National Inclusion Week

28 September – 4 October

National Inclusion Week highlights the huge importance of inclusion in not only the workplace, but in society as well. Many employers use it as a time to get connected and engage with their colleagues and talk more about inclusion. You can use the week to organise events and activities in your own workplace or community.

How are libraries inclusive?

Libraries are a place for the community. For all people, from all walks of life to come together to learn, read and have access to resources. Libraries are a safe space where someone can visit without question and borrow books and so much more!

Libraries also hold stock that is inclusive to all. We have audiobooks in CD, playaway and electronic format, and our eAudiobooks can be slowed down or sped up to make sure everyone can enjoy them.

We have large print books, which are books with larger than average font, and Quick Reads; books condensed into a few chapters with slightly larger font, making it perfect for those who struggle finding the time to read, struggle remembering long stories or just want a condensed version of a book.

We have some amazing adult picture books aimed at those with dementia. What makes these different from your average picture books, is that there are no words, no text and instead large photographs of everyday things, places and situations, perfect to share!
And let’s not forget our extra large print picture books with braille! Perfect for both adults and children to read together, and a perfect way to introduce young children to braille.

We’ve already mentioned our eAudiobooks, but did you know you can adjust the font size and background colour of our eBooks to suit you? If you’re unsure how, check out this helpful video:

We also have some amazing dyslexia friendly books aimed at children, teens and young adults. These are published by Barrington Stoke, and printed on yellow paper with clear, easy to read font, and the paragraphs are also divided up to make it easier to read.
If your child is struggling with reading, we can recommend trying these books, and also visit Barrington Stoke’s website.

Facts and figures

  • We are part of Hampshire County Council’s Culture, Communities and Business Services department.
  • Hampshire Libraries hold over 2 million items of stock and receive over 6 million visits a year – normally.
  • Every library has both public computers and WiFi, providing free access to the internet. Due to the current situation, we do ask anyone who would like to use our computers to book their slot in advance by calling 01962 454747
  • Between May and August 2020, our Home Library Service volunteers made 763 visits to vulnerable persons to deliver books and have a friendly chat.
  • During lockdown, our Home Library Service have received 36 new customers, and have been able to organise delivery of books to customers that are shielding.
  • Our Home Library Service team have been working with service from Partners and external organisations including Hampshire County Council Sensory team,  Surgery Signposters, Right at Home care agency, NHS dementia nurse and Southern Health NHS.
  • Through our Ready Reads scheme, we have had 5492 requests for regular book collections.

Standards and values

  • We will engage with customers, putting them at the centre of relevant and high quality services.
  • Contribute to the health and wellbeing of our communities by providing a safe environment and inspiring people to read, learn and access information.
  • Provide equal access for everyone and embrace digital technologies to enhance our diverse range of services.

How to talk about inclusion with children?

Reading stories together is a great way to start conversations about inclusion, diversity and how each one of us are different. We have put together a collection of books to help you get these conversations started, and to help show young children that we are all different and it is that which makes us all special and unique. And most important – that being different is okay.

Ready Reads

2020 has been a year of changes, and it’s been a tough year for everyone, but our Ready Read scheme has meant our readers have been able to keep enjoying books. After signing up to this scheme, our wonderful library staff will handpick books according to your preferences and contact you when the books are ready to collect from the library. When signing up, you can choose to collect your books fortnightly or monthly – as well as how many books you want.

You can sign up for Ready Reads by using our simple Ready Reads request form. Or phone 01962 454747 (local rate charges apply). Our teams are experts at choosing good books and they are looking forward to using their experience and knowledge to help you get the most from your local library. We hope signing up for Ready Reads will give you a chance to try something new. Who knows – you may just discover your next favourite author!

We would like to say a big thank you to our sponsor, BorrowBox, for these lovely Ready Reads bags.

Learning in Libraries

Our courses and workshops are now virtual; you can now enjoy wine tasting, gin tasting, yoga, everyday English, and much more online. Visit our Facebook page to browse all courses and workshops we are currently running – as well as any virtual events!

These online classes mean even those shielding are able to take part, socialise and learn new skills. It’s a perfect opportunity to not only learn a new skill, but staying active – both mentally and physically.
What courses or workshops would you love to see? Tell us in the comments below!

Among the Shelves

One of our key roles, as a library, is to enable access to information. We stock a wide range of materials, do not censor published content, promote understanding and provide good quality information that helps people educate and inform themselves. To challenge prejudice and discrimination, we have been celebrating black authors and cultural role models with selections of good books – all of which can be found on our library shelves.

So far we’ve had four different selections, each with their own blog. We started off with having a look at some Adult non-fiction titles; all of which are incredible reads for all. These are books giving real insight into the lives of black and minority groups, as well as real life stories. These are all titles we can recommend to all.

We then followed on with our Children’s titles, a selection of both fiction and non-fiction titles – perfect to inspire young readers and start conversations about history, present and individuality.

Next we had a selection of wonderful Adult fiction titles. Fiction is a great way to walk in someone else’s shoes, and these books are sure to make you see the world in a different light and get a deeper understanding of other people’s lives.

And finally, we are turning our attention to the incredible poetry books we have. These are all collections of powerful, beautiful and inspiring poems, both contemporary and more classic ones. This blog will come out on Thursday 1 October – so don’t forget to subscribe to be notified when our new blogs goes up!

