This book breaks new ground, offering school and public librarians serving children in grades K–8 a roadmap for implementing and upholding queer-inclusive programs, policies, and services.
School and public librarians are serving ever greater numbers of LGBTQIA+ children and families. Transgender children may begin to express a strong sense of gender identity as early as 2–3 years of age. Children are also identifying as gay much sooner than earlier generations—often between the ages of 7 and 12. Additionally, more children than ever before are living with LGBTQIA+ caregivers.
In seeking to make our programs and services inclusive and equitable for these growing populations, librarians may court controversy and face community backlash from patrons who feel queer-inclusive content is inappropriate for young children. This book codifies a set of best practices for librarians as they rise to this challenge, defining queer-inclusive programs, identifying potential barriers to implementation, and offering strategies and resources to overcome them.
Resources for Additional Support
- Focuses on inclusive library programs and services for children in grades K–8, not teens or adults
- Pushes librarians to see beyond the collection when considering young LGBTQIA+ patrons' needs
- Guides librarians through the process of adapting their existing services and practices for greater inclusivity
- Equips librarians to confront community pushback against inclusive children's programming
Lucy Santos Green, EdD, is professor of information science at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. In addition to editing two other books on flipped learning in higher education and collaborative instructional partnerships, she has authored more than 40 articles and presented internationally and nationally more than 120 times on school librarianship, technology-enabled inquiry learning, and digital learning environments. Green currently leads EQuIP, a federally funded research project investigating the impact of school librarian collaborative teaching on student learning.
Jenna Spiering, PhD, is assistant professor of information science at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters and has presented nationally and internationally about issues pertaining to school librarianship, including young adult literature (particularly graphic novels and LGBTQIA+ literature), issues of censorship and selection, curation, and literature discussion. She was recently awarded a 2020 AASL Research Grant.
Vanessa Lynn Kitzie, PhD, is assistant professor of information science at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. She currently leads two federally funded research projects focused on understanding how LGBTQIA+ communities in South Carolina address their health questions and concerns and facilitating these practices via public and medical librarian partnerships. She co-leads a project examining library staff and drag performer perceptions of and experiences with drag storytimes. Kitzie has recently received the ALISE ProQuest Methodology Paper award and the University of South Carolina Breakthrough Scholar award.
Julia Erlanger, MSLIS, is a youth services librarian for Sacramento Public Library in Sacramento, CA. She specializes in queer youth services and has a background in gender studies. Teen patrons have described her as "super excited about things" and "weird, but like, good weird." She earned her masters in library and information science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with a specialization in youth services, and was awarded the school's Anne M. Boyd/Beta Phi Mu Award, in 2014. This is her first publication.
Reviews"An invaluable guide for libraries seeking to serve all children."—Booklist, October 21, 2022
At a time when book challenges are at an all time high, and some states are even seeking to legislate the erasure of narratives that affirm queer identities specifically, LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Children’s Librarianship by Santos Green et al, is a potentially life saving resource. As the authors point out in the very first chapter, while visibility and acceptance of queer identities has increased greatly in the last few decades, this progress has been met with highly organized, “targeted pushback against attempts to include LGBTQIA+ youth and their stories in public spaces such as libraries and schools.” The erasure of queer stories and experiences from library shelves, displays and programming is particularly distressing when overlapped with the reality that “[a] large percentage of LGBTQIA+ youth report symptoms of anxiety and depression, including self-harming behaviors and suicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide).” In this context, it’s clear that librarians have a responsibility to create collections, spaces and programming that are both inclusive and affirming. Still, in today’s world, doing that work can feel difficult and even dangerous. With this in mind, Santos Green et al, not only acknowledge the personal and professional risk librarians sometimes face when advocating for their queer youth, they also provide resources and tips for overcoming resistance, personal discomfort and potentially confrontational challenges from community members. Indeed, rich with practical strategies for updating policies, procedures and programming LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Children’s Librarianship serves as a blueprint to meet this important moment. I can’t wait for librarians to have access to this empowering and essential book. —Jennifer LaGarde, Adjunct Professor, Rutgers University, Creator of librarygirl.net
This is required reading for librarians everywhere! This is relevant, important information. The library is the central hub of the school, and this is a guidebook to help ensure that it truly is. Go beyond the performative displays of allyship and use this book to go beyond decorations and get to the heart of issue. The helpful inclusive glossary of terms and student testimonies truly help capture the need for this book.—Cicely Lewis, School Librarian at Meadowcreek High School and Founder of Read Woke