When we think about diversity, it’s easy to confine the discussion to diversity within the collection or within YA literature more broadly. And there are great conversations going on there, from tumblr to Twitter, with YA authors and librarians and readers talking about representation and privilege and our responsibility to serve all teens.
But what about diversity within your library programs?
The library is often an attractive meeting space for groups that otherwise have very little to do with the library. In my district, the library hosts town employee benefit fairs, career morning panels, nursing presentations and many other outside groups simply because the town doesn’t have much in the way of dedicated meeting space. The library also closes early once a month for faculty meetings largely because there’s nowhere else to put the entire faculty at once.
Similarly, the library became the home for the Gay-Straight Alliance more or less out of convenience. I moved both of the extra-curricular groups I advise–the yearbook and GSA–into the library so that I could attend meetings and still more or less keep an eye on the after-school crowd in the library. Holding GSA meetings and events in the library for five years, though, has taught me how well-suited the two are for each other.
1. Built-in meeting space.