All books in these blogs are available through the BorrowBox App, or if you prefer physical books you can browse our shelves or use our Ready Reads book collection service which gives you access to a selection of books if you are unable to browse the shelves in person – all books are chosen for you by our team..

Libraries are a place for the community; a place for everyone, and our libraries offer equal access for all. We are also embracing digital technologies to enhance our diverse range of services – now more then ever. To us, inclusion is at the heart of everything we do, and we always strive to reach those who need us the most, those who don’t need us right now and anyone in between.

The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance.

Libba Bray

Unconscious Bias – a booklist

Queer intentions: a (personal) journey through LGBTQ+ culture
by Amelia Abraham

In 2016 Amelia Abraham decided to quit everything and move to another country for love, but came home with her tail between her legs when the relationship ended after just ten days. Thinking about her crushed hopes – marriage, kids; things that she never saw as possible for queer people when she was growing up – the breakup becomes a moment to reflect on the idea that for LGBTQ+ people living in the West today, the options are greater than ever before. Yet, before we can take up these rights, she argues that we must ask ourselves a few questions. What were LGBTQ+ people before us fighting for – our right to be the same, or to be different? At what cost does our assimilation come? And which parts of the LGBTQ+ community are getting left behind? Embarking on a journey across the West – where the tensions that come with so called ‘equality’ are most acute – Amelia searches for the answer to these problems.

Sway : unravelling unconscious bias
by Pragya Agarwal

Have you ever been told to smile more, been teased about your accent, or had your name pronounced incorrectly? If so, you’ve probably already faced bias in your everyday life. We like to believe that we are all fair-minded and egalitarian but we all carry biases that we might not even be aware of. We might believe that we live in a post-racial society, but racial tension and inequality is pernicious and pervasive. We might believe that gender inequality is a thing of the past, but it is still ubiquitous. Unconscious bias has become a frequently-used term in our vocabulary, but there are still so many myths around it. For the first time, behavioural scientist, activist and writer Dr Pragya Agarwal unravels the way our implicit or ‘unintentional’ biases affect the way we communicate and perceive the world, and how they affect our decision-making, even in life and death situations.

A change is gonna come
by Mary Bello

Featuring top Young Adult authors and introducing a host of exciting new voices, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene.

compiled by Juno Dawson

Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN. A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Biased: uncovering the hidden prejudices that shape our lives
by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD

We might think that we treat all people equally, but we don’t. Every day, unconscious biases affect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behaviour in ways that are subtle and very difficult to recognise without in-depth scientific studies. Unconscious biases can be small and insignificant, but they affect every sector of society, leading to enormous disparities, from the classroom to the courtroom to the boardroom. But unconscious bias is not a sin to be cured, but a universal human condition, and one that can be overcome. Pioneering social psychologist Professor Jennifer Eberhardt explains how.

Families, families, families!
by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang

Do you have two dads? Or one step mum? Or what about the world’s biggest grandpa? Discover a whole host of silly animal families in this hilarious celebration of the love found in families big and small.

Lubna and Pebble
by Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egnéus

Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Lubna tells Pebble everything. About home. About the war. Pebble always listens to her stories and smiles when she feels afraid. But one day, when a little boy arrives, alone in a world of tents, Lubna poignantly understands that he needs Pebble even more than she does.

by R.J. Palacio

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’ Auggie wants to be an ordinary 10-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school. All he wants is to be accepted. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

We’re all wonders
by R.J. Palacio

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’ Auggie wants to be an ordinary 10-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school. All he wants is to be accepted. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Invisible women: exposing data bias in a world designed for men
by Caroline Criado Perez

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. She exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives. Caroline brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are excluded from the very building blocks of the world we live in, and the impact this has on their health and wellbeing.

by June Sarpong

An Award-Winning Guide to Why Inclusion is Better for Everyone. Putting the spotlight on groups who are often marginalised in our society, including women, ethnic minorities, those living with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community, Diversify uncovers the hidden cost of exclusion and shows how a new approach to how we learn, live and do business can solve some of the most stubborn challenges we face. Offering six stories, and six simple steps, Diversify explores the value we place on social packaging – how it shapes the way we see ourselves, determines who we become, and limits the opportunities available to us.Most importantly, offers practical tools, empowering us to challenge those limitations, and diversify.Combining sharp observations, fascinating case studies, and interviews with key political, cultural and business leaders, Diversify is a fierce, accessible, credible and proactive guide to how we can beat social division – and reach our potential as a society.Written by June Sarpong MBE, with accompanying research from Dr Anthony Heath and Oxford University.

The good immigrant
edited by Nikesh Shukla

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport? Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’? Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Far from the tree: parents, children and the search for identity
by Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon’s proposition in Far from the Tree is that being exceptional is at the core of the human condition—that difference is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down’s syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, or multiple severe disabilities; with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, and Solomon documents triumphs of love over prejudice in every chapter.

Be kind to one another, remember to stop and think what you can do to make everyone feel included and how we can make the world a better place.

2 thoughts on “National Inclusion Week”

    1. Thank you for your question,
      As mentioned in this blog we created a collection of blogs called ‘Between the Shelves’ that challenge prejudice and discrimination we will be celebrating black authors, diversity and cultural role models with a selection of good books. This was in the count down to Black History Month, and has lead up to our Black History Month blog, which you can find here:

      Due to the current situation, we haven’t been able to organise any events for this month, like we would usually do. But many of our libraries have made wonderful book displays and we are promoting our blogs on social media.

      Thank you,


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