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An inclusive library collection reflects the diversity of your school in ways that support teaching and learning.

    What makes a collection inclusive

    Your school library can send powerful messages about how we value students as individuals, especially if your collection acknowledges and respects the diversity of your school community.

    Select resources with consideration for your readers' culture, language, gender identity, sexual orientation and special education needs. Providing access to a wide variety of resources with authentic perspectives helps students understand themselves and their world.

    There are books with Hmong? This question broke my heart a little. The boy was shocked when I had casually mentioned a book with a Hmong character. He had made it to third grade without realizing that there were books related to his home culture and that they were available in his school library.
    — Becoming more diverse — a library journey by Crystal Brunelle from Nerdybookclub

    To test how diverse your collection is, you could try replacing Hmong with the name of a culture from your school community.

  • What's in an inclusive collection

    Your school library can include the interests of all students by providing resources:

    • that accurately reflect their culture
    • written in English by authors from another culture
    • in a student's home language
    • in more than one language, for example, bilingual materials, or copies of both the original and translated editions of texts.

    Provide stories and information in a range of formats, appropriate for different ages and abilities. This could include:

    • books and eBooks — fiction and non-fiction, including picture books, sophisticated picture books, easy reads, chapter books and large print books
    • audiobooks and eAudiobooks
    • databases, for example, EPIC databases such as Britannica School
    • websites
    • games
    • CDs, and DVDs with captions
    • illustrations, images and other objects (realia).

    Consider inviting members of your community into the library to share stories from their own lives or culture.

  • What's in an inclusive collection

    Your school library can include the interests of all students by providing resources:

    • that accurately reflect their culture
    • written in English by authors from another culture
    • in a student's home language
    • in more than one language, for example, bilingual materials, or copies of both the original and translated editions of texts.

    Provide stories and information in a range of formats, appropriate for different ages and abilities. This could include:

    • books and eBooks — fiction and non-fiction, including picture books, sophisticated picture books, easy reads, chapter books and large print books
    • audiobooks and eAudiobooks
    • databases, for example, EPIC databases such as Britannica School
    • websites
    • games
    • CDs, and DVDs with captions
    • illustrations, images and other objects (realia).

    Consider inviting members of your community into the library to share stories from their own lives or culture.

  • Displaying your collection

    Think about the particular needs of your readers when you decide how to display or promote resources. For example, consider:

    • where and how language and cultural collection resources are shelved or displayed in your library — make them easy to find
    • how you can give English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) students extra support to find what they’re looking for — think about the language you use in signage and promotional materials
    • how you can help LGBT+ students discover the resources they need while at the same time respecting their need for discretion and privacy
    • how you can minimise the effects of the ‘digital divide’ to ensure everyone has equal access to the library's digital resources
    • where and how resources for students with disabilities are displayed and shelved, and how you let their teachers know about them.

    Displaying cultural and language collections

    Displays of home-language and cultural collections ensure visibility and easy access. They also give the sense of a welcoming and inclusive library environment.

    • Ensure the labels you use are appropriate. Help your library users understand labels through your displays, such as a poster describing the labels, or explaining them during a book talk.
    • Create visibility for these collections. For example, home language materials can be highlighted by displaying them face out or in labelled boxes.
    • Consider permanent displays celebrating local cultures.

    If you have a separate shelving area for a particular cultural or language collection, you'll need to consider:

    • where you'll position the collection — choosing a prominent location helps to emphasise the importance of these resources
    • what signage or other indicators will help users find these resources
    • how you label resources so they're shelved in the correct location
    • whether or not you'll shelve all of the collection together, including fiction and non-fiction. For example, you could decide to shelve all fiction written by Māori authors in the Māori collection even if the content is not Māori or New Zealand content.
  • Displaying your collection

    Think about the particular needs of your readers when you decide how to display or promote resources. For example, consider:

    • where and how language and cultural collection resources are shelved or displayed in your library — make them easy to find
    • how you can give English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) students extra support to find what they’re looking for — think about the language you use in signage and promotional materials
    • how you can help LGBT+ students discover the resources they need while at the same time respecting their need for discretion and privacy
    • how you can minimise the effects of the ‘digital divide’ to ensure everyone has equal access to the library's digital resources
    • where and how resources for students with disabilities are displayed and shelved, and how you let their teachers know about them.

    Displaying cultural and language collections

    Displays of home-language and cultural collections ensure visibility and easy access. They also give the sense of a welcoming and inclusive library environment.

    • Ensure the labels you use are appropriate. Help your library users understand labels through your displays, such as a poster describing the labels, or explaining them during a book talk.
    • Create visibility for these collections. For example, home language materials can be highlighted by displaying them face out or in labelled boxes.
    • Consider permanent displays celebrating local cultures.

    If you have a separate shelving area for a particular cultural or language collection, you'll need to consider:

    • where you'll position the collection — choosing a prominent location helps to emphasise the importance of these resources
    • what signage or other indicators will help users find these resources
    • how you label resources so they're shelved in the correct location
    • whether or not you'll shelve all of the collection together, including fiction and non-fiction. For example, you could decide to shelve all fiction written by Māori authors in the Māori collection even if the content is not Māori or New Zealand content.
  • Finding resources that reflect your community

    Check your collection management plan and use the information you've gathered about your school community to help you develop an inclusive collection.

