Representation of Women Composers in the Whittaker Library


  • Karen McAulay Royal Conservatoire of Scotland



women, composers, composers of colour, equality, diversity, libraries


The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has been making a concerted effort to improve the equality and diversity of our stock for some time.  In this paper, I begin by outlining my own efforts to increase the Whittaker Library’s stock of music by women composers, and scholarly literature not only by but also about women composers.  As a small library in a small specialist institution, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, resources are not limitless, but it has been possible to make this project one of our priority areas.  I describe the measures taken to build up stock in this area, alongside building a dedicated page on the library’s portal.  Running alongside this, I have made a similar drive to improve representation of music by composers of colour.  Over and above all this, we have increased our social media activity; meanwhile, another colleague; has been working with some of our academic colleagues in terms of EDI in course reading lists, as I shall also describe; and a third has been working on EDI in the drama collection.  Recognising the limitations not only of budgets, but also the comparative availability of materials by and about women only a few short decades ago – not to mention historically – I aim to provide food for thought, underlining the importance of close collaboration between the library and academic colleagues.

Author Biography

Karen McAulay, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Karen McAulay is dual-qualified in music and librarianship, with a PhD on historical Scottish music collecting.  She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, holds a PGCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Arts Education, and is an FHEA. 


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Whittaker Live library blog until July 2020

Whittaker Live library blog from July 2020