Pride Month Display & Book Recommendations

If you follow me on Twitter, you might’ve seen me post about my (small, inclusive, non-offensive) Pride Month display (pictured below) that I put up in the library that was taken down.

Pride Month Display

 

I couldn’t care less about the work I put into the display. What I care about are the teens who didn’t get to see the display before it got taken down, who didn’t get to find a book that they could find themselves in, who didn’t get to see that at least one librarian cares about them in this state. I’m sad because none of the teens who could’ve benefited from this display were asked what they thought about it. I’m sad because before the display was taken down, FOUR of the books in the display were checked out, which means at least one teen saw that display and thought, “Wow. This is for me,” but no other teens were given that option.

I can’t say much about the display or why it was taken down, unfortunately. There was a much longer post here, but all I’m going to say no is that the display was taken down. Kayla, the young adult librarian at one of the other libraries in our system, also had to take her display down (pictured below).

Kayla's display

What Kayla had to say:

What you’re saying is, “The kids who need these books, this visibility, and this support are not as important as the people who might get upset about it.”
….
What I just got told, by the people who refer to us all as a family, is that I can only be proud of myself if other people don’t have to see it. What I just got told, by the people who are supposed to uphold the idea of freedom of information for the public, who are supposed to serve the community as best they possibly can, is that some parts of that community matter more than others.

Good to know.

Kayla and I are not giving up and we will continue to find a way to continue to support our LGBTQIAP+ youth and ALL youth in our communities.

————————————

So while all of this was happening, someone asked me on Twitter so share a list of the books I put in my display so he could add them to his TBR. I wanted to share them with all of you, so here’s the list of books I had in my display plus a few I wanted to include but were already checked out. I hope that you’ll find at least one of them that will benefit you.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Anything Could Happen by Will Walton
Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
What We Left Behind by Robin Talley
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Two Boys Kissing and Every Day by David Levithan (honestly, everything by David Levithan)
In Real Life by Joey Graceffa
Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Binge by Tyler Oakley
Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

A Work in Progress by Connor Franta
Breakthrough: How One Teen Innovator Is Changing the World by Jack Andraka
More Than This by Patrick Ness
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Far from You by Tess Sharpe
Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

Other books that I wanted in my display but they are already checked out (which is even better):

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Winger and Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Jerkbait by Mia Siegert
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

There are so many other books I wanted to include. I would also recommend checking out Dahlia Adler’s LGBTQ Reads website for more recommendations!

If you are interested in hearing about what happens with this situation, I’ll be tweeting updates, so follow me @StefaniSloma.

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30 thoughts on “Pride Month Display & Book Recommendations

  1. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is unbelievable to me, only I guess I have to believe it. Is this a public library? Not that it makes sense in a school library either. They are BOOKS, people On display. That’s all. It’s not like people are having gay sex on the countertops. It’s not like you are saying, “For every Nicholas Sparks novel you check out, you have to take one from this display.” I may be naive, but I don’t think this would happen in Oregon–in fact, I know my public library has such displays, and amongst the many genre pamphlets in the YA section there is a GLBQT titles one. Have you contacted anyone from Banned Books or NCAC to see what kind of support you can get? Because that is so WRONG. Argh. Hang in there.

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  4. It makes me terribly sad and frustrated that you had to take your display down. I loved it and am glad that at least one teen saw got to use the display. We just updated our LGBTQ reading booklist at our library and I am very glad we did. Great list!

  5. Knowing you as I do, I’m sure this upset you GREATLY, and I can only say I’m sorry this happened, and I hope you stay strong and don’t give up helping, supporting and encouraging others, especially your YA patrons. You are a FAB person, and I’m shocked and disappointed that your display was taken down. Horrible behaviour from an establishment I thought more of. Big hugs, you keep doing you R xxx

  6. I live in Seattle where we have rainbow sidewalks in certain parts of town, but even so our community is met with resistance sometimes. It’s infuriating and just plain sad. Thank you for fighting for those teens who may feel they have no place to turn to and no voice.

