Five years ago, Lee & Low Books launched the first Diversity Baseline Survey to examine four aspects of diversity among publishing industry staff: race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. Administered to over 13,000 publishing employees at thirty-five different publishing companies and eight major review journals, the Diversity Baseline Survey inspired many conversations and initiatives to help build a more inclusive book industry.
Five years later, it is time for us to redo the survey to see what has changed. We have big plans this time, including a Kickstarter (launching early 2019) to raise money to hire a professional survey/evaluation company and an initiative to include literary agents, who play an important role in gatekeeping.
We are putting an open call out to publishing houses and literary agencies of all sizes: will you participate in 2019?
In our earlier blog post, Diversity in Publishing: How Diverse is LEE & LOW’s Authors, Illustrators, and Staff, we shared a mini breakdown of our authors and illustrators as well as our staff. In the past, we’ve received a few questions asking about the percentage of authors/illustrators of color we publish as well as the percentage of people of color on our staff. And we hoped that this post would answer a few of those questions.
After posting the percentage, we received a few more questions: what is the breakdown per department? What is the breakdown by race and ethnicity? How many members of your staff are LGBTQ+ identifying, and/or disabled?
At the beginning of 2015 we conducted our Diversity Baseline Survey to measure the amount of diversity among publishing staff across the industry. The numbers told us something we already knew: publishing suffers from a major lack of diversity, not just in books but also in staff.
But we’ve also received this question: How diverse are the authors and illustrators that Lee & Low publishes? And how diverse is our Lee & Low staff?
As the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the United States, we think this information is important to share. Below you’ll find our demographic breakdown of our authors and illustrators as well as our staff. Continue reading
It’s been just over a month since the results of our Diversity Baseline Survey came out, quantifying diversity among the book publishing workforce. Since then, we’ve been thrilled to see the many turns that this conversation has taken: different ways of considering the problem, different ways of interpreting the data, different solutions offered. The study has been covered more than 40 times in major news outlets including The Washington Post, The Guardian, New York Magazine, Forbes and Salon. Here are ten of our favorite responses that offer thoughtful commentary and ideas on how to look at the problem of diversity in publishing from a new angle: Continue reading
By now it’s no secret that publishing suffers from a major lack of diversity problem. Thanks to years of research by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, we have ample data to confirm what many readers have always suspected: the number of diverse books published each year over the past twenty years has been stuck in neutral, never exceeding, on average, 10 percent.
Countless panels, articles, and even conferences have been dedicated to exploring the causes and effects of this lack of diversity. Yet one key piece of the puzzle remained a question mark: diversity among publishing staff. While the lack of diversity among publishing staff was often spoken about, there was very little hard data about who exactly works in publishing. Continue reading
On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 we will release the results of the Diversity Baseline Survey, the first major study to look at diversity among publishing industry staff. The Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS) focuses on four different aspects of diversity: race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. The goal is to establish a baseline that shows where we are now as an industry, and that will help us measure progress moving forward.
The DBS was inspired by a similar movement in the technology industry, led by Pinterest engineer Tracy Chou. Tracy pointed to tech’s lack of diversity—and lack of data—and was able to galvanize the entire industry to release staff diversity figures in 2014. We posted a study on our blog called The Diversity Gap in Silicon Valley that breaks down the problem and the responses. After the tech industry released their statistics, several new initiatives were announced to encourage recruitment and retaining of diverse new talent. We wondered, could publishing do the same? Continue reading
Last month, we were excited to announce the establishment of the Lee & Low and Friends Scholarship in conjunction with Simmons College. This scholarship will provide opportunities for students of color to enroll in the Simmons College graduate program in children’s literature, one of the country’s finest.
In this interview, we talk to two of the key players behind the new scholarship. Cathryn M. Mercier, PhD is the Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College and the director of the center’s M.A. and M.F.A. programs. Jason Low is the Publisher/Co-owner of LEE & LOW BOOKS. Continue reading
Exciting things have happened with the Diversity Baseline Survey since our last update!
Several weeks ago I posted about why we’re asking publishers to join our Diversity Baseline Survey. If you missed that post, here’s a quick summary of the project:
The Diversity Baseline Survey we’ve proposed would be the first of its kind for US publishers. It involves creating statistics that do not yet exist by measuring staff diversity among publishers and review journals in four areas: gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability.
In short, we’re hoping that all publishers, from small to large, will opt in and encourage their staff to take our short survey. If they do, for the first time we’ll be able to see a clear picture of diversity among publishing staff. Continue reading