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Library Subject Guides

Reading Lists: a Practical Guide


Decolonising and diversifying reading list toolkit


The aim of this reading list toolkit is to provide guidance and ideas to help course leaders diversify and decolonise the teaching curriculum and ensure that reading lists represent our diverse student body. 

In addition, its purpose is to demonstrate the range of resources available to students so that they can suggest items to be added to their lists. 

Finally, the toolkit hopes to support the Library’s Collections Development and Management Policy, which states that: 

"We are committed to developing inclusive collections that reflect the richness of thought, ideas and experience from across our diverse and global community of users."

If you have any suggestions of appropriate resources or information to be added to these pages please get in touch using or via your Academic Liaison Librarian.

Practical steps towards diversifying your reading lists

1. How diverse are my reading lists?

Our reading list checklist was inspired by the work of other university libraries including University of the Arts London, University College London and University of Huddersfield.

2. See what others have done 

The University of Huddersfield Library have done some brilliant work on diversifying their reading lists. Their Reading List Toolkit page has loads of information that can help to guide you to places of interest. 

Leeds Beckett University have some interesting pages on inclusive resources, including information about using Scopus as a tool for finding diverse literature. 

The University of Kent maintain a curated padlet of decolonised reading lists from various institutions covering a wide range of subjects.

The University of East Anglia have used Zotero to make a publicly accessible bibliography about decolonising the curriculum.

3. Find inspiration 

Take a look at some of these resources, which will hopefully inspire you to find material to diversify your reading list.

  • Our list of diverse publishers will help you look beyond the standard academic publishers to find academic materials by BAME authors. 
  • We have put together a number of reading lists relating to various equality, diversity and inclusivity themes on our Your Library, Your Voice page. You can add any of the titles to your Collection in the Reading Lists system so that you can use them in your own lists. To do this:
  1. open the list you're looking at in a new window
  2. log in to the Reading Lists system in the top right corner
  3. click on the three dots next to any item
  4. choose 'Copy to my collection'. 
  • Use OpenSyllabus to explore which texts are on similar courses from around the world.
  • Take a look at the Journals Online project, which aims to increase visibility, accessibility and quality of peer-reviewed journals published in developing countries. 
  • The Global Social Theory have some excellent examples of 'decolonised' reading lists, from a variety of universities, covering programmes such as Geography, Anthropology, Sociology, History and Architecture.

4. Make a recommendation

If you want something added to our stock you can simply use our purchase suggestion form and we will do our best to add it to Library.

Here's a virtual bookshelf for some of our diversity-related collections. You can also find them on YorSearch. We will update our bookshelves with new titles as they are added.