Beth Reinker, MSLS, Manager, Collection Development Curation
Ingram Library Services is excited about the launch of iCurate inClusive, our new service that helps libraries do a diversity audit effectively and effortlessly. Our team has been sharing information about this unique new service since we announced it early this year. We’re thrilled that the service is now available for libraries to use to build stronger collections that better represent their communities.
We know that libraries value feedback from other users when they consider a new service, so we hosted a webinar for our iCurate inClusive beta-testing libraries to share their experiences with the service. Librarians from Southfield Public Library, Chapel Hill Public Library, and Dauphin County Library System joined us to share their experiences, and we’ve pulled together these key points on their experience using iCurate inClusive.
iCurate inClusive Beta Testers’ Top 7 Takeaways
- Most librarians agree that we want to build diverse collections that represent our communities, but it’s hard to know objectively how effective your collection development plan is in that regard. That is why this data is so valuable to libraries; it gives them actionable information. Carla Archer of Southfield Public Library explained, “If we are falling short, I wanted to make sure that we could remedy those things.”
- Yvonne Carmichael of Dauphin County Library System and Karin Michel of Chapel Hill Public Library both shared that their libraries had begun diversity audits of their collections prior to iCurate inClusive, but it had become clear that it was a time-consuming process that could take years to complete. For their internal diversity audits, both libraries began with a subset of their collection with hopes of expanding the audit over time. Though they hoped to make these long-term projects, they didn’t want to wait that long to complete this vital process. iCurate inClusive became a way for them to gather this important data without the time-intensive process. Yvonne Carmichael explained, “…it changed the whole dynamic of how we could do our audit by reducing into a few weeks what would have probably taken us years to achieve.”
- While many librarians have some idea of how diverse their collections are, iCurate inClusive brings data to assess the diversity of your collection. In many cases, the data confirmed the panelists’ suspicions, but they all found areas that they wanted to improve.
- Tracy Babiasz from Chapel Hill Public Library noted that the reports were valuable because they are easily understood by a variety of audiences. “But seeing how quickly Ingram was able to lay out the results in a way we could easily interpret and show other non-library people like funders, having that ability to break it down by audience, as well as fiction versus nonfiction was very important.” Yvonne Carmichael shared similar thoughts. “I really appreciated the useful reports that can be used in meetings with our senior management, our board, our community, and with other stakeholders. Ingram clearly thought through this process and supplied us with a lot of value-added information that we can use.”
- There were several mentions of how libraries would use the data for funding purposes. Chapel Hill’s Tracy Babiasz shared that they plan to use the data to advocate for funding to build a more diverse collection. “One of our biggest goals is to leverage the data that we now have into funding for additional resources to better meet the needs of everybody in the community. By being able to put objective data behind these requests, we think we will have a better chance of succeeding with focused grant submissions.”
- While these libraries are using the data for long-term budget planning, they also mentioned the value in the shopping lists that come with iCurate inClusive as a tool to help them take immediate action. They all plan to use the lists to identify new materials to improve their collections in targeted areas.
Carla Archer shared one of their report slides and explained how the reporting made it evident where they needed to fill gaps. She said that the Southfield team is reviewing the reports to identify gaps in their collections, and they plan to act before their current budget year ends.
Karin Michel shared that Chapel Hill plans to direct any additional money they have in their current budget toward purchasing more diverse books, and they have found it easy to sort the spreadsheets using the various fields, including Rank, which helps libraries see the relative popularity of titles on their lists.
- The collections are only a starting point to a broader approach to creating a more inclusive library. Though most of the group is still in the early stages of planning how they’ll use this information in the future, it was clear that they all consider it a springboard for more improvements, including increased discoverability in their catalogs.
If these points pique your interest, tune in to the full panel discussion Introducing iCurate inClusive on demand to hear directly from librarians who have received the reports and are using the data with their own collections.
Are you interested in how iCurate inClusive can help your library? Here are two easy ways to learn more:
- Watch our iCurate inClusive 101 on demand to get all the details about iCurate inClusive. This presentation is a deep dive into the service. Ann Lehue, Senior Manager of Collection Development at Ingram Library Services, will provide you with all the details about iCurate inClusive.
- Use our Schedule a Demo tool to reserve a time for our Sales team to present the service to your library. They can answer your questions and tell you more about how iCurate inClusive can help you build a more diverse collection.