“It’s Woefully Inadequate”: Collections of LGBTQ* Fiction for Teens in English Public Library Services

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Elizabeth L. Chapman, Sheffield Hallam University

Briony Birdi, Information School, University of Sheffield

Chapman, Elizabeth J. and Briony Birdi. “It’s Woefully Inadequate”: Collections of LGBTQ* Fiction for Teens in English Public Library Services. Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults 7 (2016): n. page. Web. <Date accessed>.

Abstract

Academic and professional literature in the field of library and information science (LIS) has increasingly recognized the need to provide LGBTQ*-inclusive materials for children and teens. However, little research has been carried out in the United Kingdom on collections of these materials in public libraries. This study used a checklist approach to assess the holdings of LGBTQ* teen fiction in thirteen English public library services. The findings showed room for improvement in library collections, with particularly low holdings of titles in accessible formats. Moreover, titles from a recommended list made up less than half of LGBTQ* teen fiction holdings in all but one of the participating services. No relationship was found between annual book budget and number of LGBTQ* teen fiction titles held, although there was an apparent correlation between book budget and number of copies held.

Introduction

Recent North American literature in the domain of LIS (library and information science) has increasingly recognized the need to provide LGBTQ*-inclusive materials and services to children and teens in libraries[i] (see the following subsection for a discussion of the acronym “LGBTQ*”). However, the topic has not received an equivalent amount of attention in the United Kingdom (UK), in either scholarly or professional literature, or in practice.[ii] The relatively small amount of extant research—much of which is thesis research carried out at a master’s degree level—has focused either on school libraries[iii] or on materials and services for adults.[iv] There is thus a gap in the literature regarding LGBTQ* materials and services for children and teens in public libraries.

A Note on Terminology

The acronym “LGBTQ*” is used in this paper to refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer or questioning individuals and communities. The asterisk signals inclusion of other groups that may be marginalized even within queer communities, such as people who are intersexual or asexual. However, we sometimes use other terms when discussing existing literature to reflect varying content and approaches.

There is an ongoing debate within trans(*) communities as to whether an asterisk should be used after the word trans(*).[v] Those in favor of its use argue that it broadens the term to include people who might otherwise feel that the term does not apply to them, such as some non-binary people (i.e., people who do not identify with a binary male or female gender).[vi] However, others argue that it is important to retain the word “trans” (without the asterisk) as a disruptive and non-exclusionary term in its own right.[vii] Both of the present authors identify as cisgender women—that is, women whose gender identity matches our sexes assigned at birth, and who thus are not part of a trans(*) community.[viii] Consequently, we feel the asterisk is not ours to criticize, and we have thus opted to use it in this paper in order to be as inclusive as possible. In future work, we will be guided in our use of terminology by the consensus emerging from within trans(*) communities.[ix]

For the purposes of the study reported here, “LGBTQ* fiction” was defined as fiction containing at least one character who was identified as LGBTQ* or who was in a recognizably LGBTQ* relationship (e.g., a family with two mothers). Books with only a brief mention of LGBTQ* background characters were not included within the scope of the research. We also did not take the sexuality or gender identity of the author into account when defining “LGBTQ* fiction,” focusing instead on the content of the book.

Statistics and Context

It is difficult to gather reliable data on the number of LGBTQ* people in the UK, as people may be unwilling to declare their sexuality or gender identity through official channels; moreover, the concepts of sexuality and gender identity are complex and fluid, rendering measurement difficult. In a survey of UK adults carried out in 2015 by polling organization YouGov, 6% of the sample self-identified as gay or lesbian, with 2% identifying as bisexual and 1% identifying as “other.” These figures rose to 10%, 2%, and 2%, respectively, for the 18–24 age group.[x] Furthermore, preliminary findings from the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggest that around 1.0% of the UK population have undergone some part of a gender reassignment process, while 0.4% identify as something other than “male” or “female.”[xi] The 2014 Youth Chances survey—which surveyed over 7,000 young people aged 16–25 in England and is the largest and most representative UK research of its kind at the time of writing in 2016—found that just over half of LGBQ respondents (53%) knew they were LGBQ by the age of thirteen, while a slightly higher proportion of trans* respondents (58%) knew they were trans* by the same age.[xii] The statistics thus suggest that there is a substantial population of LGBTQ* young people in the UK, and that many are aware of their LGBTQ* identity by the start of the teenage years. Librarians therefore need to be aware of the needs of this user population and to provide them with relevant materials.

UK opinion poll data, gathered in 2012, suggest that attitudes toward LGB people are becoming more positive; however, negative attitudes persist among a substantial minority of the population, and three in five respondents felt that society in general was prejudiced against LGB people.[xiii] In a 2009 review of the literature on attitudes toward trans* people, the authors concluded that “large sections of the British population hold negative and discriminatory views towards trans people, though there is evidence of positive change.”[xiv] Moreover, research into young LGBTQ* people’s experiences, carried out in 2012, shows that these young people continue to experience stigma, bullying, and discrimination.[xv] Some studies suggest that over 70% of young LGBTQ* people have experienced homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic bullying, with young trans* people experiencing particularly high rates of bullying.[xvi] There is thus a strong moral argument for providing materials that will help young LGBTQ* people to develop positive LGBTQ* identities, and/or combat prejudice among others.

