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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Diversity in Publishing: Baseline Survey Results

I was going to publish a review today, but with the release of the long awaited Lee and Low report on the state of diversity in publishing today, I am switching it up.
Below is the introduction to the report with a link to the results. One of my contract employers, Booklist was a willing participant in this survey. 
Please take a moment to read the results. Who decides what gets published and then who decides what gets reviewed matters. 
I am not going to tell you what to think about these results. I feel strongly about diversity and opening readers, especially my children, to as many voices as possible, but that is hard if the publishing world is not diverse.
But if nothing else, look at this survey to know where your informations is coming from. Be an informed consumer AND book advocate. We all work in a library. We know the importance of understanding where your information comes from before you trust it and use it.
Well, for those of us who work with leisure readers, this is how we understand our sources.
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By now it’s no secret that publishing suffers from a major lack of diversity problem. Thanks to years of research by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, we have ample data to confirm what many readers have always suspected: the number of diverse books published each year over the past twenty years has been stuck in neutral, never exceeding, on average, 10 percent.
Countless panels, articles, and even conferences have been dedicated to exploring the causes and effects of this lack of diversity. Yet one key piece of the puzzle remained a question mark: diversity among publishing staff. While the lack of diversity among publishing staff was often spoken about, there was very little hard data about who exactly works in publishing.
At the beginning of 2015 we decided to conduct a survey to establish a baseline that would measure the amount of diversity among publishing staff. We believed in the power of hard numbers to illuminate a problem that can otherwise be dismissed or swept under the rug. We felt that having hard numbers released publicly would help publishers take ownership of the problem and increase accountability. We also felt that a baseline was needed to measure whether or not initiatives to increase diversity among publishing staff were actually working.
Our Diversity Baseline Survey took a year to complete. The results include responses from 8 review journals and 34 publishers of all sizes from across North America. Here are the results.

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