ALA Annual 2012

#ALA12 Becoming an Ally

I feel safe in assuming that we all want our libraries to be welcoming, easily accessible, and safe for all of our customers. A powerful and important workshop at the ALA Conference was presented by GLSEN  (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) which helped me look at this issue from a slightly different perspective. Titled Fabulous Havens: Libraries as Safe Spaces for the Needs of LGBT Youth, this presentation focused on ways in which libraries can create safe, respectful and healthy environments for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Offering background information, research-based data, and ideas to help make libraries — both school and public — safe places for kids, this session made me think about the importance of respect for all kids and how important it is for young people to have both allies and advocates.  I’d love to hear how your library has addressed issues like name-calling, disrespect, hurtful language, or bullying among kids. As for me, I know I will be even more actively intervening in an effort to help all kids feel safe and welcome in the Library.

One comment

  1. Jennifer

    I’d love to hear what solutions others have come up with – our teen room is in the upstairs section of our library and therefore completely unsupervised, other than the security camera in the room (which doesn’t have sound of course) and complaints from the adults in the upstairs computer lab (the kids are noisy and disrespectful!). I KNOW stuff is going on, but the kids find the corners where the security cameras don’t reach. I have successfully impressed it on the kids minds that “retard” is never an acceptable word and merits instant kicking out, but I have not been successful in doing the same thing with “gay” and it’s sooooo frustrating!

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