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    Entries in Libraries and Librarians (11)


    U.S. public libraries: We lose them at our peril -

    Great Ed-Op piece in the Los Angeles Times. An excerpt:

    The people who welcome us to the library are idealists, who believe that accurate information leads to good decisions and that exposure to the intellectual riches of civilization leads to a better world. The next Abraham Lincoln could be sitting in their library, teaching himself all he needs to know to save the country. While they help us get online, employed and informed, librarians don't try to sell us anything. Nor do they turn around and broadcast our problems, send us spam or keep a record of our interests and needs, because no matter how savvy this profession is at navigating the online world, it clings to that old-fashioned value, privacy. (A profession dedicated to privacy in charge of our public computers? That's brilliant.) They represent the best civic value out there, an army of resourceful workers that can help us compete in the world.

    You can read the entire article here: U.S. public libraries: We lose them at our peril - I don't want to see this institution come to an end. Save our libraries!


    John Green calls librarians the secret superheroes of the world. Yep. That's us!

    This is an oldie, but with the ALA 2010 Annual Conference coming up in Washington D.C. June 24-30, a conference that I am sadly going to miss, I thought a repeat viewing of John's video from the 2008 conference might be fun.


    Oh, and if you haven't read Will Grayson, Will Grayson yet, click here and and buy it. Seriously. What a great book! And if you attend the conference in D.C., please tell John I love him!!! Hank, too. John will be signing books with co-author David Levithan (whom I have a secret crush on as well) at the Penguin Young Readers' Group, Booth 2500.

    [tweetmeme source="JanetTrumble" only_single=false]Visit The Vlogbrothers online for lots of great videos by John and his brother Hank. Nerdfighters rule!


    Proof that guys read romance too!

    Another amazing teen blogger in his post He's Reading WHAT? The In's and Out's of a Guy Who Reads Romances just confirmed what I've suspected all along--guys like romance too! But as John, a 15-year-old Pennsylvanian, so eloquently describes, prejudices often send readers like him underground:

    One of John's favorite romances! Yes, covers can be problematic for boys.

    I’m tired of feeling shame for reading and loving romance in all of its genres. I’m a guy, sure, but that doesn’t mean anything. Guys, gay and straight, get into relationships and fall in love, so why the hell aren’t we allowed to read about it?

    Going to the library is like entering a warzone as an enemy spy. Many experiences have taught me that someone is going to see the cover. How do I explain checking out a Regency romance or a Christopher Rice? As much as I love my library and my librarian for giving me the opportunity to check out these books in any way I can, it’s just not enough. I still have parents to deal with, school friends to watch, and a life to live. But do I want to be called a girl? No. Do I want to be outed by a simple book cover? No. But I shouldn’t have to worry about that.

    [tweetmeme source="JanetTrumble" only_single=false]John's post should remind all of us that readers don't always fit in neat little boxes. I encourage you to check out the full post along with some of his awesome book reviews on his blog Dreaming in Books.


    Gay teen blogger/book reviewer takes librarians to task over LGBT lit

    Fifteen-year-old Kentucky blogger Brent--reader, writer, and all around amazing young man--is my guest blogger today. I encourage you to visit his fun blog, Naughty Book Kitties.

    The members of the LGBT community are constantly being told that they are nothing. Pretty much all of society says, "You're worthless. You're disgusting. You don't even register on my radar." And when that is all we hear of being "gay," then it starts to become what we see as the truth. We're worthless, right? So why even try to do good? We're disgusting, right? So why even try to act respectably? We're inferior, right? So why even try to establish self-esteem? So with everyone expecting nothing much out of us gays, it's our job to be extraordinary. Everything we do, it has to be extraordinary and above. Not only to prove the world wrong, but to prove ourselves wrong. To help keep the words "worthless," "disgusting," and "inferior" out of our minds. With the world directing all this ugliness toward us, the gays, we have to find beauty in other things. And the easiest place to find beauty? Words. Literature.

    I've always been told by kids on the playground that I was "gay." I never knew what "gay" was, but I knew it was something I sure didn't want to be--kids would crinkle their noses and giggle in a na-na-na-na sort-of-way at the mention of "gay." It wasn't until middle school that I found out what "gay" was. Of course, I knew that I was, in fact, gay, but I denied it to myself. I mean, isn't middle school all about fitting in? I'd always enjoyed reading, but my passion for it really solidified when I realized I was different from all of my friends. I felt comfortable with books, with the characters. I knew that they didn't care whether I was different or not. They were just characters, after all, and they were too busy telling me their story to care whether or not I was gay. Reading was my escape. I felt normal while reading. (In most books, the characters' problems were greater than my own, so it gave me a chance to say, "at least my life ain't that damn bad.")

