Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gay Teens Also Need to See Their Stories

You really need to read this excellent blog post by a teen describing his experience trying to find LGBT YA fiction at his school library.  It is a strong reminder to us all that a) we all need to see ourselves reflected in our reading, at least some of the time and b) as librarians, we have an obligation to serve ALL of our patrons.

I am very lucky to be working in a progressive school that encourages me to keep a broad collection; not everyone can do that.  But whoever this librarian is handled the situation badly; she should have told him that while she didn't have anything in the collection, they could certainly get online and order something in through interlibrary loan.

UPDATE:  Here's the link to Brent's great book blog.  We need more  such passionate readers and open thinkers.

On a "similar but different" note:  I happened to receive this link on the same day. Be warned--it's very disturbing. I've been debating all morning whether to even post it, and I won't embed the video, because I don't want it on my blog. But I do think it's important to understand what brave young men and women like Brent are up against, and why we, as school librarians, have an obligation to create as open and nurturing an environment as we can. As I said above, even if social pressures within the school keep us from developing the collection we'd like, there are ways to help students access resources on an individual basis.

As to the young gentleman in the video; I would defend this family's right to free speech, however much I deplore the content. But it's a very thin line between this sort of thing and hate crimes.


  1. Jeri,

    Thanks so much for linking to Brent's post on my blog. He truly is a bold young man, and I'm happy to call him my friend.

    Many librarians are, indeed, in tough positions. My principal called me into his office one day to tell me it was not my job to teach alternative lifestyles to kids--just because I sought out age-appropriate literature with gay characters for my students! I was completely shocked! Alternative lifestyles?

    Let me just say, it didn't stop me. My obligation is to my students.

    Thanks for being a fabulous librarian. Love your blog!!!

  2. Thank YOU for not only an interesting post, but a great blog. You've been added to my reader!

    I am always surprised, though I probably shouldn't be, at the number of people who think it's ok to shun and stigmatize gay students...like their life isn't hard enough as it is. Your principal's a neanderthal! Keep fighting the good fight!