Research Rationale

In both the UK and the US, there is increasing awareness among authors, publishers, librarians, and the general public of the need for teen books to feature diverse characters—including LGBTQ* characters.[xvii] Authors who write LGBTQ* fiction for teens report receiving hundreds of letters, e-mails, and Twitter messages from LGBTQ* teens who have been helped by their books, as well as from straight, cisgender teens who say that the books opened their eyes.[xviii] There is also a small but increasing body of empirical research with young LGBTQ* people that demonstrates the unmet need for LGBTQ*-inclusive books and resources, including fiction.[xix] However, there is a lack of existing research on collections of LGBTQ* materials for children and teens in UK public libraries; the study reported here aimed to go some way toward addressing this.

UK Public Library Services

UK public library services, or “public library authorities,” are administrative entities that comprise multiple library branches or outlets (broadly equivalent to the US term “public library systems”). At the time when the research was carried out, there were 148 public library authorities in England.[xx] Throughout the remainder of this paper, we have used the term “public library services” as this is more widely understood beyond the UK context.

Library services are generally run by local authorities, also known as “councils,” which are local government administrative structures. Local authorities (or councils) fall into four different administrative categories—namely, county authorities, unitary authorities, metropolitan boroughs, and London boroughs (see https://www.gov.uk/understand-how-your-council-works/types-of-council). The characteristics of local authorities vary within as well as between these categories, although some tentative generalizations can be made. Metropolitan boroughs and London boroughs cover urban areas, whereas county authorities are often (but not always) larger and more rural. Unitary authorities may cover either rural or urban areas, or both; the term “unitary” means that services are provided by a single tier of local government.

Literature Review

LGBTQ* Teens’ Library Usage and Satisfaction

The small amount of UK research on young people’s information needs and library usage has identified various types of LGBTQ*-related information sought out by young people, including fiction. Bridge found that around 60% of respondents wanted gay community information and factual coming-out information, with just over half looking for fiction with gay characters and around two-thirds looking for sexual health information.[xxi] In contrast, the top five types of information sought out by Walker’s respondents were LGBT-related political information, sexual health information, LGBT history, fiction, and general advice.[xxii] A previous piece of non-scholarly research carried out with teens in the US identified similar topics, although in a different order of priority, with (auto)biographies of LGBTQ* people ranking highest, followed by coming-out stories, activism “how-to” information, fiction, community resources, and so on, with sexual health information ranking lowest.[xxiii] The different rankings of information types in the three studies are unsurprising, as each surveyed a different population (in Northern Ireland, the wider UK, and the US), and none of the samples were large enough to be statistically generalizable.

In both Bridge’s and Walker’s studies, only a minority of respondents looked for the information they needed in the library, with just one respondent to Bridge’s survey (n = 42) using the library as an information source.[xxiv] Twenty-two percent of respondents to Walker’s survey (n = 104) said they had looked for LGBT-related information in their school library, and over half of these had not found anything. Reasons for not using the library to look for this information included fear and the assumption that the library would not have anything relevant.[xxv] However, the library emerged as an important “safe space” for LGBTQ* pupils in both pieces of research. Participants in Walker’s research also made suggestions for how to improve the library service. In order of popularity, these were as follows: increase the availability of LGBT resources; improve the promotion of resources; ensure that access to LGBT materials is not restricted; and work to improve awareness of LGBT issues at a schoolwide level.

A number of studies in the UK and North America have surveyed LGBTQ* adults about their information needs and library usage. Findings differ significantly in terms of the frequency with which respondents used libraries in their efforts to locate information, with earlier studies showing higher levels of library use.[xxvi] More recent studies (from the mid-2000s onward) show lower library use by LGBTQ* participants, who cited negative perceptions of libraries, fear of homophobia or transphobia, and the assumption that the library would not have anything useful as reasons for not using the service.[xxvii] Even where libraries were used, satisfaction levels were low, with respondents criticizing both the collections and the attitudes of the staff.[xxviii] Norman’s UK-based research on the Brighton and Hove LGB collection bucked the trend of the extant literature, with most respondents rating the collection as “good” or “satisfactory.”[xxix]

Library Holdings

A number of studies have been carried out that assessed holdings of LGBTQ* materials in public libraries, although few were UK-based. The majority of studies have used various forms of a checklist approach.[xxx] Within this literature is a body of work focusing on holdings of LGBTQ* teen materials in public libraries.[xxxi] One study was located that used a checklist approach to investigate school library holdings of LGBTQ* fiction and nonfiction,[xxxii] while a UK study by Wright asked school librarians to assess their own LGBTQ* holdings.[xxxiii]

