Wikis > 8. Developing and Diversifying Library Services > Equality and Diversity Considerations

Equality and Diversity Considerations

Equality and Diversity Considerations
All public services need to consider how accessible they are to all sections of the community.

Organisations delivering public services should be familiar with the Equality Act 2010. This legislation brings together previous legislations relating to discrimination. It essentially prohibits discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of

  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  •  Race
  •  Religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Sex (gender)
  •  Age

Further guidance on the act for service providers can be found at the Equality and Human Rights Commission

In practical terms, organisations developing and running library services should actively consider how services can be developed and delivered to appeal to all sections of the community.

Organisations should seek to develop appropriate policies to not only prevent discrimination, but to proactively seek to provide for all sections of the community.
Consideration of equalities and diversity should run through everything that the organisation does. For example:
• Promotion and selection of board members
• Membership
• Recruitment of staff and volunteers
• Publicity materials and marketing strategy
• Stock selection
• Language of materials
• Building design
Proactively seeking to have a diverse board that is reflective of the community it serves is likely to have a positive impact on other aspect of diversity.


Rural Proofing

In rural areas, library services are often delivered in different ways through mobile services, or library collection and drop-off points, through shared premises, or with far more online access to non-bookborrowing services. It is important for any community group which is thinking of developing a library service which may include rural users, or which may impact on services in rural areas in any way,  to ‘rural proof’ the service.

There is no definitive definition of rural proofing, but many agencies use the the one provided in the 2000 Rural White Paper.

Rural proofing means that as policy is developed and implemented, policy-makers should systematically:

• Think about whether there will be any significant differential impacts in rural areas.
• If there are such impacts, assess what these might be.
• Consider what adjustments or compensations might be made to fit rural circumstances.



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