Librarians everywhere should take note of this guest post by 15 year-old blogger Brent over at Pinched Nerves.
Brent takes librarians to task for the lack of quality GLBTQ lit in school and public library collections. He describes his disappointing encounters with librarians and libraries and discusses what he’d like to see in a well-rounded GLBTQ YA book collection.
“The world needs more librarians who serve the purpose of finding the right book to put in the right person’s lap. Not librarians who think that they can decide what’s “inappropriate” and what’s not, based on their personal prejudices. There are tons of gay teens, struggling to find a group to fit in. LGBT YA lit helps us find out that no, we aren’t alone and no, we aren’t worthless or disgusting. It helps us discover that we are part of a group…”
It’s a very well-articulated piece and a must-read for any librarian serving teens. The discussion it has prompted in the comments section is also well worth reading.
Don’t forget to check out Brent’s LGBT YA review blog, The Naughty Book Kitties.
On May 28th, 2010, Canadian Libraries are Serving Youth (CLASY) held its inaugural professional development event at the University of Western Ontario. CLASY is a newly established group dedicated to establishing a national network of library staff who work with teens and young adults.
Running this event involved a lot of work in a very short time, but we managed to pull it off, in no small part to the energy and determination of one Stephanie Vollick (a.k.a. Library Steph). I’m especially impressed considering that while all of this was coming together, Stephanie was also packing up her apartment and preparing to move all the way across the country where she’ll be starting a new job as a youth services librarian later this month.
For more information about the event, head over to the to the CLASY blog for a recap, including notes from the day’s think tank sessions. Dr. Paulette Rothbauer has posted a draft of her introductory address entitled “Taking Our Place at the Table Today: Working with and for Youth in Canadian Libraries ” on her blog, and you can view slides from Stephen Abram’s keynote, “Kids and Teens, Are They Different?” here.
“Libraries are far more than a market…Libraries create readers. They are the test bed, the petri dish for books, a place where people can discover a passion for reading as children and indulge it as adults and where passionate readers can sample new authors. Librarians are the ultimate handsellers of books (though they call it readers’ advisory)…”
It makes me happy to see a piece like this. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding between libraries and publishers. I know many of my peers in library school haven’t the foggiest idea how publishers work. And there’s plenty that publishers could do to improve relations with libraries and librarians.
Though publishing and librarianship may have different cultures, we have a common goal. Both aim to put books and readers together. As Fister notes,
“In an era when publishing opportunities have proliferated and the number of titles being published has skyrocketed, libraries rely on professionals who can do the painstaking work of developing quality books. In turn, publishers need librarians, who help spark a love of reading among children, sustain it through the stages of life, and know what’s important to readers.”