Those studies that made a value judgment concluded that holdings of LGBT-related fiction for children and teens in public/school libraries were limited.[xxxiv] Spence, and Rothbauer and McKechnie, working in the North American context, both noted substantial variation in holdings between library services, resulting in an inconsistent level of service.[xxxv] The latter study also found that older titles were just as likely to be held as more recent ones, despite the fact that older titles are more likely to contain negative stereotypes. Boon and Howard compared holdings of LGBT titles with a control group of non-LGBT titles, finding that LGBT titles were less likely to be held.[xxxvi] Moreover, there were fewer copies of LGBT titles (40.57 copies on average) than of control titles (68.14 copies on average). More recently, Williams and Deyoe found that 326 public libraries in the US (out of 2,507 listed on Worldcat.org) did not hold any of the titles from the ALA’s “Rainbow List of GLBTQ Books for Children & Teens.”[xxxvii] In the school library context, Hughes-Hassell, Overberg, and Harris found that around two-thirds of the 125 school libraries in the sample held fewer than five titles from a recommended list of LGBTQ* fiction; total holdings of LGBTQ* titles made up just 0.4% of collections, on average.[xxxviii]

Little research has been carried out on this topic in the UK. A study on LGBTQ* materials and services in UK secondary school libraries (which serve pupils aged 11–18) asked respondents to estimate the number of LGBT books in their collections.[xxxix] On average, LGBT books made up 0.24% of library holdings. However, as this relies on self-reported figures, it may say as much about librarians’ knowledge of their collections as about LGBTQ* holdings.

Chapman’s own master’s thesis research, which was carried out in 2007, looked at holdings of LGBT-related fiction for children and teens in public libraries in the UK.[xl] Checklist research carried out in two case-study library services found room for improvement in comparison with a library service that had a good reputation for LGBTQ* collections and services. It was also notable that few titles were available in alternative formats, and no titles with trans* content were held. Moreover, a questionnaire distributed nationally tentatively suggested that holdings might be limited in other libraries across the UK, and the thesis recommended further research to investigate this.

Budget and Collection Development

One potential factor that could affect holdings of LGBTQ*materials for children and teens is budget. There is little previous literature on this area. However, Williams and Deyoe found a mild relationship between collection size and number of LGBTQ titles (R2 = 0.22) and between collection expenditure and number of LGBTQ titles (R2 = 0.3).[xli] However, the impact of this in practice was not substantial, with the number of LGBTQ titles increasing by 1.6 for every $100,000 spent on the collection, and by 0.3 for every additional 10,000 volumes in the collection. Rothbauer and McKechnie looked not at budget but at the potentially related variable of library size, and found no significant relationship between size and number of titles held.[xlii]

Qualitative research supports the hypothesis that budgetary considerations may affect holdings of LGBTQ* materials. Some of the library directors surveyed by Pruitt expressed a reluctance to support gay men’s reading groups for budgetary reasons or, relatedly, due to an expectation that circulation figures would be poor.[xliii] Similarly, a more general study of attitudes relating to collection management found that materials were expected to provide value for money, leading to a focus on mainstream materials that were likely to be checked out frequently.[xliv]

The present study fills a lacuna in the extant literature. Previous research suggests that young LGBTQ* people cite fiction among their top information needs but are unable to find materials to meet their needs in school or public libraries (or anticipate that they will be unable to). However, very little research has been carried out to investigate actual holdings of LGBTQ* fiction for teens in UK public libraries. There is also little extant literature—and none from the UK—that addresses the potential relationship between budget and holdings of LGBTQ* fiction for children and teens.

Methodology

The research reported here formed part of a larger doctoral study, carried out between 2008 and 2015. The findings discussed in this paper relate to the following research question:

To what extent is LGBTQ* fiction aimed at children and teens provided in English public library services?

Additional research questions, not discussed in this paper, related to the procurement and management of LGBTQ* fiction for children and teens; librarians’ attitudes toward this material; and other factors potentially affecting holdings.[xlv] Some of the findings relating to librarians’ attitudes have been presented in a previous paper,[xlvi] and the remaining findings will be discussed in forthcoming papers.

The study as a whole employed a mixed-methods approach, the design of which was informed by Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, and Turner’s definition of such research as

. . . the type of research in which a researcher . . . combines elements of qualitative and quantitative research approaches (e.g., use of qualitative and quantitative viewpoints, data collection, analysis, inference techniques) for the broad purposes of breadth and depth of understanding and corroboration.[xlvii]

The mixing of methods took place at both the data collection and analysis stages. The research design combined a checklist study to assess fiction holdings (discussed further below), questionnaires for staff members involved in collection development, and interviews with staff members involved in collection development at selected library services. Descriptive statistics were generated from quantitative data collected through the checklist study and through closed-ended questions on the questionnaires. The findings from the checklist study and questionnaires were used to inform the design of the interview schedule, and the qualitative data from the interviews and open-ended questionnaire responses were subsequently explored using thematic analysis.[xlviii] This paper presents the findings of the checklist study, although the subsequent interview study method and findings are mentioned where appropriate.

