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Project outline

Strathclyde’s Alumni Fund has generously provided the Library with £5,000 for a project to purchase books on topics that reflect under-represented demographics and the challenges faced by under-represented groups.

We have allocated £2,500 for suggestions from students and £2,500 for suggestions from University staff (including Library staff).

Why we are doing this?

The Library’s collections have evolved over 200 years and, as such, will reflect the Western intellectual tradition. We have made a policy commitment to work in partnership with our academic communities to ensure that our collections reflect the diverse nature of 21st century scholarship and publishing. In this context we have adopted a working definition of diversification that refers to “recognizing, making visible and working to address the legacies that colonialism, empire, racism and patriarchy continue to have, and envisioning a world beyond these repressive structures.”

By asking our students and staff to identify titles that they think represent them, and by selecting some appropriate titles ourselves, we aim to develop our collection to include subjects, voices and perspectives under-represented in the Western intellectual tradition, such as particular political philosophies, knowledge systems, cultures, peoples and languages. By broadening the range of content available to our students in this way we hope to increase their understanding of ethical and socially responsible matters, creating more rounded graduates. In the longer term the sustainability of this initial project will be illustrated as we learn from the needs of current students. The knowledge gained from this project would help provide a basis for the Library to investigate further ways of addressing need ourselves through first-hand data reflecting student requirements.

Suggestion Criteria

We’d like you to suggest any books that you think would help diversify our Library collection in a way that supports people from under-represented groups. Our aim is to use the Alumni Fund money to only buy books that are supportive/affirmative in nature.

We’re using the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 as our guide for areas where we could increase the number of books on our shelves. These are: age, gender reassignment, being married or in a civil partnership, being pregnant or on maternity leave, disability, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

Don’t worry if your suggestions don’t quite fit any of the characteristics listed here. Make your suggestions anyway.

There is no limit to the number of suggestions that you can make but, depending on how many suggestions we receive, we may only buy some items per person to ensure that fund expenditure is fairly distributed.

Please note that we will write a report about this project for the Alumni Fund which may list all suggestions made. This list would be anonymised (i.e. your name won’t be in it). We may also share the content of this report in a variety of online and face-to-face promotional and educational contexts. Again, this would all be anonymised


Is there anything we won't buy?

We are keen to receive as many suggestions as possible, but we must make sure that we spend the Alumni Fund money in a way that supports the aims of the project, in particular to have supportive texts in our collections for members of under-represented communities. Here are some reasons why we might not buy a book that you suggest:

  • The book is not supportive or affirmative: we want to support under-represented communities in a positive way;
  • It is in the Library collection already: check on SUPrimo to see if the book you’d like is already in stock;
  • It is a textbook on a reading list: there are other Library funds for buying textbooks, and it is likely to be in stock already;
  • It is expensive: we’d like to buy as many books as possible, so any book costing more than £200 may not be purchased;
  • It really doesn’t fit the suggestion criteria: we would not use this fund to buy, for example, a general interest book on cats or football, an English dictionary, or a biography of Coldplay;
  • You have suggested a lot of books: we may only buy some items per person to ensure that fund expenditure is fair;
  • You wrote the book that you are suggesting: that could be a conflict of interest.
  • We cannot source the book from our usual suppliers: we are unlikely to add a new supplier to our book ordering system who will only be used once.

We accept that some of these criteria are subjective, but our interpretation will be final. Different Library funds may be available for books that we won’t buy from the Alumni Fund, and we will advise you if this is the case.

We do encourage you to make as many suggestions as you like though. If you don’t suggest it, we definitely won’t buy it!

How to make a suggestion.

Due to the success of the suggestions process we have paused it for the time being. Thank you for all the suggestions that you have made.

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