An interim report was published on 7 December to provide an update on the work of the review. Read about our progress and find out how to take part.
Interim Report, 7 December 2017
Improved literacy is more important than ever to prepare us for the socio-economic change that we will inevitably encounter. It has been said that there is no free learning available after the age of 24 in the UK. Yet we need people to accept the need for their continual self-improvement through lifelong learning. This will be the only guarantee of the flexibility that we will need to empower the workforce in a fast-moving, ever-changing technical and industrial environment. In actual fact there is a good deal of free information everywhere and the key to unlocking it is the ability to read. This is the most important piece of equipment that we can give to our children to sustain their future.
The incapability of a significant part of the population to participate fully in the economic future of the country because of their inability to adapt or become sufficiently proficient or to be flexible enough for the workplace also contributes to our comparatively low productivity. Literacy skills are more than the foundations of a fulfilling life, they are a pre-requisite for any successful economy. The UK’s future success depends on a highly-skilled, flexible workforce to power a sophisticated, high-tech economy. However, a 2015 CBI/Pearson survey found that half of UK firms fear that growth will be held back by skills shortages and they see an urgent need to promote literacy skills.
The latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) shows we are starting to give our children a better reading education at primary school. It is urgent that we maintain and continue to build on this.
To address this skills crisis we must become a nation of readers at all ages, and relentlessly focus on literacy and education as the best way to invest in our economic development. It is necessary to look at learning and skills-development outside the classroom as well as formal education.
Further, the growing divisions in society have made the findings of the New York School of Social Research, which proved that reading fiction creates better connectivity and empathy with other people all the more important to better cohesion and co-operation.
Which is why I’m so pleased to be the Independent Chair of this Diversity Review of the country’s oldest children’s book awards – the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards. The Awards and their accompanying shadowing scheme (by which children in reading groups read and debate the merits of the shortlisted books) are a powerful opportunity to engage the broadest range of children and young people possible with outstanding writing and illustration that will fire their imagination and develop essential literacy skills.
I took on this role following criticism of the 2017 Carnegie longlist as it included no Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) authors. Since then I have listened to comments, concerns and ideas about how the awards can be the best champion of diversity, inclusion and representation in order to create greater opportunity for the widest pool of talent to be drawn upon, providing authors and illustrators who can unlock a broader world of literary excellence for readers. This in turn should increase participation in reading and associated activities by all children and young people – regardless of who they are, their background and where they live. To explore these issues and to scope the Review we held two workshops and invited comments by email. I would like sincerely to thank everyone who has participated in the Review so far for the enthusiasm and collaborative spirit that has characterised our meetings and discussions.
This Interim Report provides an update on progress with the Review and the comments and discussions at the workshops. The workshops have provided a range of ideas that we will explore through consultation in the form of an online survey followed by focus groups.
I hope you find this report interesting and it sparks ideas that you will share through our consultation. It is so important that as many people as possible have their say. Please get involved and work with us to bring about the positive change we are committed to.
Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford
Independent Diversity Review Chair
This Interim Report provides an update on the progress of the Diversity Review of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards, the longest-established awards celebrating children’s writing and illustration, selected by librarians.
Librarianship is at the very heart of what makes the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards unique. A librarian is someone who behaves according to the ethics of our profession, who has made a lasting personal commitment to the universal rights of access to knowledge and of self-expression.
Libraries are built on the twin ideals of universality and empowerment. They belong to everyone and everyone has the right to use them. But simply being universally accessible is not sufficient. As a sector, we have learnt that we need to be proactive in identifying and tearing down the barriers which prevent some people from discovering the joy of reading, of cultural participation and of seeing themselves reflected in literature.
That is why CILIP has made the commitment in Securing the Future our five-year Strategic Plan to show leadership and demand inclusion, equality and representation from ourselves, from our sector and on behalf of the public we serve. This Diversity Review is an important step in the process of making good on that commitment.
We have already learnt a great deal from the process of this Review. We know that the experience of exclusion and prejudice hurts and that we have no right to expect people to share that hurt unless we genuinely intend to deliver real change.
