Building Anti-Bias Bookshelves in Four Steps

March 4, 2015 — 2 Comments

What world do your collections offer children?

That was the question I recently posed to librarians and other educators at the Massachusetts School Library Association Conference.

The workshop was specifically designed to help librarians examine their materials for bias and to give them the tools to build diverse collections.

But really all bookshelves, large or small, few or many, should be an inclusive representation of all the multiple ways of being.

There are four tools you need to build bookshelves that prepare children to be empathetic problem-solvers in a global world.

steps to build antibias

  1. IDENTIFY the audience or demographic.
  2. ANALYZE the collection /bookshelf for windows & mirrors, missing voices, and multiple perspectives.
  3. WEED out the Ds. These are books that are damaged, dated, don’t leave the shelf, and are discriminatory or stereotypical.
  4. GROW. Add books and other materials that provide windows & mirrors, that offer insights into many different experiences that show more than one view of a community. Scour resources that recommend inclusive, diverse, multicultural, and or anti-bias works. (Check back soon for an extensive but not exhaustive list to help you start).

2 responses to Building Anti-Bias Bookshelves in Four Steps


    Such practical tools make it possible for all of us to examine all of our shelves with a more educated eye! Thank you, Sam–

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Three Ways to Analyze Bookshelves For Bias « Sam Kane's Corner - March 8, 2015

    […] What blind spots does your bookshelf reveal? How do you analyze book collections for often unconscious bias? (Read here for an overview of all the steps to building an inclusive bookshelf.) […]

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