Develop inclusionary practices

How to further the work of social inclusion

This section of the Social Inclusion Audit Toolkit is designed to provide supporting information and tools to help libraries develop or refine their inclusionary practices. This section is divided into 12 chapters based on the 12 outcome statements in the Audit Tool.

As a first course of action, social inclusion work requires that libraries be open to understanding their community and engaging with them. They should also challenge the various barriers, values, and behaviours that lead to exclusion. This work is reflected in the questions in the audit that focus on “Indicators of Openness.”

  • Question One
    The library, in consultation with the community, assessed the demographic profile of the community – it understands the needs of the community’s different cultural groups, it understands the gaps in programs and services and it understands collections relevant to these groups.
  • Question Two
    The library has assessed full-time, part-time, and volunteer diversity and has developed, implemented, and evaluated strategies to increase diversity.

The second level of work required to remove barriers to inclusion includes continued engagement with the community, as well as the development, implementation, and evaluation of systems, programs, policies, and procedures. It also requires the provision of equitable access to services and decision-making opportunities. This work is reflected in the questions in the audit and toolkit that focus on the “Indicator of Intentionality.”

The concept of “intentionality” is critical to removing barriers to inclusion, CULC/CBUC’s social inclusion audit places emphasis on intentionality. A library’s ability to keep the topic of inclusion “on the table” by consistently integrating it into the strategic and operational framework of the organization is extremely important. It is also necessary to keep this work constantly on the minds of the board of trustees, staff members, and volunteers. Both will strengthen the library’s ability to effectively remove barriers to inclusion.

  • Question Three
    Removing barriers to inclusion is made explicit in the library’s strategic plan, goals, policies, planning documents, and are articulated in the mission/vision statement.
  • Question Four
    The library has an active joint team of managers and non-managers dedicated to assessing and addressing barriers to inclusion. It has also incorporated removing barriers to inclusion into policy and service planning structures within the organization.
  • Question Five
    An internal team has developed and now works with a group representative from its target community for guidance in its efforts to remove barriers to inclusion.
  • Question Six
    A plan of action has been developed which includes: analysis of community needs and gaps in service; annual social inclusion audit results; targeted strategies for governance, human resources, and training/learning, plus programs/services, collections development, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Question Seven
    The library has regular training and learning initiatives and discussions with the staff team(s) and external stakeholders on methods to remove barriers to inclusion and to increase the degree of cultural competency and inclusionary practices internally.
  • Question Eight
    With community input and participation the library has developed and implemented various targeted community outreach and communications plans to introduce and promote the library and its services to the community/groups.
  • Question Nine
    The library has established financial resources within this year’s fiscal budget to implement the action plan – in particular, the library has set budget for training/learning, communications/outreach, programs/services, and collections development.

The research that supports the development of the CULC/CBUC Social Inclusion Audit Tool asserts that if the library is effective at addressing the areas of focus in the indicators of openness and intentionality, then it will be better able to demonstrate inclusion through tangible, measurable outcomes.

  • Question Ten
    The implementation of strategies to remove barriers to opportunity and inclusion have resulted in increased diversity in full-time, part-time, and volunteer positions (including the board of trustees).
  • Question Eleven
    The library has developed and implemented a plan of action to remove barriers to inclusion that has resulted in an increase in: library cards issued, library use, program attendance, numbers of programs offered, additional or expanded collections, and room bookings.
  • Question Twelve
    The library has developed and implemented a plan of action to remove barriers to inclusion that has resulted in an increase in: collaborative partnerships with community groups to develop programs/services, collaborative partnerships with community groups to deliver programs/services, and a more robust consultation process with community members and groups who do not use, or seldom use, the library.