Pride in the Library: Gifts for Readers Celebrating LGBTQ+ People and Books

Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She’s the editor/author of (DON’T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

‘Tis the season of all things Pride, and as always, the library is part and parcel of that celebration in June and through the whole year. As the rights of queer people continue to be attacked across the country, including in the library, it’s especially important that libraries speak up and out against discrimination. Libraries are institutions of democracy and civic engagement, and libraries uphold the rights of all to not only access materials of interest but everyone should also be able to see themselves in those collections.

Libraries exist to meet the needs and interests of all people, from birth to the elderly. Not all books in the library are for everyone, but everyone should be able to find a book that suits them. No one person gets to dictate what can or cannot be in the library nor what any individual can or cannot have access to. Despite the right-wing dog whistles about porn in the library or about library workers grooming young people, the fact of the matter is those individuals are choosing to offload their duties as parents to guide their children in appropriate reading material by demanding the removal of books they don’t like from shelves. For claiming not to coparent with the government, they sure want the government to do the parenting so that they do not need to have tricky conversations with their kids about why they do not want them to read or access certain materials. That is their code of parental rights. What doesn’t fall underneath that is demanding that material be made inaccessible for all people.

This library-themed pride merch celebrates everyone, and it expands upon last year’s roundup of Pride in the Library goods. Yes, let’s acknowledge rainbow capitalism right here, and let’s also accept that emphasizing the importance of LGBTQ+ presence in the library matters. All of these come from small creators, and wearing or sporting these library pride goods helps you identify yourself with the right side of history. As mentioned in the roundup of fantastic stickers celebrating the right to read, engaging in capitalism here is a way to support those who are being directly hurt by ongoing discriminatory legislation, and it’s a way to find and connect with like-minded folks who are pushing back.

I’ve been conscious of including “loud” Pride in the library items, as well as some that are more subtle — we know that being out and proud isn’t a luxury afforded to everyone.

Remember: these goods will do you well all year long.

queer books save lives t-shirt

The statement could not be any more clear: queer books save lives, which is one of many reasons why they should be standard in libraries. $30+ in a variety of styles, up to size 5XL in several.

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