For the last three years, June is GLBT Book Month has been observed by the American Library Association. Libraries of all types from across the country have participated through promoting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and other queer-related literature to people of all ages. In its short history with ALA, GLBT Book Month has already had a large effect in getting GLBTQ books into the hands of our communities.
GLBT Book Month is a great time to fill a librarian’s quiver with arrows they can use all year long. Many wonderful people in the LIS community put together book lists and ideas that can be used throughout June to highlight these resources. But don’t just sequester these ideas in the back of your mind and pack up all the rainbows when July 1 rolls around!
Taking a moment to focus on a specific kind of literature is good. In the midst of busy professional lives, it is always helpful to have a reminder to highlight diverse voices and experiences that often get overlooked. But just as important as having these reminders, it’s also important to remember to not segregate services to a particular underserved community to their “special” month. A library might miss an observance because it doesn’t fit into the programming calendar. June is often busy in public libraries with the launch of summer reading. Many school libraries and media centers are closed with their schools during June. And sometimes, people just forget.
Take the books that were highlighted last month and mix them into displays about other topics they connect to. Work them into a community story. Make sure that queer content is easily discoverable in the catalog and the library’s digital resources. And for librarians who are new to highlighting GLBTQ resources for children, there are a lot of good resources to look out for. Places to start looking include:
- GLBT Book Month website
- June is GLBT Book Month by Helen Adams on Knowledge Quest
- Rainbow Book List (annual list of materials compiled by the GLBT Round Table for children and teens)
- Stonewall Book Award Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award
- Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers: A Toolkit for Librarians and Library Workers
We as librarians don’t want children from GLBTQ families to feel welcome and represented in the library just one month out of the year–we want them to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are always welcome. That takes a concerted effort to make sure that materials that reflect their lives and experiences are available in programs and displays throughout the year, no matter what is going on.