The mixed-methods approach was based on a pragmatic philosophy. Pragmatism “endorses eclecticism and pluralism (e.g., different, even conflicting, theories and perspectives can be useful; observation, experience, and experiments are all useful ways to gain an understanding of people and the world).”[xlix] Ontologically and epistemologically speaking, pragmatists believe in the existence of both a single physical world and multiple realities that are experienced differently by individuals; similarly, knowledge is both constructed and based on the “real world.”[l]

This ontological and epistemological stance informed the choice of methods used in the research. Books are countable objects, which either are or are not held by the library; it was therefore appropriate to assess holdings using a quantitative method. However, the ways in which individuals view and interact with these books are highly subjective; therefore, in order to gain a thorough understanding of librarians’ attitudes and decisions regarding this material, it was necessary to have a qualitative element to the research. Pragmatism thus provided an eminently appropriate philosophical background for this mixed-methods study.[li]

Pragmatism emphasizes action, usefulness, and theory, which supports effective practice or transformation. Moreover, pragmatists argue that research is inevitably value-laden, and that a pragmatic approach upholds values such as equality and social justice.[lii] The research reported here was intended to be transformative and to make a positive contribution to developing libraries’ collections of LGBTQ* fiction for children and teens. The authors believe that when conducting and reporting research, it is preferable to be open about one’s personal and political stance rather than to claim scientific objectivity, as one’s values will inevitably affect the way that knowledge is constructed in the research process. Moreover, positions that are supposedly “neutral” often translate in practice to support for established systems.[liii] However, despite the transformative intention of the research, we sought to minimize the potential impact of bias on the data analysis by critically reflecting on our possible biases and through peer debriefing with one another and with a colleague from a somewhat different disciplinary background.[liv]

Sampling

Thirteen library services across England were selected for this research. The goal was not to make statistical generalizations from the sample—which would have necessitated a much larger number of library services—but to include a range of services with different characteristics, to increase the likely transferability of the findings.[lv] Descriptive summaries of each library service were included in appendix O of the dissertation,[lvi] to help readers ascertain the extent to which findings could be transferable to other, similar library services.[lvii]

The sample selection process was based on two variables, the first being number of book acquisitions (as a proxy measure for annual book budget), as reported in the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Public Library Statistics for that year.[lviii] The second variable was the type of local authority. As noted in the introduction, UK library services are generally run by local authorities, which fall into four categories: county authorities, unitary authorities, metropolitan boroughs, and London boroughs. Although the characteristics of local authorities vary within as well as between these categories, we felt that the use of this variable for sample selection would give us a varied sample in terms of size, geographical location, and rural/urban authorities. The composition of the final sample confirmed this hypothesis.

Thus, for each of the four types of local authority, we randomly selected library services with high, medium, and low numbers of book acquisitions, resulting in a non-proportional stratified random sample.[lix] In addition to these twelve library services, one service that had a good reputation for LGBTQ* collections and services was selected based on existing knowledge. To maintain anonymity, the library services were coded as shown in table 1:

Table 1: Codes used for participating library services

Category Code
Bottom quintile for book budget, County authority BC
Middle quintile for book budget, County authority MC
Top quintile for book budget, County authority TC
Bottom quintile for book budget, London borough BL
Middle quintile for book budget, London borough ML
Top quintile for book budget, London borough TL
Bottom quintile for book budget, Metropolitan borough BM
Middle quintile for book budget, Metropolitan borough MM
Top quintile for book budget, Metropolitan borough TM
Bottom quintile for book budget, Unitary authority BU
Middle quintile for book budget, Unitary authority MU
Top quintile for book budget, Unitary authority TU
Purposively selected authority (happens to be bottom-quintile unitary authority) BUP

To facilitate the reading of the charts presented in the “Findings” section, the stratified sampling is also reflected in the color-coding. Bottom-quintile library services are shaded light gray, middle-quintile services are shaded medium gray, and top-quintile services are the darkest gray.

Checklist

A checklist of LGBTQ* fiction for children and teens was used to assess holdings of LGBTQ* fiction for children and teens at the participating library services. There was no comprehensive list of LGBTQ* fiction for these age groups available in the UK, and we therefore developed our own checklist of titles, which were then looked up in each library’s catalog to ascertain whether they were held. There is a consensus in the literature that checklist studies are an appropriate method of assessing holdings of LGBTQ* materials,[lx] and the present research arguably improves on previous studies in that the checklist is more comprehensive and was validity tested with key professionals from LGBTQ* librarianship, research, and activism (discussed further below).

The checklist was compiled based on existing book lists, bibliographies, and other literature on LGBTQ* fiction for children and teens; a full list of sources consulted can be found in appendix C of the dissertation.[lxi] The following criteria were used to assess whether each title should be included on our checklist:

  • Must be published for children or teens.
    To determine whether titles were published for youth or for adults, we used the Nielsen BookData and Global Books in Print bibliographic databases; Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk; and, where necessary, publisher and author websites.
  • Must contain recognizably LGBTQ* characters.
    Characters had to be clearly identifiable as LGBTQ* in order to merit inclusion. Books in which an LGBTQ* character appeared only very briefly were not included.
  • Must be in print and available for purchase in the UK.

This was assessed using the Nielsen BookData and Global Books in Print bibliographic databases and Amazon.co.uk.

  • Must not be a graphic novel or poetry.

These formats were excluded from the scope of the research for practical reasons, as at the time there was relatively little information available on graphic novels/poetry with LGBTQ* content for children and young people.

