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Libraries as Safe Spaces
Tools for Librarians: Make Your Library Safe and Affirming for All Students
Whether you are school-based or at a community library you've probably observed young people who find safety and solace among the stacks. They sit and read during lunch and do their homework after school. They may come to the library to escape the taunting of peers or disapproval of their parents. They may come to the library to be safe. But that’s just the start of it. With your help, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth can use your library to enrich their lives as they search the web, read and explore your collection to learn about themselves and the world around them.
What type of environment are you creating in your library?
Do your library rules include respect for all visitors and are those rules posted where everyone can see them?
Do you intervene when you see name-calling or bullying in-person or online?
Does your collection include books, periodicals and media with LGBT-related themes for all age levels?
Do you display books and hang posters with diverse faces and families?
Do you ensure access to LGBT-related content on the internet (you’d be surprised how many schools and libraries can’t access GLSEN.org or other LGBT organizations and resources)?
Do you celebrate LGBT-related events, such as LGBT History Month (October), Ally Week (October), No Name-Calling Week (January), Day of Silence (April), and LGBT Pride Month (June)?
Do you incorporate LGBT-related materials into other events, such as Banned Books Week (September), Holocaust Remembrance Day (January), Black History Month (February), Read Across America (March), Women’s History Month (March)?
Are your library accmmodations (restroom, etc.) safe and accessible for all patrons, including transgender youth?
Do you provide space for Gay Straight Alliances or local LGBT youth organizations to meet?
To find out how you can make your library safer and more affirming for LGBT students, check out our Tools for Librarians.