Week 14 Prompt
Consider yourself part of the collection management committee of your local library, or a library at which you would like to work. You must decide whether or not to separate GBLTQ Fiction and African American Fiction from the general collection to its own special place. Some patrons have requested this, yet many staff is uncomfortable with the idea-saying it promotes segregation and disrupts serendipitous discovery of an author who might be different from the reader. Do you separate them? Do you separate one and not the other? Why or why not? You must provide at least three reasons for or against your decision. Feel free to use outside sources.
I would separate the GBLTQ fiction and African-American Fiction from the general collection because “some patrons have requested this” and our collection should reflect the community we are in, right? I need to digress to say that I took that request to be positive requests from patrons as opposed to be discriminatory. Also it doesn’t have to be in a “special place” within the library but just a place where it’s accessible to all. The library environment should foster acceptance so patrons should never feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by seeking these genres out. I would create displays for these genres so that patrons know that we value them which is why we are promoting them.
The second reason they should be separated is for the convenience for the patrons. I have been in over twenty different libraries throughout the United States (and abroad) and I have either encountered too tall shelves, narrow aisles, poorly lit areas so it is near impossible to see the books, too busy librarians and/or confusing filing system (not everyone uses the Dewey Decimal system) which has always resulted in me stopping my quest for a book. If these two were placed separately in the library, I would easily recognize them and thus be able to pick out a book.
The third reason is because I wouldn’t want them to be ignored due to the sheer volume of the fiction section. I have been to large libraries that have thousands of fiction books. It’s an amazing sight but it can also be very overwhelming. I feel to show that these authors and their stories matter and to help their ‘voices’ to be heard, they need to be separated so that they will get the attention they deserve.