The cutoff point for inclusion on the checklist was May 2011. Once the checklist was complete, it was sent to eight key professionals in LGBTQ* librarianship, research, bookselling, and activism to gather their opinions on the checklist and to identify any books that had been omitted. Five of these experts responded, and a number of additional titles were added in response to their suggestions. The final checklist comprised 556 titles. The large majority of these were teen fiction titles (476 titles), and this paper will focus on that category.

We then compiled a shorter list of “recommended” titles, as it became apparent that many libraries held titles that were outdated, had relatively little LGBTQ* content, or contained negative depictions of LGBTQ* people. To assess whether a book should be included on the “recommended” list, titles were read by one of the researchers wherever possible (254 titles were read in total). Where this was not possible, we based our judgement on existing recommendations and book reviews (see appendix C of the dissertation[lxii]). The final checklist of “recommended” books comprised 203 titles, including 168 teen fiction titles; an updated version can be found on the first author’s website at bit.ly/lgbtfiction. Titles that do not appear on the recommended list are not necessarily titles to avoid but were felt to be insufficient to constitute an adequate LGBTQ* collection in themselves. For example, they could include relatively little LGBTQ* content but be excellent books in other respects.

Finally, we used Nielsen BookData, Global Books in Print, and Worldcat.org to assess whether checklist titles had been published in accessible formats (large print, audiobooks, e-audiobooks and e-books).

Catalog Checking

The catalog-checking stage of the research was carried out between December 2010 and July 2011. Each title on the full checklist (of 556 titles) was checked against the Online Public Access Catalogues (OPACs) of the thirteen participating library services, and the following information was recorded in a spreadsheet:

1) Whether the title was held by the library service;

2) The number of copies held by the library service;

3) Whether the title was held by the library service in the following formats: large print, audiobook, e-audiobook;

4) The number of copies held by the library service in these formats.

Data on titles on the recommended checklist were subsequently extracted from the spreadsheet and analyzed separately. Analysis of both data sets primarily involved the generation of descriptive statistics in the form of charts and tables. Although the sample was not large enough for the findings to be statistically generalizable, charts were created to visually map the number of titles held against the number of book acquisitions. This allowed potential correlations to be tentatively identified, forming a useful starting point for future research.

Interviews

Interviews were carried out with staff members involved in collection development at four of the participating library services, plus pilot interviewees; a total of eighteen individuals were interviewed. As part of this stage of the research, interviewees were presented with summary data on holdings of LGBTQ* fiction in the thirteen participating library services and asked to respond to it. This enabled us to collect empirical data to supplement our own value judgment on the adequacy (or otherwise) of collections. Here, as elsewhere in the research, we endeavored to minimize the potential impact of interviewer bias. The initial question was extremely open and simply asked the interviewees for their thoughts on the data. This was followed by a prompt specifically asking whether the interviewees felt holdings were adequate, in the event that they had not already discussed this. No opinion was expressed by the interviewer until after participants had fully explained their own thoughts, and then only if an interviewee asked for her opinion.

Limitations of the Research

As stated in the “Methodology” section, the research reported here formed part of a larger doctoral study involving further empirical research, and as a result it was not feasible within the scope of the dissertation to study the libraries in more than thirteen local authorities. As a result, the sample for the present study is not sufficiently large for the findings to be generalized to the wider population of English public library services. However, it has been possible to identify some potential trends that may be transferable to other library services.

It was also not possible within the scope of the research to read all the books included on the full checklist or the recommended checklist. This meant that in many cases we had to rely on other people’s assessments of the content and quality of the books in order to determine whether they should be included on (a) the full checklist and (b) the recommended checklist. The research also did not make any quantitative assessment of holdings of titles featuring groups that are underrepresented within LGBTQ* teen fiction and may be especially underserved by libraries (e.g., bisexual and trans* people, and people with multiple marginalized identities). However, the recommended list provided to libraries highlighted a number of titles that represented these groups.

Findings

Figure 1 shows the library holdings of titles from the full checklist of 476 LGBTQ* teen fiction titles. To facilitate the reading of the charts, the stratified sampling is reflected in the color-coding. Bottom-quintile library services are shaded light gray, middle-quintile services are shaded medium gray, and top-quintile services are the darkest gray. BUP, on the far right-hand side of the chart, is the library service that was purposively selected owing to its good reputation for LGBTQ* collections and services; it is thus unsurprising that it held substantially more titles than any of the other library services. However, even BUP held only 107 of the 476 available titles, or 22.5%. The remaining library services held between 55 and 89 titles, or between 11.6% and 18.7% of the total available titles.

Figure 1

Chapman and Birdi_Figure 1

Figure 2 shows the number of copies of LGBTQ* teen fiction titles held by the participating library services. On this measure, BUP performs less well despite its reputation for good LGBTQ* collections and services, reflecting its smaller budget. The chart also suggests a potential relationship between book budget and number of copies held: the library services with large annual book budgets (TC, TL, TM, and TU) held a consistently larger number of copies than their counterparts with medium or small book budgets. This potential relationship is discussed further below.

