PFLAG Bellevue/Eastside works with local school and public librarians so they can provide LGBTQ students a supportive, accepting space and appropriate books and resources. This page contains tips for creating inclusive libraries as well as LGBTQ book lists.
If you have suggestions for books, resources, or ways to support LGBTQ students through libraries, please contact us. We also welcome to you to attend our monthly meetings, where we often feature guest speakers who address issues that impact LGBTQ youth.
Enhancing Your School Library for LGBTQ Students
LGBTQ students are statistically more vulnerable to bullying, harassment, depression, and suicide, so access to supportive and educational materials can be both powerful and life-saving. Public and school libraries can provide LGBTQ students a safe place for exploration. Often youth who seek such resources need the assurance of privacy, as they might not feel ready or safe to come out to their families and peers. Here are some ways your library can support LGBTQ students:
- Become familiar with the legal rights of students to have access to LGBTQ books. Consult this article from Lambda Legal for an excellent overview.
- Include low cost or free LGBTQ materials in your library holdings (as well as display areas), such as brochures and similar publications, to provide affordable up-do-date information that students can easily and rapidly read.
- Set up regular displays of LGBTQ books/resources in your library, and where possible, include books with LGBTQ characters/themes in other displays. Some students might hesitate to approach an open LGBTQ display, so also include a quiet display, where you set up the books in a visible place without explicitly indicating they cover LGBTQ topics.
- Display and signal safety, by hanging Safe Space stickers and posters throughout the library, like the Safe School Set from GLSEN, so that LGBTQ students can easily— and privately—understand that your library is an inclusive and accepting place.
- Ensure staff access to LGBTQ books/resources, so that counselors, teachers, and the school nurse are familiar with your holdings or posses their own copies in their offices for distribution to students.
- Apply for a grant from the Pride Foundation to procure more LGBTQ books and resources for your school or to fund a long-term library project that will enhance the lives of LGBTQ students.
- Create a forum or mail list for local librarians and educators to share books lists, display concepts, and other ways to support LGBTQ students.
LGBTQ Books Lists
- Middle School Book List is based on feedback from several librarians from local middle schools and is for “tween” readers.
- Rainbow Book List is created by Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association. When you click on Rainbow Lists tab you see the book lists by year, and within each year, the titles are separated into Juvenile and Young Adult. The Juvenile fiction list is appropriate for middle school students. This list is updated each year.
- KCLS Recommends: Teens is created by the King County Library System, which provides lists of books on LGBTQ topics, based on recommendations from librarians.
For additional resources,
- King County Library System has many LGBTQ titles in its holdings and is often receptive to order requests for additional LGBTQ resources.
- Gay City has its own library of LGBTQ books that you can visit in Seattle and view via its online catalog (you need to register for online catalog access).
Also consult Safe Schools for organizations that work to promote safer schools and provide free or low cost information.