How to Analyze Your Classroom Library for Diversity

All students deserve to see their stories reflected in the books they read. When you fill your classroom library with a rich variety of inclusive titles that represent your students and their experiences, along with books depicting situations that they never see or hear about in their everyday lives, you help every reader feel welcome and accepted. You also teach your students to celebrate the differences that make each of us unique. 

Why It’s Important to Evaluate Your Books Regularly

Building an inclusive classroom library takes time, thought and effort. It’s important to regularly evaluate the books you offer and remove outdated titles and books that feature stereotypical representations. It’s also important to incorporate recently published titles and introduce a wider variety of experiences and perspectives whenever possible. In addition, if your student population changes yearly or you move to a new school, re-examining and refreshing your classroom library is an effective way to ensure the books reflect your current student population.

General Things to Look for as You Evaluate

When analyzing your current books and choosing new books to add, it’s important to consider many different types of diversity, including:   

Sexual orientation
Abilities & disabilities 
Socioeconomic status 
Global perspectives 
Incidental diversity 
Inclusive images  

With so much to consider, you might feel overwhelmed. Where should you start? What types of books are you missing? How do you know what titles to add?  

6 Essential Tips for Organizing Your Classroom Library

Booksource helps educators across the country fill their classroom libraries with books that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Also, we have created several free tools and resources to help you. 

Analyzing Your Library with Booksource Classroom

Part of our job is to make your day-to-day easier. That’s why we created Booksource Classroom®, a free online tool that can help you organize, manage and analyze your classroom library. One of its greatest features, LibraryLens®, can be instrumental in auditing your classroom library.  

LibraryLens automatically evaluates the books in your classroom library, identifies gaps and suggests the right titles to fill those gaps. This means you can perform a digital diversity audit on your own classroom library!  

To get started, use these directions to create an account and create your library

Head to the left toolbar and click “LibraryLens” to access our audit feature. You’ll see sections denoting the following: 

Achievements: Things you’re already doing well
Suggestions: Ways to improve your library
Issues: Items that need immediate attention

Here, you can learn valuable information like what percentage of your titles feature general diversity, as well as more categorical statistics like the number of books in your library that feature: 

Diverse authors/illustrators
African American characters
Asian American characters
Latin American characters
Native American characters
Middle Eastern characters
Immigrant experiences
Refugee experiences
International authors
International characters
Jewish history & culture
People who identify as LGBTQ+
Women’s history
Autism spectrum
Physical disabilities
Neurodiversity & neurodivergence

We will even suggest some new titles to help enhance your library! 

If you’re still not convinced, here are some more reasons you should create a Booksource Classroom account. 

Filling in the Gaps

Now that you know the categories of your classroom library that could use some added representation, it’s time to fill in those gaps. Fortunately, we not only have the tools to analyze your classroom library, we also have the books to fill it! Browse diverse and inclusive book collections carefully curated by our Collection Development experts to ensure your students feel represented and excited about reading. 

More Resources

What if you haven’t created your free Booksource Classroom account yet and would like to complete a classroom library audit? You can download and print our Inclusive Classroom Library Checklist for an easy non-digital way to evaluate your classroom library for gaps in representation and identify the types of books you need to add. 

Easy PD Webinar Series 

This three-part webinar series can help you build an inclusive classroom library and positive classroom community where all readers feel seen, heard and understood. View Parts 1, 2 and 3 to gain practical strategies for evaluating, crafting and teaching with a diverse and inclusive classroom library.  

Part 1: What Is a Diverse & Inclusive Classroom Library?
In this short, introductory webinar, we explain diverse and inclusive classroom libraries, why they are essential and what sets them apart from traditional classroom libraries. 

Part 2: How to Craft Your Diverse & Inclusive Classroom Library  
Learn how to analyze your student population and identify gaps in representation in your existing classroom library.  

Part 3: Using Diverse & Inclusive Texts in Your Classroom
Once you evaluate your library, it’s time to fill the gaps! Learn how to select the diverse books you need and then integrate them into read alouds, independent reading, reading workshop and other lessons to build a positive and inclusive community. 

Webinar: Discover New & Exciting Diverse Books for Your Classroom Library  

This webinar features book talks on titles and series like YasminSadiq and Redwood & Ponytail, along with tips for selecting books that reflect a variety of ethnicities, family structures, life experiences and more. (Note: This webinar was recorded in June 2019 and features books and series that were recently published or coming soon at that time.) 

What other tools do you use to analyze your classroom library? How often do you refresh? Tell us in the comments section below!

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