Figure 2

Chapman and Birdi_Figure 2

Holdings of Titles in Accessible Formats

Data were also gathered on holdings of titles in different formats, in order to assess the availability of LGBTQ* fiction for children with visual impairments or other reading difficulties. As discussed in the “Methodology” section, the first step was to ascertain how many titles were available in these formats. Table 2 shows the availability of the teen fiction titles on the checklist in different formats. Although not all e-books are fully accessible, the font size can be increased to improve legibility, and increasing numbers of e-book readers provide text-to-speech options.[lxiii] Furthermore, remote availability of e-books or e-audiobooks facilitates access for people with mobility difficulties.[lxiv]

As shown in table 2, a large number of checklist titles were available in e-book format (268 titles, or 56.3% of the total teen fiction titles on the checklist). However, far fewer were available in other accessible formats. This is consistent with broader research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People on availability of titles in accessible formats.[lxv]

Table 2: Availability of LGBTQ* teen fiction titles in different formats

Format No. of titles available in this format
Large print 16
Cassette 27
CD 68
e-book 268
e-audiobook 45
Prerecorded e-audiobook on player 25

Library holdings of titles in accessible formats were thus constrained by the limited number of LGBTQ* teen fiction titles published in these formats. However, even where titles were available, holdings in accessible formats were limited. The two most widely held formats were CD and large print, but no service held more than ten titles on CD (14.7% of total titles available in this format) or seven titles in large-print format (43.8% of titles available). Four library services held a single title in cassette format, with the remaining nine holding none in this format. This is unsurprising, as the cassette format is increasingly rarely used.

Six of the participating library services did not provide any titles in either of the e-audiobook formats, and none of the library services held more than seven titles in this format. This may reflect a general lack of take-up of this format by library services; however, an investigation of this lay beyond the scope of the research. Similarly, none of the participating library services held any of the titles in e-book format, despite the large number of titles published in this format. It may be that none of the library services offered an e-lending service at all when this phase of the research was carried out in 2010–11. Alternatively, the lack of e-book titles may reflect the restrictions on e-lending by public libraries. Research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in 2014 found that 90% of the fifty most borrowed print books had been published in e-book format, but only 7% were available to public libraries for e-lending.[lxvi]

The checklist study also showed that the participating library services did not generally hold multiple copies of titles in large-print or e-audiobook formats. The exception to this was TC, which held twenty-four copies of large-print titles (an average of four copies for each of its six titles). However, the library services performed better in terms of the number of copies of titles on CD, with several holding multiple copies.

Holdings of Recommended Titles

As noted in the “Methodology” section, a shorter list of recommended titles was compiled, comprising 203 titles in total, including 168 teen fiction titles. Figure 3 shows the total holdings of recommended teen fiction titles at the thirteen participating library services. Once again, BUP—which has a reputation for good LGBTQ* collections and services—stands out, with 57 titles. However, this is still only 33.9% of the 168 recommended teen fiction titles available. The remaining library services held between 18 and 35 titles, or between 10.7% and 20.8% of the titles available.

Figure 3

Chapman and Birdi_Figure 3

Interestingly, the titles on the recommended checklist were proportionally slightly more likely to be selected, in relation to the total titles available in each category. (BL and BU were the only exceptions to this rule.) At BUP, the library service with a reputation for good LGBTQ* collections and services, recommended titles were substantially more likely to be selected. This is shown in table 3.

Table 3: Relative likelihood that recommended and non-recommended titles will be selected

Library service Proportion of non-recommended titles held, as % of total teen fiction titles not on recommended checklist Proportion of recommended titles held, as % of total recommended teen fiction titles
BC 12.3 16.1
MC 14.3 15.5
TC 14.3 20.2
BL 14.9 14.3
MM 13.3 18.5
TL 16.6 17.9
BM 15.9 16.1
MM 17.5 20.8
TM 15.3 19.6
BU 12.0 10.7
MU 13.6 16.1
TU 13.3 15.5
BUP 16.2 33.9

However, in terms of the number of titles held by each library service, the majority of services held more titles that are not on the recommended list than titles that are, as demonstrated in figure 4. BUP is the only participating library service that held more recommended titles than non-recommended titles.

Figure 4

Chapman and Birdi_Figure 4

Figure 5 shows the number of copies of recommended titles held by participating library services. The pattern is rather different from that shown in figure 2 (total copies of checklist titles), suggesting that the number of copies of recommended titles is not simply a function of budget (discussed further below). In the discussion of figure 2, we noted that BUP does not show the same dominance in terms of copies as it does for titles, which is unsurprising considering its relatively small budget. However, as shown in figure 5, it appears in the top five for copies of recommended titles. This suggests that a concerted effort may have been made to provide more copies of high-quality LGBTQ* fiction for children and young people, rather than simply procuring more copies of mainstream fiction that may have a relatively small amount of LGBTQ* content.

