Canadian Urban Libraries Council/Conseil des Bibliothèques Urbaines du Canada

Research

Social Inclusion Audit and Toolkit

The Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) / Conseil des Bibliothèques Urbaines du Canada (CBUC) defines social inclusion as the participatory, authentic, and accountable manner in which institutions uphold and reinforce the principles of access, equity and, as a result, social inclusion for all.

Social inclusion is the manner in which institutions understand and engage their communities, as well as how they explore, view, and challenge barriers, values, and behaviours. Social inclusion is also defined by how institutions develop, implement, and evaluate policies and procedures, how they provide equitable access to services, and finally, how they demonstrate the level of inclusion through tangible outcomes.

To this end Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) / Conseil des Bibliothèques Urbaines du Canada (CBUC) undertook a multi-year research study into social inclusion and the public library. The findings were published in 2010. 

KEY LEARNINGS: LIBRARIES AND SOCIAL INCLUSION

  • Public libraries have a fundamental role to promote social inclusion by bridging the gap between the information poor and the information rich.
  • Access to information is imperative for social inclusion, but simply putting multilingual books in libraries will not foster social inclusion for new immigrants.
  • Librarians have an opportunity to make libraries a place where immigrants feel included by making them relevant and meaningful. They must also provide the information literacy skills that will make library programs and collections accessible.
  • Librarians and information managers should view themselves as mentors and gatekeepers for those deprived of access to ICTs and meaningful information.
  • Libraries, through the provision of resources, public space, and ICT access and training, have a key role to play in the promotion of social inclusion.
  • A myriad of barriers, including institutional factors such as library membership policies, must be examined and assessed in partnership with the communities libraries serve
    To see a complete web version, please visit www.siatoolkit.com.

To order a copy of the 128-page document, including Definition of Social Inclusion, Audit tool, and a three-part toolkit that includes Indicators of Openness, Intentionality, and Inclusivity. Copies are available for $109 CDN (Members $79 CDN) plus applicable taxes. To order please email info@culc.ca.