Stockton campus library DEI audit shows challenges, opportunities

Preliminary results of a diversity, equity and inclusion audit of the collection at the William Knox Holt Library and Learning Center on University of the Pacific's Stockton Campus were announced in a Research Tuesday presentation on April 20.

University Libraries staff and student interns are conducting the audit of the Stockton library, music scores and art collections with a goal to analyze DEI content for a representative sample of titles. The audit was a response to an Aug. 2020 social-justice call from President Christopher Callahan and initial goals from the library. President Callahan wrote:

“University Libraries will conduct a diversity audit of its entire collection to determine gaps in representations of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability and other traditionally marginalized perspectives. The goal is to diversify the collection to ensure that students, faculty and staff can access materials that reflect the diversity of experiences and perspectives of our communities.”

In addition to the audit, the library purchased more than 100 DEI-related titles with a $10,000 grant from the University Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Veronica Wells, professor and head of library research and learning services, said during the Research Tuesday session the audit will help the university “critically look at our collection and whose voices are represented and whose voices are oppressed or ignored entirely.”

Added Michele Gibney, head of publishing and scholar support, “In order to rectify the diversity gaps in our collection, we had to first understand what they are … Having the data to back up our collection decisions moving forward will be invaluable.”

There are approximately 257,000 titles at the Stockton Campus Library.

Gibney said the audit is a “representative sample” of the library’s collection with a total of 4,344 titles. Minus the music scores, the total print book collection being audited is 3,505 titles. As of April 20, a total of 2,379 print book titles had been audited – 68% of the goal. Library staff expects to have the primary audit concluded by May 5 and the music scores will be finished by the end of May. 

Topics and methodology

On six selected topics, the audit looked at either 1,000 total or 10% of title subjects (whichever was less), using a basic research guideline, Wells said. The findings were:

Humanities – 68,604 = 1,000
Social Sciences – 22,598 = 1,000
STEM – 11,789 = 1,000
Music scores – 8,390 = 839
Medicine – 3,435 = 344
Education – 1,607 = 161.

First author or editor listed (gender and ethnicity)

Primary authors and editors were overwhelmingly male and white. Among the 1,613 males, there were 1,455 white and 158 BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color). There were 283 total females with 234 white and 49 BIPOC.

One author/editor identified as transgender and the committee could not find gender and ethnicity information on 364 others.

Among first authors/editors, 1.6% identified as LGBTQIA+ and 1.7% stated a disability.

Publisher House President/CEO

The audit looked at the leadership of publishing houses for titles in the Stockton Library 

Among 1,292 males, 1,185 were white and 107 BIPOC. Of the 521 females, 415 were white and 106 BIPOC. Photos could not be found for 232 president/CEOs.

Females (20%) were much more likely to be BIPOC than males (8%).

Does the title identify as anti-racist?

Only 2% of books were clearly identified as anti-racist while 98% did not. That could shift moving forward as there is more awareness about pledging to be anti-racist.

Book covers

The audit found 78% of titles had images of people on the cover. Of those, 30% were non-male and 36% were non-white.

A student panel discussion followed the release of the results. Student interns were given large responsibilities and their feedback was valued during the audit process, Library staff said.

“In previous internships and jobs I have always looked for elements of diversity, equity and inclusion to be a part of the work,” said student intern Angelique Doty ’21. “I got to work with (university curator) Lisa Cooperman on the art collection. The work has been very eye-opening for me.”

The audit of the art collection is approximately 30% complete.

Mickel Paris, health sciences librarian and assistant professor of practice, said the audit benefited from the work and perspective of students.

“This was student-powered and will effect great change in the library moving forward,” Paris said.

University Library leadership and students expressed gratitude to the UCDEI for its grant of $10,000 to jumpstart library collection diversification. Collection development money specifically to buy DEI titles every year will be designated by library leadership to continue expanding the collection into the future.

Among the 100+ titles purchased with the UCDEI grant were:

  • “Intersectionality in Social Work” edited by Rachel Robbins and Suryia Nayak
  • “Distributed Blackness” by Andre Brock Jr.
  • “Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education” edited by Eve Tuck and K Wayne Vang 
  • “Graphic Girlhoods” by Elizabeth Marshall
  • “African Peacekeeping Training Centres” by Anne Flaspoler 
  • “Queering Family Trees” by Sandra Lee Patten
  • “Opening the Gates For Asia” by Jane H. Hong