June is Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (GLBT) Book Month, a national celebration of authors and books that reflects the GLBT experience. As a librarian, my career is centered on providing diverse collections of varying viewpoints, and to protect the rights of everyone to find books that match their lives and their experiences. Within our collection, if you want to find some LGBTQ books to get you started, our library’s staff has created a Readers Corner brochure highlighting LGBTQ books, authors, and series.
In 2015, a friend and fellow library director had the opportunity to learn firsthand how important that role is to her library customers and the entire community of 7,000. It all started with a planned event featuring I am Jazz, a picture book authored by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and based on Jenning’s experience growing up as a transgender girl.
The event was to be held at one of the public schools, but controversy forced the planner to relocate to the community’s public library. An unanticipated crowd of over 600 people gathered at the public library to show their support for a local family with a transgender child. The Library filled an important role that day, for that small town in Wisconsin, and the community is richer, healthier, and better for it. Read more about one community library’s response to the I Am Jazz controversy in this Wisconsin State Journal article.
GLBT Book Month is not just about celebrating authors, but is a way to express to the community that libraries are about and for everyone. To the GLBT community I want to personally say, “You are always welcome here. This is your place, your library.”