This is an important topic for youth services librarians to be aware of. Children and teens are coming in contact with more technology and media than ever. when they come into the library for help or pleasure we can use this as an opportunity to teach them indirectly or directly. Pierce’s Sex, Brains, and Video Games instructs librarians that their job is to educate teens and parents on how to be information literate.
The librarian could do this many ways by acquisition of materials, classes for teens and parents on this topic, and instruction at the reference desk or through print or online resources. Librarians should not only provide the resources but the education of it as well in how to use them. It is also critical to work with the people who also interact with teens, their parents or caregivers, teachers, education professionals, and community leaders. With a combined vision of how information literacy should be taught to this group can greatly increase the chance of a positive outcome.
Pierce also recommends that librarians always be on the lookout of new information and technology so we can stay on the cusp of popular media and are able to provide information and instruction about the newest technology. It is imperative for librarians to stay ahead of the game. This way we can be the information provider to children and teens, which in turn will lead to more returning patrons.
The underrepresented users in the library are the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning better known as GLBTQ. Alexander and Miselis in their article note that this group is not represented in the library by the amount of materials offered. There are many possible reasons that explain this including censorship. But why should libraries recognize these patrons?
This user group tends to be teens or young adults and if young adult librarians can reach out to them and offer a welcoming comforting environment then they are likely to become a life long user. Plus public libraries are public spaces and shouldn’t discriminate against any person or user. Society has recently become of aware of this group as a member of society and librarians should include them in their collection development as a whole.
As Alexander and Miselis have proved in their study GLBTQ teens have information needs and the library is a logical place for them to acquire them. YA librarians need to be aware of the collection development policy at their library and how they can obtain materials for these users. Censorship and even self-censorship effects the collection development for GLTBQ material in the library. Administration and YA librarians need to work together to understand the need for materials that can aid these teen’s needs. Because not even considering GLTBQ materials is censorship and librarians have a duty to include all of the different types of users.
There are great materials and book lists provided by the professional organizations that supply great books to add to the collection. This is helpful because it can aid the YA librarian who is unsure what to add, and it is good evidence to the library board and admistration that librarians as a group are thinking about this user group.
Great books to include in your collection that cover these topics:
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson; Peter Parnell; Henry Cole
Putting makeup on the fat boy by Bill Wright and Lauren Linn
Money boy by Paul Yee
Sweet like Sugar by Wayne Hoffman
With or without you by Brian Farrey
Pink by Lili Wilkinson
Alexander and Miselis, “Barriers to GLBTQ Collection Development and Strategies for Overcoming Them,” Young Adult Library Services, Spring 2007, pp. 43-49