We know that children’s literature and illustration have a unique power to shine a light on the world as it is and to help us to imagine a better one – and that because of this we have an immense responsibility in how we develop and promote these Awards as ethical librarians.
We know that there is an appetite for greater transparency and more effective communication about the Awards process. There is a need to understand the power dynamics at play and ensure that these don’t entrench views or exclude people.
At the same time, we are clear that this process is about taking a positive, celebratory process and making it even better. We are hugely grateful for the support and active participation of everyone that has been involved so far and I look ahead to the final outcome of this Review with real interest and enthusiasm.
CILIP Chief Executive
Background to the Review
CILIP, the Library and Information Association, are conducting an independent Diversity Review of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards after concerns were raised about the lack of BAME representation on the 2017 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal longlists which were published 16 February 2017. CILIP announced the Review of the Awards on 8 March 2017 as part of the organisation’s wider Equalities and Diversity Action Plan.
The Diversity Review aims to provide recommendations about how diversity, inclusion and representation can best be championed and embedded into the work of the Awards.
Margaret Casely-Hayford is working with CILIP in the role of independent Review Chair which was announced by press release on 26 June 2017 to mark the launch date for the Review process. The Review will inform the annual evaluation process and long-term planning around the Awards and accompanying shadowing scheme.
This Interim Report provides a progress update on the work carried out since June. The Review continues into 2018 culminating in a final report to be published September 2018.
In 2013 CILIP organised an ‘equalities summit’ to review its position on equalities and diversity and recommend further action. One of the recommendations was a comprehensive workforce mapping exercise.
The workforce mapping of the library, information and archives sector took place in 2015 and identified:
- A clear gender pay gap. The library and information workforce is 79% female and 21% male, but 47% of top earners are male.
- A lack of ethnic diversity in the workforce. 97% self-identify as white compared to 88% in the UK workforce.
- High barriers to entry. 61% hold a post-graduate qualification. The highest qualification of most of the UK workforce is A-level or equivalent.
CILIP’s 2016–2020 Action Plan, Securing the Future, sets out the organisation’s commitment to championing diversity and equality. To deliver this CILIP published its Equalities and Diversity Action Plan in July 2017. The action plan sets out practical actions in the short and long-term in five areas:
- CILIP as an organisation
- Diversity and the membership
- Diversity and the profession
- Celebrating diversity
- Diverse and inclusive library and information services.
What CILIP does
We are the independent voice that represents and champions all information professionals. With our Royal Charter we help our members develop their skills, build successful careers and deliver high quality information and library services.
Background: the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards
For more detailed information regarding the awards process, nominations, eligibility and the judging criteria please see Appendix A.
Scoping the Review
In order to scope out the work required for the Diversity Review of the CKG Awards CILIP held two workshops at the CILIP offices, 7 Ridgmount Street, London, WC1E 7AE.
Approximately 70 stakeholders from the children’s books sector attended the workshops which were conducted under Chatham House Rules to create an open and safe space for discussion.
CILIP held a preliminary Diversity Workshop on 11 July 2017. In attendance were CILIP staff and the CKG Working Party, publishers, sponsors, librarians, representatives from literacy organisations, and authors and illustrators.
The workshop began with introductions from Margaret Casely-Hayford, Nick Poole, CEO of CILIP, and John Vincent, the independent facilitator of the workshop. John then initiated an open discussion of the terms ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘representation’ to establish a shared understanding of these terms in their broadest sense before considering them in the context of the children’s book awards.
Participants took part in group discussions around the following questions:
- What are the wider impact/outcomes of the Carnegie Greenaway Awards?
- What objective should drive the development of the Awards?
- What is unique about the Awards?
- What does diversity and inclusion mean in the context of the Awards?
- What will a successful Diversity Review look like?
Participants came away from the workshop with increased awareness of the awards process and the issues concerning diversity, inclusion and representation that need to be addressed.
The workshop Agenda and participants’ contributions in answer to the above questions, transcribed verbatim, can be found in Appendix B.
Both participants in the July workshop and CILIP recognised that for the Review to be as inclusive as possible we needed to hear from people with the lived experience and active participation in the issues we're considering so that the scoping for the strategy of the Review can be more fully informed and we can ensure that we ask ourselves the right questions. In light of this, a second workshop took place on 18 October 2017.