    Around eighth grade, it really settled into my head that I liked boys, not girls. (No wonder my attempts at having girlfriends never worked out!) I still tried to suppress it, but I was more open to the idea of being gay. And then, I met my now-best friend. Destinie. As we got to know each other, we found we shared a love for artisticism. I, reading, she, writing. Through her writing, I saw she felt the same as me. About everything. So, we were close. I grew to admire her. When she came out to me, as a lesbian, I realized that "gay" wasn't a bad thing. So, I came out to her. And we spoke through reading and writing. "Omg, House of Night has a gay character!" "Really?" "Totally. And he's uber hot. You know you wanna hit this book up." "Of course. You know how I treat my books behind closed doors."

    Destinie and I spent our days in Borders and on looking for gay characters. The only ones we could find were the ones in the adult section (not that we were complaining! Have you read those steamy, passionate sex scenes? *Sigh*). I found one that seemed like what we were looking for. What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson. I read it. Then Destinie read it. We talked about. And cried about it. People really write about this stuff? I thought. It felt . . . great. Imagine that you are an alien on your own planet. And imagine you find out that there are more aliens, just like you, on your planet. And imagine what it would be like--to know that someone knows what it's like. What you're going through.

    I spent the rest of the year reading books like What They Always Tell Us. I read my way through Tom Dolby, Robin Reardon, Julie Ann Peters, and David Levithan.

    Hayden Thorne, a wonderful writer, once described LGBT fiction to me in a great way. She basically said that there are two types LGBT books: books about gay characters, and books whose characters just happen to be gay. All of those books, I saw, fell under the first category. While I really enjoyed reading about gay struggles, I was ready for something that was just a pure (gay) romance. I wanted to read Romeo and Julio instead of Romeo and Juliet.I didn't want to read the usual coming-out story (there's an abundance of those!). I was ready to see gay characters trickling into the mainstream genres. And I was so excited when I did.

    The House of Night series (written by P.C. and Kristin Cast) is one of my favorites. Not only because of the killer storyline and writing, but because of the way P.C. and Kristin just seem to understand--everything! Their series is in no way LGBT, but they do an excellent job at executing novels that fall under the second category that Hayden Thorne mentioned to me. Books who just happen to have gay characters. They really made "gay" seem natural--which it is! Lucy Silag also wrote a series, The Beautiful Americans Trilogy, which just happens to have a gay character. Second category, again. With gay characters moving over into a variety of genres, it shows that people, writers, are seeing gays as normal. Whose stories can be enjoyed by "regular" (straight) people. Hopefully, all of this greatness will lead to more acceptance of LGBT novels.

    When I set out to find more LGBT titles, I turned to my school's library. Honestly? It was pathetic. There was not one single LGBT novel. But oh, of course the librarian went out of her way to buy books about gangs, drugs, and teen pregnancy. Like, for real, the people who actually do care about gangs, drugs, and teen sex sure as hell don't read--they're too busy (note: gangs, drugs, and teen sex. Yeah, they're going to interrupt all that fabulous action to sit and read a good novel!). When I asked her about it, she replied, "This is a school library. If you are looking to read inappropriate titles, go to a book store." Uhm, how in the hell is LGBT YA lit "inappropriate"?

    I mean, think about it. Let it register: The librarian claimed LGBT novels were inappropriate, yet she approved of books that had heterosexual sex. Yeah, she was being gay-cist! It wasn't until May of 2009 (my last month of attending that school) that she bought a book that mentioned gays. It was Ellen Hopkins' Impulse. FINALLY!

    My city's public libraries werent much better. The only LGBT book they had was The Meaning of Mathew. But of course they had the latest Sharon M. Draper novel! You know, because drugs and gangs are acceptable, but inspirational LGBT novels are just downright "inappropriate." After I put in numerous requests for David Levithan titles, they finally bought Boy Meets Boy and Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I hope that an LGBT teen in need stumbled across one of those books that I pushed for the library to get. And I hope it helped that person out.

    The world needs more librarians who serve the purpose of finding the right book to put in the right person's lap. Not librarians who think that they can decide what's "inappropriate" and what's not, based on their personal prejudices. There are tons of gay teens, struggling to find a group to fit in. LGBT YA lit helps us find out that no, we aren't alone and no, we aren't worthless or disgusting. It helps us discover that we are part of a group. The LGBT group. Which is the group to be in. Tons of brilliant people, doing brilliant things, fighting for brilliant causes (Straight people with gay tendencies included).

    [tweetmeme source="JanetTrumble" only_single=false]You can read Brent's best-interview-ever with GLBT YA author Alex Sanchez (the Rainbow Boys) here. You don't want to miss this one!!!


    Everybody's doing GaGa . . . even librarians!

    [tweetmeme source="JanetTrumble" only_single=false][youtube=]
    Someone posted this on our LM_NET, a librarians' list-serv. LOVE. IT. The comments posted below the video on YouTube are hysterical, as long as you're not sensitive to tired librarian stereotypes. Virgins and lesbians? Seriously? Remember what your mama said--it's those quiet ones you have to watch out for! LOL.