The School Library – An Unofficial Refuge

In the late 80s, my family immigrated to the United States. It was the beginning of my 7th grade year and still stand out in my memory as a lonely and difficult time. Two spaces became havens for me: the middle school choir room and the school library. It is no wonder that I eventually became a music teacher and then a school librarian – that is how powerful of an impact a welcoming educator can make on a child. In previous blog posts, BACC bloggers focused on creating a collection that reflects cultural and global diversity. To close out this month’s topic, I’d like to focus on a group of children who are not always welcomed or reflected in our collections.

One group of teens that struggle to feel included, and a group many of us feel unprepared to serve, are LGBTQ youth: “With 82 percent of LGBTQ students reporting verbal harassment, among other forms of bullying, according to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) 2011 School Climate Report, finding a space to feel safe may be particularly crucial for these students” (SLJ Post). As you develop your library programs and collections, consider ways you can be an unofficial refuge, a safe space for ALL students. Here are excellent resources to help you get started;

1. LGBTQ and You: How to Support Your Students

2. Library: LGBT Youth & Schools Resources and Links

3. The Basics of an Inclusive Library

Happy 2016 Everyone!

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