Back in June, I was inspired by @pullupforchange to audit my bookshelves for books written by authors of color. @pullupforchange is an initiative on Instagram designed to encourage companies to be more transparent about the number of BIPOC they employ.
Now, I’m not a business, but I do buy books, and I often “employ” those books on my Instagram feed. The more inclusive my shelves are, the more inclusive my #bookstagram account is. So naturally, working to diversify my shelves is important to me.
To hold myself accountable, I decided to create a visual representation of my shelves. It’s a lot easier to ensure my book buying habits have become more inclusive with it compared to just a simple #shelfie. I figured I can just audit my shelves and update the graphic every few months or whenever I get new books and compare it to the last one I made to make sure I’m moving in the right direction.
Another layer of accountability is making the graphic public on Instagram. So not only am I personally holding myself accountable, but there’s also my #bookstagram friends to help me stay on track too. I got a few questions about my audit and the template so I figured I’d explain it more here, on the blog.
The Auditing Process
My auditing process is not foolproof and leaves much to be desired so if you can think of a better way to do it, please let me know. Essentially, I went through all the books I own and looked up their authors online. As you can imagine, it was a very slow process and took a while.
It was also surprisingly difficult because some authors didn’t mention/allude to their race/ethnicity in their bios or on their various social media accounts. That made it hard for me to determine which race(s) they identify with. Someone’s race isn’t the easiest thing to determine and it’s not something you can just assume based on a headshot or last name. As such, whenever I felt iffy about someone’s race, I’d have to do some more research to see if it was mentioned somewhere else. If my research was inconclusive, I’d just assume the author is white, hence why I think this process has a lot of room for improvement.
How the Templates Work
So, let me explain how the template works. A fair warning, there’s some math involved (basic math, don’t worry).
The template includes a bookshelf with an outline of 100 books. To decide how many books to fill in, once I determined how many books I own that are written by authors of a certain race, I would divide that number by the total amount of books I have. And then did some rounding.
For example, I own 23 books written by Asian authors and 250 in total. 23 divided by 250 is 9.2%. I rounded 9.2% to 9% which is why I filled in nine books on the graphic with the color I assigned to represent the number of books written by Asian authors.
Now, I used Photoshop to create my graphic and fill in the books, but there are tons of free programs you can use instead, like Microsoft Paint and GIMP.
Download the Templates
To download the template, just click on one of the pictures below. That should take you to a Google Drive link where you can download it at a higher quality optimized for Instagram.
Some Additional Notes About the Templates
- These templates are free for you to download for personal use only.
- Please do not post the blank templates or redistribute them in any way.
- If you use the template and post it on social media, please try to tag/mention me in your post. I’m @pagingserenity on most platforms.
- If you enjoy these templates, please consider buying me a (cheap) cup of coffee through Ko-Fi.
- DM or email me if you want me to make any minor alterations to the template like changing the heading, or filling it out for you, for example. I’m willing to do so if you buy me a cup of coffee. 😉
I hope you find these templates helpful! I challenge you all to audit your shelves!
Let me know if you use them or have a suggestion for a better auditing process!