  7. Keep on keeping on and things will eventually change. Our city now raises a gay pride flag above city hall every June. It will happen where you live too someday because the younger generations are more open minded. Kudos to you! 👍

  8. I know you said the display was meant for teens to find themselves in these books, and that’s just what they’ll do – whether a teen identifies as LGBQTIA+ or not. These books also allow straight kids connect and empathize with their peers, and hopefully ensure they don’t grow up to be closed-minded grown-ups like the bigoted parents you’ve encountered. It’s so important for everyone to be reading diversely. So sorry for what you’ve had to endure. Thank you for sharing this experience as it may encourage other librarians to share their experiences or make displays of their own.

  9. I’m a high school librarian, and our kids are out for the summer when LGBT Pride month rolls around (such irony), but I’m going to bookmark this post and do a similar display in the fall, when our kids are back.

  10. This post is so inspiring! I know that it did not have the outcome for which you had hoped. I know that you and your colleague hoped to make a huge splash, but unfortunately most revolutions do not happen in one big tidal wave. They begin with one small drop. And that is what you did! You and your colleague made one drop in a still lake.

    Those four books that someone checked out were that drop. And while a drop might seem small and insignificant, it can create ripple effects. And those ripples will spread far and wide until it reaches out across the entire lake!

    The teen(s) who checked out those books will read them and the pass the titles along to their friends! And those friends will tell their friends. And some teacher will see a student reading that LGBTQ title and will look into it and add it to her classroom library, and then more kids will see it, and so on and so forth.

    I know this is true, because that was how I first learned of LGBTQ titles to include in my classroom library. I saw a student reading Aristotle and Dante, and I asked him about the book. He told me about the plot, and I asked him where he got it. He told me he got it at the local library because one of his friends told him about it. So I ran to the bookstore, bought 3 copies, read one, and added them to my classroom library. Then I pitched those books to every kid I could, LGBTQ or straight, I didn’t care. And that is how I found more titles.

    It’s might seem sad that your display wasn’t seen by more teens or that I didn’t think to add LGBTQ titles to my classroom library until 3 years ago, but it’s not sad; it’s revolutionary! Every little drop counts! Please keep up the good fight with lots and lots of little drops like this wonderful display effort, and eventually we will create tsunamis together!

  11. This distresses me so much, and I’m so sorry those things happened to your display! Thinking about the lost opportunities for teens to find such books really breaks my heart. Fingers crossed that you’ll get a positive reply from the senior library consultant and you can continue spreading the love! ❤

  12. So glad that you took the initiative to create this display and that at least one person was able to benefit from it. So sorry that the library wasn’t more supportive. Stay strong- what you’re doing matters. Being a kid/teenager is HARD, especially if you’re different from what mainstream society says you should be. Thanks for helping them.

  13. I’m sure you’ve already figured out that I just saw this on Twitter, and I’m so sad for you and your teen patrons. It just makes me so sad for all of the kids out there who really need these books and these characters so they can see that there are people out there who understand and respect them. It makes me sad that they won’t get the same chance that other teens will. It makes me sad that one close-minded person can think that she can just say whatever she wants to get things that will help others removed. But mostly, it just makes me sad that we live in a world full of intolerance and with so many unaccepting people.

    I haven’t ventured to my public library this month, but I’m betting that they probably didn’t even make a display because the teen and children’s section are in the same wing – literally overlapping and sharing space. I might have to go out and see if anything was done for Pride Month.

  14. Ahhh Stef! I only saw your tweets in passing but this is such terrible news to hear that there are individuals actively against this display; which, from your image, isn’t even blatantly in-your-face as what the patron makes it out to be (at least that’s how I understood it). I wish you well on your fight!

  15. There is a group of people in this country who aren’t content with just avoiding things they aren’t comfortable with. They feel compelled to silence those topics for everyone else as well. I’m sorry this happened to you, and furthermore I’m sorry for library management for being put in this difficult position.

  16. I still can’t believe we live in such a disgusting world. I’m filled with sadness and rage over how your display was treated. I hate that there are some places that wouldn’t even dare to dream about trying to set up a display like this out of fear of their community. We never got to experience a world where everyone can open their hearts to the idea that humans are humans, no matter who we love or what we identify as, and we all deserve the same love and respect, but I have faith that if we are diligent about teaching love to our future generations this then humanity will get to that place. So thank you for being one of those humans who is trying their hardest to ensure that kids of the future aren’t scared to be who they are, and love who they want to love.

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