Last month, the Executive Committee of the Librarians Association of the University of California, Berkeley (LAUC-B) unanimously endorsed a resolution written by its Committee on Diversity stressing the importance of the continued acquisition of print materials during the pandemic and beyond. The statement reflected on temporary changes to the UC Berkeley Library’s collection development policies and the lasting impact they might have. LAUC-B chair Ramona Collins wrote in an email, “[. . .] the focus on acquiring more digital and fewer print resources can lead to further suppression of already underrepresented voices, topics and geographical areas.”
Faced with the prevalence of print publications from the Global South, East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Eurasia, the spectrum of viewpoints collected and preserved by academic libraries risks becoming impoverished. “Strong and diverse collections like Berkeley’s inspire and allow researchers to immerse themselves in cutting-edge discovery and teaching,” reads the statement, “but what happens when the acquisition of diverse resources becomes vulnerable to reduced funding or reprioritization?”
Aligned with the Library’s efforts to build and provide access to collections that help scholars work against racism and discrimination, the resolution was also inspired by statements issued in the past year by library organizations such as the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM), Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and others across the academic library community.