Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Week 14 Prompt Response

            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.


  1. Great post. I am always torn by this decision when patrons seem to be asking for genres to be shelved separately. My library interfiled all its fiction three years ago, and some people grumbled at first, but I think it was for the best, particularly because there was no space for the specific genre sections to expand in any direction.

    There is no guess work in how to find something specific: it's alphabetical by author. The only problem is users can't browse by genre, but our total collection is so small, it really doesn't matter. Additionally, we sticker inspirational, western, and mystery books.

    There is no one size fits all answer to how to shelve things. We have to take into consideration the expressed desires and unexpressed needs of our users.

  2. Hello April! I agree that separating these sections out promotes segregation of these materials and limits discoverability of items. One of the points in my own post was about items that fit into more than one genre or section. Where do these items go, especially if the library only purchased one item? Does one genre or section trump the others? Who decides this? I agree with Darcy that there is "no one size fits all answer" to this problem, but we somewhat just have to work with what we are given in our libraries.

  3. I am also in agreement that separating out these sections is not the best solution. I like how Darcy mentioned using a sticker system, and maybe stickers for African American and LGBTQ materials could be incorporated to make them easier to locate. I suppose each library would have to really evaluate their own collection and discover what works best for them.

  4. Great annotation! You did a great job backing up your point. Full points!

  5. I think that we should meet the challenge of controversy head on if need be if we feel that what we are doing in the library warrants that. I don't acknowledge the term, segregation because I know the library as a whole is against that. Thus I really don't feel that it would discourage anyone from wanting to look at those books but I do agree that we should always encourage and support our patrons though.