Counting Diversity in Preservation

As caretakers of cultural heritage, there is intrinsic value in a diversity of experience and perspectives to better address the needs of our material culture. While there have been a great number of diversity efforts across many areas of library science and administration, there has been little focus on diversity within preservation.

Anecdotally, the field of preservation and conservation shows a significant lack of diversity.  Recently, there has been an upsurge in interest in addressing this situation. However, without any hard statistics it is difficult to show where we are currently, to better project where the field should attempt to improve and how.

In order to collect relevant data on this important issue, we surveyed the field of library and archive preservation in order to attain a current picture  of our field’s demographics.

The goal of our research is to open discussion in the profession by presenting our findings. It is hoped that this will precipitate difficult but needed conversations about the current make up of our field, as well as illuminate possible paths forward to increase diversity at all levels.

We would like to thank University of Illinois Library Research and Publications Committee for their support.