LIBR 539M

LGBTQ Materials for Children and Teens

 

PRE or CO-REQUISITES: MLIS students, completion of the MLIS core courses.

Goal:

The goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of issues at play in library services related to LGBTQ+ materials and services. While some may have been exposed to the survey course on YA materials, this course will focus on a specific subset of those materials and will also include children’s books. Students will be introduced to a breadth of literature and other materials (audiobooks, movie adaptations, digital media) available in various reading levels, from picture books to young adult literature, that contain LGBTQ+ themes and/or characters. In addition, students will be introduced to various concerns and solutions regarding book challenges, freedom of information, and collections policies, as well as how to work with LGBTQ patrons in a respectful and open manner—avoiding assumptions of gender and pronouns, ensuring use of inclusive language around families and individuals—whether children, teens, or parents.

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Recognize and describe the various gender and sexual identities that exist in the LGBTQ+ spectrum. [1.1]
  • Synthesize and apply existing scholarship to analyze intersections of LGBTQ+ identities, including the social construction of adolescence and childhood. [4.1]
  • Expand knowledge of existing materials for and about LGBTQ+ children and youth in order to identify and assess diverse literary representations. [1.1, 1.2]
  • Communicate effectively about LGBTQ+ materials and increase access to materials by being respectful of LGBTQ+ patrons. [1.1, 2.1]
  • Recognize and implement critical evaluation tools to aid in the development of policies related to children’s and young adult literature. [1.1, 1.2]
  • Articulate the basics of intellectual freedom, including judging particular situations and defending choices based on the Library Bill of Rights and library policy. [1.4, 5.2]
  • Demonstrate critical literacy skills by analyzing YA and children’s materials, including recognizing historical and current trends in publishing. [4.1]
  • Choose and summarize existing young adult and children’s literature, as well as producing promotional materials, including book talks, dramatic readings, posters, and brochures. [2.1, 2.2, 3.1]
  • Hypothesize discussions and confrontations with patrons in order to prepare for a variety of situations that may come up when starting in a new library position. [5.1, 5.2]

CONTENT:

  • Module 1: Critical and theoretical knowledge
    • Gender studies in relation to literary analysis and critique
      • Exploring, specifically, inclusion of an expanding number of gender identities in media and literature for children and teens
    • Sexuality studies in relation to literary analysis and critique
      • Examining the changing depictions of sexual identities and greater overall inclusion in media and literature for children and teens
    • How literary analysis can help to deepen understanding of not only what exists in LGBTQ+ children’s and YA literature, but also how it can impact young readers
  • Module 2: LGBTQ+ Children’s Literature
    • Development and progress of sexual and diversity in books for children
      • How do we measure “progress” in relation to LGBTQ+ representation?
    • Books with themes that can be understood as LGBTQ+ through a queer/trans lens
      • How does reading queerly differ from explicit inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and themes in literature?
    • Module 3: LGBTQ+ Young Adult Literature
      • Development and progress of sexual diversity in YA books
      • Development and progress of gender diversity in YA books
      • Books with themes that can be understood as LGBTQ+ through a queer/trans lens
      • #OwnVoices literature for young adults (strategic essentialism can benefit teen readers in ensuring that LGBTQ+ characters and authors exist.)
    • Module 4: Interacting with LGBTQ+ Patrons
      • Examining what it means to exist as gay/lesbian/trans/etc in various communities and geographic locations
      • Exploring what makes it necessary to understand pronouns and other terminology when recommending or discussing literature with child, teen, or adult patrons
      • Making the library and inclusive and welcoming space for trans and non-binary patrons as well as diverse family structures