|Weekly News Digest
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Diversifying Academic Library Collections
Jos Damen writes the following for the LSE (The London School of Economics and Political Science) Impact Blog:
Leiden University is strong in Asian and African studies and so its library therefore buys books from China, Indonesia, South Africa, Ethiopia and other countries. Yet more than 90 per cent of the library collection still originates from ‘Northern’ sources.
Such a reliance on ‘Northern’ books and publishing houses means that we are missing out on important information and perspectives. Brokers and book suppliers often offer similar collections to many libraries because it’s cheaper. This cost-cutting means that libraries miss new and surprising developments, because other books don’t fit into current profiles or are published by small or new publishers. … To give an example: if you study Indonesian society without reading books from Indonesia or by Indonesian writers, you’ll miss a lot of information.
Damen shares three suggestions for building a more diverse collection:
- “Go South!” (“In the last two decades, staff from the Library of the African Studies Centre in Leiden have undertaken annual book acquisition trips to, amongst other places, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Morocco and Tanzania.”)
- “Reconsider the collection policy” (“Is African Studies a key subject at your university? If so, how many books do you have that are printed in Rwanda or Kenya?”)
- “Open Access” (“Open Access can also help to diversify. And it works both ways. The library has a task to ensure that publications by all researchers are available as open access online.”)
For more information, read the blog post.
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