Figure 5

Chapman and Birdi_Figure 5

Relationship between Annual Book Budget and Library Holdings

As discussed in the “Methodology” section, annual book budget (specifically the number of book acquisitions) was used as one of the variables for selecting the sample of participating library services, as it could have a direct impact on the service’s ability to purchase LGBTQ* fiction for children and teens. Although the sample was not large enough for the findings to be statistically generalizable, we nonetheless felt that it would be useful to map the number of titles held against the number of book acquisitions, with a view to tentatively identifying any potential correlations. The number of book acquisitions for the 2007–8 financial period was visually mapped against (a) the total holdings of LGBTQ* teen fiction titles and (b) the holdings of recommended LGBTQ* teen fiction titles, by using Microsoft Excel to create a scatterplot and insert a line of best fit. No correlation was apparent in either case; in other words, there was no evidence that budget had an impact on the holdings of LGBTQ* teen fiction titles. Indeed, it should be noted that BUP, which had the highest figures for both total holdings and holdings of recommended titles, actually had a relatively small budget.

In contrast, when the number of book acquisitions was mapped against the number of copies held, the data suggested a strong correlation (figure 6). As noted above, the sample was not large enough for the findings to be statistically generalizable, and statistical tests were thus not carried out. However, the existence of an apparent correlation is supported by logic: library services with larger book budgets are able to buy more copies of the titles selected.

Figure 6

Chapman and Birdi_Figure 6

Finally, we mapped the relationship between the number of book acquisitions and the copies of recommended titles held; the results are shown in figure 7. Once again, the data suggest a correlation. However, when compared with figure 6 (which shows the relationship between the number of book acquisitions and the copies of checklist titles held, whether recommended or not) the correlation appears to be weaker. In other words, the charts suggest that the library services with larger book budgets are buying more copies of checklist titles, but not necessarily those on the recommended list. This may suggest that the richer library services are simply buying lots of copies of the more mainstream books, which may be both well-written and popular, but may not necessarily constitute an LGBTQ* collection on their own. For example, there were 137 copies of Kevin Brooks’ Black Rabbit Summer across the participating library services. This excellent novel was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2009; however, it has a relatively small amount of LGBTQ* content, and we therefore did not include it on the recommended list.

Figure 7

Chapman and Birdi_Figure 7

Discussion

Holdings of titles in the participating library services were quite limited, with even the best-performing service (BUP) holding less than a quarter of the total titles available (and just over a third of the recommended titles). In other words, many more titles are available than are held by libraries. The limited holdings cannot, therefore, be ascribed solely to a lack of published material. The research also showed that the participating library services held few of the checklist titles in accessible formats, although holdings of large-print titles, audiobooks, and e-audiobooks were constrained by the low numbers of titles available in these formats in the UK.

One limitation of checklist studies is that frequently no indication is given of what could constitute a “good” or “adequate” collection of LGBTQ* fiction.[lxvii] Martin and Murdock suggest that even the smallest branch library should hold at least ten LGBTQ* teen titles; however, while this has implications for the number of copies held, it does not say anything about the range of titles required across the library service as a whole.[lxviii] We therefore opted to collect opinion data from research participants, as described in the “Methodology” section, to supplement our own value judgment as to the adequacy (or otherwise) of collections.

The large majority of interviewees felt that provision was not adequate, with many expressing disappointment or even shock.[lxix] One interviewee responded with the observation, “It’s woefully inadequate” (Pilot 2), while another commented, “I’d say it makes quite disappointing reading” (Interviewee TL4). The only library service where interviewees expressed some satisfaction with their collection was, perhaps unsurprisingly, BUP. However, even the interviewees from this authority felt there was room for improvement.

Titles on the recommended checklist were proportionally slightly more likely to be purchased than titles that did not appear on the checklist, in relation to the total titles available in each category. However, in terms of the number of titles held by each library service, BUP was the only one to hold more recommended titles than non-recommended titles. With the exception of BUP, there is little evidence here to suggest that librarians are using their expertise to develop high-quality collections of LGBTQ* teen fiction. It is also worth noting the number of titles on the recommended list that were not held, despite the fact that the entire recommended list is quite short relative to the total number of teen fiction titles held by any given library service. As one participant commented, “Considering there’s, what, not even 550 books on [the full] list, that’s not a big budget for the whole collection to be developed” (Interviewee TL6). The budget to purchase all the titles from the recommended list would, evidently, be substantially smaller.

There has been very little previous research on holdings of LGBTQ* fiction aimed at children and teens in public library services in the UK. Chapman’s previous MA research found room for improvement in the two case-study library services, particularly in terms of materials in accessible formats, and tentatively suggested that “provision may be limited in other authorities [across the UK].”[lxx] The present research appears to confirm this. In addition, studies from the US and Canada have also concluded that public library holdings of LGBTQ* fiction for children and teens are limited,[lxxi] while UK research on school libraries has found a similar lack of attention to LGBTQ* materials.[lxxii] The findings of the present study are thus in line with the extant research, while also presenting new data on the situation in English public library services.

The small amount of extant quantitative research suggests that budget has, at most, a limited impact on holdings of LGBTQ* materials for teens.[lxxiii] However, qualitative research suggests that budgetary concerns may affect holdings indirectly, through the focus on titles that will generate high circulation figures and provide “value for money.”[lxxiv] Over the period between 2007–8 and 2012–13, eight of the thirteen participating library services experienced cuts to their book budgets, and three saw substantial cuts of around 50%.[lxxv] This may exacerbate the tendency to focus on circulation figures to the detriment of diverse collections.

