News & Politics

Libraries stand firm in support of LGBT books

The American Library Association (ALA), and hundreds of libraries will celebrate June 2016 as GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and books that reflect the GLBT experience.

In a year when GLBT communities are facing divisive “religious freedom” and “bathroom privacy” legislation, libraries are working against legislating discrimination by fostering acceptance through the power of books.

Challenges involving GLBT books have even been accompanied by anti-gay slurs, such as when Wasilla, Alaska’s public library transferred its entire young adult non-fiction to the adult stacks in response to a complaint about James Dawson’s sex education book, “This Book Is Gay.” A number of Wasilla residents attacked the book at a city council meeting, accompanying their attacks with such remarks as “they didn’t want ‘gay books’ or books about gay people in the library at all.” During debates on the issue, the library director was called a pedophile.

“Libraries are about everyone,” said ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) Chair Peter Coyl. “We can create a welcoming environment for all by having a diverse collection of materials of varying viewpoints. It is important for our users to be able to find books that match their lives and their experiences. GLBT Book Month is not just about celebrating authors and writers who are GLBT, but about showcasing to our community that GLBT customers and families are welcomed and wanted in the Library.”

In addition to providing materials, libraries are also a safe space for GLBT students. A study published in the Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults examined how school librarians created bully-free zones and collected GLBT and anti-bullying materials, collaborating with guidance counselors and teachers and suggesting particular books for students.

Originally established in the early 1990s by The Publishing Triangle as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, this occasion is an opportunity for book lovers and libraries with the very best in GLBT literature.

GLBT Book Month™ is an initiative of the American Library Association, and is coordinated through its Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.