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Diversify and decolonise your reading lists

Collaborative work with academic departments and professional services

The library runs workshops for academic staff:

  • Getting started with Reading Lists.
  • Decolonising the Reading Lists: Where to start!

The workshops are supported by online guides, videos and reading lists.


The library supports professional departments:

We have worked with the Academic Development & Diversity team on the #DecolHallam: Belonging, inclusion and Equity project.

How do you choose which books to buy?

The Library selects resources in a number of ways.

We purchase books using:

  • reading lists
  • suggest a purchase recommendations from students and staff
  • collaboration with Hallam staff networks
  • recommendations from our subject librarians

The mixture of approaches means that we are more than a textbook library. The collection has depth and range. We have the books you need for your modules and research as well as supplementary material around these core topics.

Our subject librarians build the wider collection and make sure the library has new and relevant content. A key focus is  look for books related to key areas like decolonisation and titles that amplify diverse voices. 

Which publishers do you support?

We are keen to make sure we have a strong collection that is representative of the student and staff community that the library is proud to support. 

We use our purchasing power as a force for good and purchase across many publishers to ensure there is depth and range in the collection. We buy books from a range of publishers and purchases books related to learning, teaching, resources, wellbeing, social and political issues. It is important to purchase resources from a range of publishers to ensure that we support independent and small press publishers. 

In our collection, you can find many examples of books published by large publishers such as Oxford University Press, Elsevier and Penguin. You can also find publishers, university presses and imprints like:

Open access and themed collections created by publishers 

We also include within Library Search themed collections that publishers curate to support decolonisation and the amplification of diverse voices in the academy.

Here are examples of resources that have been added to the library as part of a project to decolonise the library collections:

Support from your subject librarians

There is a subject librarian assigned to support each academic department at Sheffield Hallam.

You can get in contact for a chat with your friendly subject librarian if you have any questions about any of the content covered in this guide. We are here to support you with your reading lists!

Our librarians also act as library contacts for academic staff and support students and staff in the following ways:

  • provide support to academic staff in using Reading Lists Online and creating reading lists
  • create and deliver subject-specific information skills classes, workshops, and training for students and staff
  • produce online guides and teaching toolkits to support information skills
  • create and deliver digital skills workshops and training for students
  • manage and  direct enquiries that come to the library, and answer those enquiries that fall within our team's remit
  • provide advice and guidance on referencing, and manage the University's standard referencing style 
  • manage subject- and specialist-  collections of books, journals and other library resources
  • support Colleges and departments in identifying and integrating library elements as part of the design, planning, validation, delivery and review of courses and programmes
  • develop Hallam library services and support for collaborative partners
  • work on a variety of projects and events to create, improve, and evaluate library services at Hallam and beyond

You can find can find out who your contact is from the directory of librarians by subject on the staff Library guide. 

Keeping up to date with academic librarianship

Keeping up to date with professional practice is a key requirement of professions.

Within the library collections there are a range of professional development resources available to help library staff keep up to date with decolonisation and its relation to academic libraries and higher education.

Hallam Library curated reading lists

What are the curated reading lists?

Here at Hallam Library, your librarians, have handcrafted a range of curated reading lists to help explore a range of political and social issues, or find genre fiction to help you unwind and take a break from academic studies – recreational reading with a little bit of dystopian fiction anyone? 

We ask... where will a book take you today?

What are the benefits of curated reading lists?

A great book has the potential to take you anywhere whether that’s to the depths of Mordor or the African nation of Wakanda. Being transported into another world with fantastic stories and characters can provide a much needed break from our daily lives and enables us to connect to new worlds and ideas.

Representation is key in literature, it is important to see and recognize ourselves in the stories that are being told to help build those feelings of belonging, recognition, identity, empathy and understanding.

Books can also inspire us and encourage us to effect change whether on a local or global scale. Change can be on a personal level, for example, trying a week without using any single use plastic or technology based, for example, using our social media to petition for change and stand against injustice.


How were the lists created?

Many of the curated reading lists have been developed in partnership with Hallam staff networks, the Students Union and the Student Wellbeing Service.

Connect with different worlds and genres: award wining fiction

One of ways we can diversify the collections is by purchasing award winning literature.

Since 2021, we have ben purchasing all shortlisted titles for the following book awards. The books awards champion and support different writers within literature.