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Decolonising and the Library

Image of a bookshelf

"The British Library" (Detail), Yinka Shonibare, Turner Contemporary, Margate © Copyright Matt Harrop and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Decolonising and the Library

Library Services recognise that many higher educational institutions and disciplines of study were established during colonial times. Library collections developed to support them may reflect this legacy.  

Within Library Services we are actively examining and questioning our practices to understand the impact that this legacy has had on our library collections and to identify the ways in which we can support ongoing work within the University to decolonise the curriculum and to amplify underrepresented voices in scholarship.  

This guide aims to highlight some of our activities and the library resources we have available to both staff and students to enable the development of decolonial practice. 

Libraries are not Neutral

small pile of B&W zines with title "Libraries are not neutral: a pocket-sized guide to libraries and their colonial legacy"

If you would like to know more about the role of libraries in colonialism then this short zine on the colonial history and legacy in libraries provides an introduction.

Library Workshops

We run regular workshops for staff and students to support decolonial practice. Click on the Resources for Students or Resources for Staff tabs above to find out more.  

Subject Headings Review

Read about how you can get involved in a Library project to help create new subject headings that are reflective of the diversity of experiences and perspectives of our readers. Subject Headings Review

Suggest a Book


We welcome suggestions of books to help inform decolonial practice and to diversify our collections. If you have one, just fill in this form.