On Beyond Stonewall: Young Adult Literature with LGBTQ Content

On Monday, October 3, 2011, over fifty students, staff and community members gathered to hear Dr. Christine Jenkins speak on the topic of the history of LGBTQ in young adult literature at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. Titled “On Beyond Stonewall: Young Adult Literature with LGBTQ Content,” Dr. Jenkins took the audience back to 1969, when the first novel was published (I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip) and discussed the developments of the literature since then up through the present day. Through Dr. Jenkins’ talk, we learned about the development – glacial though its pace may be – of young adult literature with LGBTQ content, and whether or not and to what extent it provides meaningful and accurate reflections for young people.

LGBTQ Literature!After her talk, students and other attendees browsed through over 100 LGBTQ YA books that were displayed on the stage. It was quite striking to see a visual presentation of the growth of the literature over the years. The organizers of the event (me – assistant professor Sarah Park and my student assistant Laura Camp) created placards indicating the decades in which the books were published: 1 in 1969, a handful in the 1970s; a handful more in the 1980s and 1990s, and then an explosion in the 2000s. Audience members repeatedly commented on how wonderful it was to see this visual representation and to be able to look through so many of the books.

In an effort to get more of our students involved in YALSA, we displayed YALSA posters on the walls and placed flyers and other materials alongside refreshments prepared by members of the St. Kate’s Library and Information Science program.

Dr. Jenkins, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has written extensively about LGBTQ YA literature. She is the co-author (with Michael Cart) of The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969-2004(Scarecrow Press, 2006).Christine Jenkins

The event was hosted by St. Catherine University’s Master of Library and Information Science Program.

Posted on behalf of Sarah Park, Ph.D.

It’s not too late to jump on the YALSA Road Trip! Our focus this year is getting into ALA accredited Library Schools, and getting those up and coming librarians involved in YALSA. For those of us who are teen oriented, working with teens in libraries is a no-brainer, but this is a chance to bring the word to the next crop of librarians coming into the work force. Any library school student or faculty member can volunteer their time and get a program going in their school.

As you may have seen in the YALSA eNews, there are plenty of materials available to anyone who wants to have a YALSA event at their school. A road trip event is what you make of it- invite students, school librarians and public librarians to come together for a coffee klatch and start networking, share information about YALSA and how to get involved in serving teens on a national level with others, or share ideas about teen programming and services. The possibilities really are only limited by your imagination.

The YALSA Road Trip website has a free toolkit available to download, some ideas to get you started, and other resources you can use to make your event a success. Sign up and tell us what you’re planning on doing this year!

Everyone wants to go on a road trip!’  Here is your chance to join YALSA’s LIS (Library and Information School) Road Trip!

Launching in 2011 this road trip will focus on the LIS’s around the country.’  We want students and professors to host an event, a program or happy hour on each of the ALA accredited schools to help faculty and students be aware of what YALSA does.’  We will contact the ALA Student Chapters as well to engage them in our road trip!’  Look for future announcements on the blog and on a newly created wiki space.’  The LIS Road Trip Task Force is looking for volunteers to promote YALSA and the values of membership to our future librarians!’  The Task Force will be creating promotional materials, how to sign up and how to market your event.’  Please contact Jerene Battisti, chair, if you have ideas or questions at jdbattisti@kcls.org.