Advice for literacy organisations

The example commitments have been written to work across the children's book industry. Below are some suggestions for how you could apply them within a literature organisation.

Example Core Commitments

Work towards all new books being authentically inclusive.

  • When selecting books to include in any project, event, booklist or promotion, consider who is portrayed and how. Are characters from marginalised backgrounds fully rounded and authentic, or does their characterisation rely on stereotypes?
  • Ensure that any selection policies and/or supplier selection specification highlights the importance of inclusivity and diversity in books in your organisation.
  • Aim to use books by authors and illustrators from marginalised backgrounds.
  • Let publishers know that you're activity looking for diverse authors and inclusive books.
  • Ensure that inclusive books are included as part of any project and that these are given equal status.

Actively promote and display books that are inclusive of a diverse range of characters.

  • Promote inclusive books and those by diverse authors with the same status as any other book.
  • Consider ways in which you display, position, promote and use inclusive and diverse titles to ensure they reach the greatest audience.

Attend/organise training, events and discussions around the areas of inclusion and diversity to motivate, educate and inspire.

  • Ensure that book events feature a diverse range of authors and illustrators.
  • Attend book events focused on inclusion and diversity.
  • Explore opportunities for diversity and inclusivity training to motivate, educate and inspire staff to ensure the organisation represents a truly inclusive and accessible environment and promotes itself and its services as such.
  • Avoid falling into the trap of only involving ‘diverse’ authors and inclusive books in ‘diversity’ themed events and projects – instead include them in all activity.

Seek advice to ensure that diverse characters are authentic.

  • If you're unsure about the authenticity of representation in a book that you are reviewing or considering using in a project, seek advice about its contents.

Carry out regular audits of books to assess inclusion and diversity

  • Regularly review books selected for projects in relation to inclusivity/diversity and feedback to publishers about missing/underrepresented areas.
  • Of the books that are inclusive, how authentic are the portrayals? 
  • How could the proportion of inclusive books be increased? Make an action point of how this will be achieved.

Ensure that books and book events are accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

  • Keep accessibility in mind when selecting books. Consider the paper, the typeface, layout, contrast and any background behind the text.
  • Look for ways to ensure books are available in a wide range of formats, accessible to all audiences. This might include audio, large print and Braille.
  • Ensure that book events are accessible to all audiences. Is there wheelchair access? A hearing loop? Could any events be signed? Are accessible toilets and lifts in good working order? Will you make a transcript of discussions available?
  • Promote book events to diverse audiences and marginalised groups and ensure the venue is welcoming to them.
  • Ensure that your inclusive approach is reflected in the imagery/artwork that you use in publications and online material.

Example Supplementary Commitments

For each book ask ‘Who is represented in this book, and how? Are the characters reflective of the world we live in? Is the representation authentic?’

  • Make questioning an automatic part of book selection process.
  • Include information about authentic inclusion in your selection policies.
  • Let publishers know that you're activity looking for diverse authors and inclusive books.

Discuss inclusion and diversity with colleagues and challenge those who downplay its importance.

  • Make topics around inclusion part of your everyday conversations. Have discussions around stereotyping and accessibility. Consider why you personally believe that inclusion is important and use this as a starting point for conversations about its general importance.

Actively develop knowledge of different facets of diversity.

  • Research and read about different facets of diversity.
  • Follow relevant blogs and twitter feeds.
  • Watch programmes about diversity.
  • Attend events on diversity, not necessarily those aimed at the publishing/bookselling industry.

Seek out and support those who create and curate high-quality inclusive books.

  • Seek out authors and illustrators from diverse backgrounds.
  • Seek out authors who write well-researched inclusive books.
  • Seek out and support publishers who publish high-quality inclusive books and suppliers who stock authentically inclusive books.

Sign up to relevant newsletters to keep in touch with developments.

  • Sign up to the Inclusive Minds newsletter.
  • Sign up to the CBC Diversity Initiative newsletter.