN partnership, you may like to consider the following points for discussion:

  • In what way is your library community diverse? Perhaps you don’t consider that it is?
  • What kinds of changes do you (or could you) make to your services, design or collection to account for your diverse community?
  • Do you work in conjunction with other services to help accommodate diverse needs? Perhaps you partner with a local community centre, aged care service or campus student disability group.

As always, please join our discussion in the comments below, on our Facebook page or by joining the conversation on twitter using #interlibnet.

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2015B and tagged , , .

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