How Librarians in North Carolina are Working to Serve LGBTQ+ Youth

This week we’ll be looking at findings from Sarah's master’s paper research into how librarians in North Carolina are working to serve LGBTQ+ youth.

What We’ll Cover

This presentation will seek to answer three major questions:

1. What is the significance of this research?

In order to answer this question, we will look at:

  • The barriers LGBTQ+ youth face in terms of access and information
  • How library mission statements to “serve all patrons” necessitates services for LGBTQ+ youth
  • The benefits that arise when librarians work to ensure that LGBTQ+ youth have their information needs met and feel safe and welcome in the library

2. What does current research say about serving LGBTQ+ youth in the library?

In order to answer this question, we will look at:

  • What research has been done about services for LGBTQ+ youth in both school libraries and public libraires
  • What recommendations researchers have for best practices in serving LGBTQ+ youth
    This will involve discussion of the Wilkelstein reading

3. What are librarians in North Carolina doing to serve LGBTQ+ youth?

In order to answer this question, Sarah will give you all an overview of the interviews conducted with a mix of librarians from both larger, urban library systems and smaller, rural library systems and give a summary of the findings.


Read this and plan to post a consideration about it.

  1. Chapter 8: The Role of Public Libraries in the Lives of LGBTQ+ Youth Experiencing Homelessness by Julie Ann Wilkelstein in the book LGBTQ+ Librarianship in the 21st Century: Emerging Directions of Advocacy and Community Engagement in Diverse Information Environments edited by Bharat Mehra.
    You can also read it through UNC’s Library website
    • Content warnings for mentions of suicide, self-harm, drug-use, and homophobia including homophobic slurs.
    • This chapter was selected from the readings in the lit review because it provides a good basis on some of the challenges LGBTQ+ youth are experiencing, barriers to access and information inside the library, the perspectives of LGBTQ+ youth on the library, and a holistic overview of ways for librarians to serve LGBTQ+ youth in all aspects of the library, from collection development to outreach.

For your reflection, here are some topics we’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on:

  • What are your major take-aways from this reading?
  • Did anything surprise you or stand out to you?
  • Does this change your thinking on anything? Especially your perspective on serving members of the LGBTQ+ community or other marginalized communities?
  • What did you think of Winkelstein’s definition of the word welcoming? (See pg 207). How will you work to make your future library more welcoming to those who might not currently feel welcomed into that space?
  • What did you think about the “Attitude” section of the discussion? (See pg 213).
  • What recommendations stood out to you? Was there anything you would add to their list?

Kate Barr

Kate Barr

We will be joined by Kate Barr, SILS MSLS 2013.

Kate began as a volunteer at McDougald Terrace Branch of the Durham County Library, before starting in the Wake County Public Library system. She was an intern at the Athens Drive branch, worked as a library assistant and the Youth Services Librarian at Cameron Village Regional Library, and is now the manager of the Leesville Community Library, a branch of the Wake County Library.

In her spare time she has written book reviews for School Library Journal

Not least, Kate is the person who introduced your instructor to Goodreads.

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