Monday, April 24, 2017

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 are 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 3 reasons for or against your decision. Feel free to use outside sources - this is a weighty question that is answered differently in a lot of different libraries.

I would not separate either the GBLTQ or African American Fiction from the general collection. Distinguishing them with a special sticker is okay, but housing them separately isn’t a good idea in my opinion. First, housing them separately creates boundaries—whether real or imagined. People who browse for books might not venture into those areas because they aren’t type of book they normally go for, so you miss a real opportunity for bridging divides and opening minds. My second reason is that creating a separate section can have negative consequences, no one wants to turn on the TV and see that One Million Moms is protesting outside their library because they don’t like the new section. My third reason is that special sections are a pain in the --- for library pages and those shelving, having one more section to sort and shelve is annoying and tedious. Also, once the sticker indicating the section has come off or obscured, that book will never be shelved correctly.

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