Attendees included CILIP staff and the CKG Working Party, authors and illustrators, independent publishers and representatives from literacy organisations and charities.
The workshop began with introductions from Margaret Casely-Hayford and Nick Poole followed by Esua Goldsmith, the independent facilitator of the workshop. Esua initiated a participatory session in which participant’s spoke in groups of 2 or 3 about their personal experience and understanding of the terms ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘representation’:
What do the interlinked terms diversity, inclusion and representation mean to me?
Participants noted their responses on post-it notes that were then positioned under each term to form a definition of ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘representation’ from the group’s shared experience and understanding.
Participants went on to take part in group discussions that focused on the Awards process, answering the following questions:
- What are we doing well and what are the barriers to inclusivity?
- What would success look like?
After collating the various success criteria identified by each group under recurring themes, Esua led an open discussion to explore ideas for making it [success] happen.
The workshop Agenda and participants’ contributions in answer to the above questions and discussions, transcribed verbatim, can be found in Appendix C.
Workshops in Summary
Looking at the output from the two workshops in July and October we have identified several clear themes of discussion in the participants’ thinking which are outlined below. These areas will be explored further through consultation in 2018.
Across both workshops participants talked about expanding children’s involvement in the Awards process and shadowing scheme. Discussions were centred around how we involve and include all children, considering the different needs and capabilities of children, their backgrounds and how we target harder to reach schools.
The diversity of the judging panel and librarian workforce as a whole was a recurring theme of discussion. Some participants suggested a wider pool of recruitment for librarians; others proposed the need for enhanced diversity training to empower judges to appreciate diverse voices, making comments around subjectivity and unconscious bias in the judging process. Some called for better recognition of the code of ethics that librarians as CILIP members are bound by.
Nominations and nominators
Conversations around nominations grappled with how to achieve as broad and representative a pool of nominations as possible without overloading them. There was a shared desire for the list of nominations that begin the cycle of the awards to be as diverse and representative as possible.
Participants expressed a need for in-depth scrutiny of the judging criteria, potentially though a designated workshop, which allows for quality and excellence in children’s literature and illustration to be redefined. A number of participants sought criteria that are more inclusive, ensuring breadth of perspective and recognition of diverse voices. Questions concerning who sets the criteria were also raised.
Publicity and promotion
The workshops demonstrated a lack of awareness of much of the positive work of librarians and a lack of commercial promotion for the Awards and the shadowing scheme so an opportunity for profile-raising and greater consumer awareness has been identified. Participants also flagged the need for a more diverse range of books to be available and accessible to librarians, considering the involvement of retailers, suppliers and building relationships with small and independent publishers.
The need for better data collection was acknowledged by all participants. There is currently no data collected on the characteristics of the people nominating books for the awards or the judges. There is also a lack of data available on the authors and illustrators who have been nominated or on the content of the books. It was felt that good data would help us to understand invisible as well as visible diversity and identify problem areas and opportunities in the process for improvement.
Changing the culture
The workshops involved participants across the children’s book sector; there was impressive mutual respect with everybody along the chain expressing their commitment to improving and promoting diversity. A change in the culture is required with no more ‘buck passing’. To make this a reality participants want to see partnerships develop between publishers, librarians and literacy organisations, working together to grow the profile of children’s literature, change perceptions of diversity issues and drive societal change.
A broad consultation will open in January 2018. Consultation analysis will be carried out in partnership with Coventry University.
How do I take part?
Take part in the online survey that launches in January 2018.
Acknowledgements and Thanks
We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the Diversity Review to date with particular thanks to all attendees of the workshops. Your contribution both in the giving of your time and in sharing your thoughts and ideas is very much appreciated.
Our thanks to John Vincent and to Esua Goldsmith for facilitation of the workshops.
And finally, we would like to thank the Awards Working Party and Judges for your support and hard work.
3 Psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, at the New School for Social Research in New York, have proved that reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people's emotions, a crucial skill in navigating complex social relationships. In a series of five experiments, 1,000 participants were randomly assigned texts to read: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/oct/08/literary-fiction-improves-empathy-study.