CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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#LibrariesAreEssential to Inclusivity

#LibrariesAreEssential Scotland's Stories inclusivity logo, with white text on a blue library background

  • Visit our extensive rainbow resource collection for a range of links, articles and much more that all exist to champion and celebrate LGBTQ+ library staff and users alike. Special credit goes to the CILIP LGBTQ+ Network for their pioneering work to harness the power of libraries in promoting and protecting inclusion.
  • ‘One student said to me recently “I love these books as I can see myself in them”, and I feel this authentic feedback helps validate the approach I’ve been taking…’ School librarians play a pivotal role in ensuring that Scotland’s young people can access books, both fiction and non-fiction, that truly represent their identities and experiences. Read more in this brilliant blog by school librarian Stephen Leitch about the strategies he used to create and promote an LGBT book collection in his library.
  • The inspirational team at TIE (Time for Inclusive Education) will be sharing their insights and expertise with Scotland’s library community at the 2022 CILIPS Annual Conference. Click here to find out more and book your place…
  • Our friends at Book28 didn’t just write a thought-provoking blog post about why #LibrariesAreEssential to inclusivity for our campaign but have also created a Public Library Worker Guide to welcoming LGBTIQ+ users, based on a combination of research and their own experiences as queer librarians and library users. Access the guide in several different formats here.
  • This article by Steven Dryden for The British Library traces ‘A Short History of LGBT+ Rights in the UK’, highlighting the resilience of Britain’s LGBTQ+ communities in face of what has often been life-threatening prejudice and why it remains so important to create inclusive, welcoming spaces in our libraries today.
  • The G-Book project is an exceptional collaboration across six European library and literature partners that brings together books for children which challenge restrictive gender stereotypes (such as girls being sweet, submissive, and passive while boys are brave and rebellious, or mothers staying home from adventures while fathers go out to work or explore). Search the full bibliography by title, author or thematic content like ‘body’, ‘family’, ‘feelings and emotions’ and ‘famous personalities’.
  • ‘Knowledge of your audience is key, however the distillation of messy, mutable, overlapping, and intersecting characteristics into something that is comprehensible risks erasing individuals in most need of help.’ As libraries grow increasingly aware of the pressing need to create genuinely diverse and representative services, is there a risk that the ‘exclusionary tendencies of categorisation’ may do more harm than good? Read this fascinating article by Dr Kevin Guyan in The International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion for evidence of how our profession is constantly thinking critically about how best to achieve real inclusion.
  • The CILIP BAME Network has been established to provide a forum for librarians and information professionals from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds to share their experiences, support each other and network. The Network is free to join and open to all BAME library and information professionals, both existing CILIP members and non-members – to find out more, please click here.
  • Over 150+ people registered for CILIPS’s extended online learning session for Black History Month 2021 – Decolonizing Library Collections: Past, Present and Future. If you missed it or would like to watch again, the recording and slides are all available here, with our full collection of anti-racism resources also here.
  • The National Library of Scotland’s Struggles for Liberty learning e-resource opens modern eyes to the fight for freedom and social justice led by African American freedom-fighters in the USA and in Britain and Ireland during the 19th century. Click for informative, well-researched resources, interactive maps and further recommendations.
  • ‘Now in [that] system, they had one number—326—that meant slavery, and they had one other number—325, as I recall it—that meant colonization. In many “white libraries”, every book, whether it was a book of poems by James Weldon Johnson, who everyone knew was a black poet, went under 325. And that was stupid to me.’ Howard University librarian Dorothy Parker challenged the racist biases embedded within the Dewey Decimal System – click here to learn more about her incredible life’s work. And speaking of inspirational women in libraries…
  • The CILIPS #WINspiration series champions the cause of women working across all areas of the libraries and information sector. Discover more about it here, including an amazing ‘What would libraries led by feminists look like?’ webinar led by Glasgow Women’s Library Director Dr Adele Patrick and an International Women’s Day special with Amina Shah, CILIPS President and National Librarian of Scotland.
