In late June 1969, LGBT patrons and neighbors of the Stonewall Inn – a popular bar that catered to the LGBT community of the Greenwich Village neighborhood in Manhattan – protested and rioted in the streets after police raided the inn. These protests and riots became the catalyst for the modern LGBT rights movement in the United States, and thus June became the month chosen to celebrate LGBT Pride.
June – as of 2015 – was also appropriately declared GLBT Book Month by the American Library Association. Authors and literature reflecting the experience of the LGBT community are highlighted and celebrated. I’ve included a visual menu of the 2019 Rainbow Book List for elementary age students, as well as some additional titles I recommend as you build your collection to represent LGBTQ students and families in your community. You can download it by clicking here.
Unfortunately, many of these books have been or will be challenged by parents or even other teachers within schools deeming them inappropriate. In turn, this makes many teachers and librarians nervous about including these books in a classroom or school library collection. But if you are nervous, take a minute to ponder these three portions of the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights which also apply to school library programs. Perhaps after reading these statements – particularly the underlined portions – you will become more confident about including LGBTQ literature in your school or classroom library:
“Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.” From the ALA Library Bill of Rights
“Intellectual freedom, the essence of equitable library services, provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored. Toleration is meaningless without tolerance for what some may consider detestable. Librarians cannot justly permit their own preferences to limit their degree of tolerance in collection development, because freedom is indivisible.” From the ALA Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
“Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that only parents and guardians have the right and the responsibility to determine their children’s—and only their children’s—access to library resources. Parents and guardians who do not want their children to have access to specific library services, materials, or facilities should so advise their children.” From the ALA Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
To further celebrate Pride month, I’m offering a set of FREE posters and bookmarks featuring quotes from the first openly elected gay official, Harvey Milk. You can display them and hand them out in your libraries or classrooms this month, and every month. Click here for the FREE posters and here for the FREE bookmarks.