    Working out your library's collection requirements

  • Māori resources

    When choosing resources for your library’s Māori collection, look for publications in te reo Māori, as well as in the English language about Māori.

    Try to source materials for each section of your collection, including non-fiction and reference, fiction, picture books and graphic novels, magazines, newspapers and games.

    Include topics or narratives such as:

    • biographies of Māori people
    • tribal history and pre-European New Zealand history
    • history written from a Māori perspective
    • the Treaty of Waitangi and the Waitangi Tribunal
    • stories by Māori authors or featuring Māori characters or stories told from a Māori perspective
    • articles and stories featuring Māori contemporary life, experiences, and success.

    Suppliers of Māori resources

    Our list:

    • includes the main publishers for the NZ Ministry of Education's te reo Māori publications
    • provides libraries with avenues for sourcing books, magazines and other resources in English and te reo Māori.

    Suppliers of Māori resources (pdf, 336KB)

    The National Library staff sometimes review books with Māori content and books in te reo Māori.

    Blog: create readers

  • Māori resources

    When choosing resources for your library’s Māori collection, look for publications in te reo Māori, as well as in the English language about Māori.

    Try to source materials for each section of your collection, including non-fiction and reference, fiction, picture books and graphic novels, magazines, newspapers and games.

    Include topics or narratives such as:

    • biographies of Māori people
    • tribal history and pre-European New Zealand history
    • history written from a Māori perspective
    • the Treaty of Waitangi and the Waitangi Tribunal
    • stories by Māori authors or featuring Māori characters or stories told from a Māori perspective
    • articles and stories featuring Māori contemporary life, experiences, and success.

    Suppliers of Māori resources

    Our list:

    • includes the main publishers for the NZ Ministry of Education's te reo Māori publications
    • provides libraries with avenues for sourcing books, magazines and other resources in English and te reo Māori.

    Suppliers of Māori resources (pdf, 336KB)

    The National Library staff sometimes review books with Māori content and books in te reo Māori.

    Blog: create readers

  • Pasifika resources

    When choosing resources, think about how you bring:

    • Pacific worlds and works into the classroom for Pasifika and non-Pasifika students
    • mainstream worlds and works to Pasifika learners in a relevant and meaningful way.

    You could include a range of:

    • home language materials
    • bilingual materials
    • information about Pacific Islands and cultures — check that the content represents the perspectives of Pacific peoples accurately
    • materials that reflect Pasifika experience in New Zealand
    • texts with Pasifika settings, themes or characters, such as picture books.

    The New Zealand Pacific Picture Book Collection

  • Pasifika resources

    When choosing resources, think about how you bring:

    • Pacific worlds and works into the classroom for Pasifika and non-Pasifika students
    • mainstream worlds and works to Pasifika learners in a relevant and meaningful way.

    You could include a range of:

    • home language materials
    • bilingual materials
    • information about Pacific Islands and cultures — check that the content represents the perspectives of Pacific peoples accurately
    • materials that reflect Pasifika experience in New Zealand
    • texts with Pasifika settings, themes or characters, such as picture books.

    The New Zealand Pacific Picture Book Collection

  • Resources for students with print disabilities

    The National Library has audiobooks available for people with print disabilities. The collection includes fiction and non-fiction titles. Schools need to register to access the Print Disabilities Service.

    National Library Print Disabilities Service — fact sheet for schools (pdf, 104kb)

    Students supported by the Blind and Low Vision Education Network of New Zealand (BLENNZ) can access the Blind Foundation’s library collection.

    Blind Foundation library — youth

  • Resources for students with print disabilities

    The National Library has audiobooks available for people with print disabilities. The collection includes fiction and non-fiction titles. Schools need to register to access the Print Disabilities Service.

    National Library Print Disabilities Service — fact sheet for schools (pdf, 104kb)

    Students supported by the Blind and Low Vision Education Network of New Zealand (BLENNZ) can access the Blind Foundation’s library collection.

    Blind Foundation library — youth

  • ESOL resources

    Resources for students that have English as a second language could include:

    • stories from your students' countries of origin
    • information about their countries and cultures.

    Look for resources suitable for a range of reading levels, including those of your ESOL students themselves.

    Useful texts for English language learners

  • ESOL resources

    Resources for students that have English as a second language could include:

    • stories from your students' countries of origin
    • information about their countries and cultures.

    Look for resources suitable for a range of reading levels, including those of your ESOL students themselves.

    Useful texts for English language learners

  • Resources for other special interest groups

    For students who don’t identify with mainstream cultural groups, for example, LGBT+ students, it’s important that the library and its collections help them find resources and stories that inform without judging and validate their experiences in a safe environment.

    Where to find diverse books — We need diverse books

    School Library Journal — diversity issue (2014)

  • Resources for other special interest groups

    For students who don’t identify with mainstream cultural groups, for example, LGBT+ students, it’s important that the library and its collections help them find resources and stories that inform without judging and validate their experiences in a safe environment.

    Where to find diverse books — We need diverse books

    School Library Journal — diversity issue (2014)