  • IFLA’s Women, Information and Libraries Special Interest Group aims to advocate for women as crucial actors in sustainable, equitable and thoughtful global development, essential to creating comprehensive and accessible libraries and information services around the world. Find out more about their work here.
  • For even more inspiration, our CILIP Scotland International Women’s Day Twitter thread celebrated our women presidents from 1974 until the present day – we can’t wait to add more inspirational women to the list!
  • To mark their 30th birthday in 2021, Glasgow Women’s Library launched a fundraising initiative that combines feminist conscious raising with building a more sustainable future. Women on the Wall welcomes nominations of women who deserve to be honoured for their pioneering contributions, with their names appearing in an environmentally-sound wall installation and donated costs going towards meeting GWL’s net carbon neutral goal. Learn more about the project here or discover our own sustainability plans at #CILIPSGoGreen.
  • Especially for Women’s History Month 2022, Scottish Book Trust teamed up with our feminist friends at Glasgow Women’s Library to create this list of Scottish books that celebrate and reflect on women’s history. Only one problem remains – which title to pick first!
  • The National Library of Scotland’s Women in Science collection also illuminates the vital yet severely underacknowledged contributions of women to our nation’s scientific progress, transforming their disciplines and in many cases saving lives.
  • ‘Fur maist o history, anonymous wis a wumman…’ Did you know that 25th January marks not only Burns Night but also the birthday of Virginia Woolf? Much as we adore our National Bard, Scotland’s library community has been making sure that the silenced voices of female writers past and present are finally being heard. Check out this Scottish Poetry Library commission of Scots scholar and writer Ashley Douglas, considering the absences and erasure of women’s voices from early published poetry in Scotland, or watch The Trysting Thornswhere SPL invited poets Janette Ayachi, Victoria McNulty, Susi Briggs and Morag Anderson to share their creative responses to the life and work of Burns.
  • The CILIP Disability Network officially launched on 22nd July 2021, providing support and a platform for library, knowledge and information workers with experience of disability. The Network is free to join, open to CILIP members and non-members, and supports the advancement of disabled people in the workforce and the development of diverse library, knowledge and information services. It provides an authoritative voice on disability issues within the LIS community, with opportunities for its members with lived experience of disability to participate at events and within public discussions. For more information and to join, please click here.
  • ‘Just as feminism questions the assumption that femaleness constitutes a natural physical and mental inferiority, disability studies challenges social constructions that deem disability a natural deficiency…’ this thought-provoking blog by Jennifer Robinson for Glasgow Women’s Library reflects on how disability and gender inequalities can intersect and how addressing the prejudices inherent in both could create a wiser, more compassionate world for us all.
  • ‘As a library service we aim to be inclusive for all learners and believe that a love of reading and stories can be fostered in all children…’ Discover how Falkirk’s Learning Resource Service is making use of CustomEyes Books by Guide Dogs to support inclusive learning and storytelling in this brilliant blog by Maggie Burns and Emma Brown.
  • ‘Libraries are often at the heart of the community and have a reputation for being inclusive and welcoming. I realised that participating in this initiative reinforces how essential our services are…’ South Lanarkshire Libraries’ collaboration with I AM ME Scotland means that their libraries are now designated Safe Spaces in the community, offering signposting and support for anyone who needs it. Click here to read the full case study.
  • For an inspirational example of best practice in celebrating neurodiversity, check out the Au-some activities taking place at Inverclyde Libraries. From Makaton-signed Bookbug sessions to dedicated autism-accessible afternoons and much more, their libraries are doing essential work to become truly accessible for all. Many thanks to Alison Nolan for sharing this blog with us – yet more reasons why #LibrariesAreEssential to inclusivity!
  • The Scottish Book Trust’s Inclusive Stories Festival celebrates stories that put inclusion in the spotlight, with many library events designed specifically for young people with additional needs. Click here to see the festival programme or here to watch highlights on the Sensory Storytelling page.
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