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Changing the narrative: championing inclusive collection development: Home

A guide produced as part of the "Changing the narrative: championing diversity in collection development" project, running January 2020 to December 2021, led by Helen Worrell.

Purpose of LibGuide

This guide gives an overview of the project 'Changing the narrative: championing inclusive collection development'.  This guide is intended for students and researchers at the University of Oxford seeking support in LGBT+ Studies, Women's Studies, BME Studies, Disability Studies and curriculum redesign.

Use this guide to find out about printed and online resources in these areas.

Recommend a resource

Email to recommend a resource or book as part of the Changing the narrative project.

New Resources Purchased

Thanks to your feedback we have purchased the following resources after successful trials earlier this year:

Black Studies Center

LGBT Magazine Archive

Women and Social Movements, International

Project timeline

The work for this project is ongoing, however annual celebration months will be used to focus on collection development in specific areas.  The timeline is:

February: LGBT+ studies for LGBT+ History Month 
March: Women and Gender Studies for Women's History Month 
October: BME Studies for Black History Month 
Nov-Dec: Disability Studies for Disability History Month 

Information about the project

Across the University many Departments are now undergoing changes to rectify historic gaps in teaching and enhance inclusivity.  In addition to top down curricula changes, students and researchers are setting up networks to examine these issues within Oxford University and campaign for change, see for example ‘Common Ground Oxford’ or TORCH’s ‘Queer Studies Network’.   Other GLAM institutions are also addressing the historic bias of their collections, for example the Pitt Rivers’ Public Engagement with Research strategy includes a focus on decolonisation of the museum and its collections, and the Ashmolean has promoted diversity through object-based learning. 

Inspired by this, the Bodleian Libraries wish to take a more proactive approach to collection development that enables us to think critically about the collections we currently hold so that we are aware of the gaps and the narrative these collections tell.  This will ensure the collections we build are used and useful, and continue their transformational impact. 

This project will champion diversifying our collection development across the Subject Librarians’ network , and with the aim of enhancing collections in areas such as LGBT+ Studies, Disability Studies, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) Studies and the intersections between these identities.  

The project will seek input from those already working in these areas across the University to help identify gaps and concerns regarding our collections. 

If you have any questions, comments or want further information please email the project lead, Helen Worrell at Helen.Worrell [at] 

Project outcomes

Project successes so far:

Promoted and trialled are range of resources in LGBT History month and Women's History month.  Advocated for purchase of the following resources to enhance our online collections:
LGBT Magazine archive
Women and Social Movements, International
Black Studies Center

In liaison with the Bodleian Libraries, College Libraries and JCR Welfare reps created and shared a resource list of anti-racist educational resources in response to Black Lives Matter which has had over 1500 views since it's launch in June 2020.

Created a resource list of LGBT+ resources for promotion during LGBT+ History month.

Advocated for embedding equality within subject collection policies across the Bodleian Libraries to address under-collected areas within the collections.  Added the following statement to the overarching collection policy: The Bodleian Libraries commit to developing collections that reflect a diverse academic community and breadth of scholarship including previously under-represented areas.

Advocated for the creation of a one-off fund to purchase EDI texts that do not fall within clear subject boundaries currently used.

Liaised with Divisional EDI representatives to seek input in to the project and suggestions for resources to support their work.