I’m not sure I would feel comfortable with separating GBLTQ and African American fiction from the regular collection because of the segregation it promotes within the collection. I would uncomfortable with limiting impressive works by dedicated authors that strived to put their best selves into the work they created by segregating them within the library’s collection. Just as we should encourage graphic novel readers, we should also encourage those who enjoy these genres, instead of segregating them unfairly. It undermines the library’s mission to be an inclusive community of readers and learners.
I feel as though, when we do limit books to one specific genre, we alienate the readers that may be looking for the said title that may fit into more than one category or genre. It is at the patron’s expense when they must continually search for a novel they want to read when it has a variety of categorizations and potential genres. GBLTQ and African American fiction can involve romance, suspense, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy, and these works should not be separated because they address the controversy of another race or sexuality. It limits the patrons, and they could, rightly so, feel frustrated and alienated as a result.
Patrons are the focus of any library, and their reading interests should be met without judgment or with separation within the collection. This applies to African American and GBLTQ fiction because they may represent potential controversy. Controversy occurs within the library with regards to banned books, the freedom of speech, and the right to creative expression. These works should not be separated within the library’s collection because patrons may feel hesitant to browse these sections as they may feel judged for their desire to read these books. Just as one might feel judged for preferring graphic novels or YA books, one preferring GBLTQ or African American fiction may feel the same pressure. This is what we should strive to prevent in our mission as library professionals that seek to create a welcoming environment for all patrons.
We should be prepared to encourage and support those seeking African American and GBLTQ fiction as we would support and encourage those seeking for YA books or graphic novels. They have an important place in the library’s collection, and limiting these impressive works by separation may discourage the patrons that are seeking to read them. Though I am unsure of what strategy I would use to prevent this, I know this discouragement is not something I would want to occur in whatever library I begin my career in. I would strive to find a convenient and easy way to catalog the library’s collection for the benefit of the patrons that come to the library.