Updated: October 2023
Purpose of Statement:
To define what a diverse, equitable, and inclusive research library collection should look like
To outline collection development strategies that increase the presence of historically underrepresented voices and scholarship
- To acknowledge that traditional models of library collecting and cataloging have historically and systematically excluded and marginalized Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and the neurologically diverse communities’ voices and experiences
- To suggest practical steps for library selectors, subject librarians, and cataloging staff to enhance discoverability and increase visibility of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and the neurologically diverse communities’ voices already in the collection
- To create a blueprint for deliberately and systematically reprioritizing the work of the Library to advance the values outlined in this document
Values Statement Language:
- FSU Libraries acknowledges the long and systematic history of collection development strategies and cataloging practices within academic research institutions which exclude and diminish discoverability of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+, disabled, and the neurologically diverse communities’ voices and scholars. This acknowledgement requires proactive intervention from all levels of Library leadership and demands that we critically examine and reconfigure our processes for materials acquisition and description.
- This Values Statement will outline the principles that we, the Florida State University Libraries, embrace and promote as part of this work and will strive to extend these values into the creation of actionable collection development plans, cataloging workflows, and other resources to better serve our patrons.
- Traditional models of collection development and deaccessioning that deploy a “market approach” (i.e. relying on metrics such as circulation statistics to determine priorities) are insufficient and in many ways suppress efforts related to sustaining a diverse, inclusive, and equitable collection. While library budgets and collecting practices are often driven by issues related to efficiency and cost-effectiveness, a values-driven organization such as a university library cannot rely on market-based, transactional approaches alone.
- Basing collection development decisions on scholarly “Western canons” is highly problematic and couched within larger issues of patriarchy and White supremacy. Our own collection development practices need to acknowledge this and work against these prescribed paradigms.
- Cataloging practices, while serving a fundamental role of information organization in libraries, are equally steeped in issues of patriarchy, White supremacy, and, in many ways, operate at the crux of colonial and racist practices. The description of our collections should acknowledge this and work against these prescribed paradigms. The Library acknowledges that various access strategies related to organization and description of materials fall within the scope of “collection development” and should be treated holistically and in tandem with efforts to rebuild acquisitions processes.
- The Library should proactively seek to acquire materials from underrepresented community-led publishers and not rely solely on mainstream providers of content to build its collections, including but not limited to monographs, fiction, serials, audiovisual media, and non-academic prose in book formats.
- The Library should proactively seek to engage Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+, disabled, and neurologically diverse faculty and students in the selection and deselection of materials whenever possible, while also respecting their time. By considering underrepresented communities of faculty, staff, and students as major stakeholders in the collection development process, the Library can collaborate to expand collections that support more diverse and inclusive voices and scholars.
- The Library should ensure that our acquisitions and programs reflect the increasing diversity of the curriculum at FSU. By understanding decolonization as the identification, interrogation, and dismantling of power structures that carry legacies of racism, imperialism, and colonialism in the production of knowledge, future collection development resources can support diminishing bias for all content areas and programs for faculty and instructor use at FSU.
- The Library should ensure that we are not producing harm in our community. The continued framing of the library as a neutral space is too ambiguous; instead we hope to take the approach of de-centering whiteness and reducing harm to underrepresented communities. The Library understands that this is ongoing work but we are committed to ensuring harmful practices are interrupted. The library is committed to anti-racism policy in our collection development.