Conclusion

This study has demonstrated that there is substantial room for improvement in the holdings of LGBTQ* teen fiction in the participating public library services. When asked to comment on a summary of holdings data, the large majority of interviewees felt that collections were inadequate. Holdings of titles in accessible formats were particularly low, and there is scope to improve collections in this area by boosting holdings in e-book and e-audiobook formats. While the sample was not large enough to be statistically generalizable, the consistently low holdings, coupled with the small amount of previous research on the topic, suggest that holdings may also be limited in other public library services in England and the wider UK. Furthermore, there was little evidence that librarians in the participating services had sought to develop high-quality LGBTQ* teen fiction collections by seeking out titles with realistic, positive, and up-to-date depictions of LGBTQ* characters in major roles.

Librarians in many services are facing cuts to book budgets, together with concomitant pressures to generate high circulation figures.[lxxvi] However, the present study showed no correlation between book budget and number of LGBTQ* teen fiction titles held. Indeed, BUP, which had a relatively small budget, performed better in terms of both the total number of titles held and the number of titles from the recommended list. It can thus be inferred that it is possible, even on a small budget, to provide a collection that is at least somewhat better than is currently the case in most of the participating library services, in terms of the range and quality of titles. In other words, a small budget does not preclude the development of an LGBTQ* teen fiction collection and should not be used as an excuse for inadequate holdings. Librarians may need to consider alternative ways of measuring and communicating value and impact, beyond circulation figures alone.[lxxvii]

As stated in the “Methodology” section, the present research was intended to be transformative and to make a positive contribution to developing libraries’ collections of LGBTQ* fiction for children and teens. Once the research was completed, we sent summary data on library holdings to all participants and the Head of Service at each library service, together with a summary of all findings and recommendations for practice. In at least one of the participating services, this has already resulted in the purchase of additional items and increased efforts at promoting these materials. The recommended checklist has been distributed to public and school librarians and other interested parties beyond the participating library services, and it has been used by some of these individuals to boost LGBTQ* library collections for children and teens. An updated version can be found on the first author’s website at bit.ly/lgbtfiction.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to extend their deepest thanks to all research participants, as well as the Heads of Libraries who gave permission for the research to be carried out in their library services, and all other contacts who helped to reach participants. We also wish to thank the experts who kindly looked over the checklist and offered their thoughts and suggestions: John Vincent, Dr. Paulette Rothbauer, Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Nancy Silverrod, and one expert who wished to remain anonymous. Last but not least, tremendous thanks go to Professor Nigel Ford, whose advice and guidance was invaluable throughout. The research was funded by a University of Sheffield studentship.

Notes

[i] See, for example, Hillias J. Martin and James R. Murdock, Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens: A How-to-Do-It Manual for Librarians (New York: Neal-Schuman, 2007); Jamie C. Naidoo, Rainbow Family Collections: Selecting and Using Children’s Books with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Content (Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2012); Jamie C. Naidoo, “The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children,” April 5, 2014, http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/ALSCwhitepaper_importance%20of%20diversity_with%20graphics_FINAL.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015); Alvin M. Schrader and Kristopher Wells, “Queering Libraries and Classrooms: Strategies to Build Inclusive Collections and Services for Sexual Minority and Gender Variant Youth,” in Serving LGBTIQ Library and Archives Users, ed. Ellen Greenblatt (Jefferson, NC: MacFarland & Co., 2011); Carlisle K. Webber, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teen Literature: A Guide to Reading Interests (Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2010).

[ii] Elizabeth L. Chapman, “Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in English Public Libraries: A Mixed-Methods Study” (PhD diss., University of Sheffield, 2015); Elizabeth L. Chapman, “‘We Have Made a Start but There Is a Long Way To Go’: Public Library LGBTQ* Provision to Children and Young People In the Current UK Context,” in Queer Library Alliance: Global Reflections and Imaginings, ed. Rae-Anne Montague and Lucas McKeever (Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press, forthcoming); John Vincent, LGBT People and the UK Cultural Sector: The Response of Libraries, Museums, Archives and Heritage since 1950 (Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2014).

[iii] Sally Bridge, “No Place on the Shelves? Are Northern Ireland’s School Libraries Addressing the Information Needs of Their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Students?” (master’s thesis, Aberystwyth University, 2010), http://cadair.aber.ac.uk/dspace/handle/2160/5714 (accessed October 30, 2015); Elizabeth L. Chapman and Caroline Wright, “Provision of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Materials for Young People in UK Public and Secondary School Libraries,” in Forbidden Fruit: The Censorship of Literature and Information for Young People, ed. Sarah McNicol (Boca Raton, FL: BrownWalker Press, 2008); Janine Walker and Jo Bates, “Developments in LGBTQ Provision in Secondary School Library Services since the Abolition of Section 28,” Journal of Librarianship and Information Science (January 18, 2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0961000614566340 (accessed October 30, 2015).

[iv] Laura Armstrong, “Do Personal and Institutional Anxieties within Sheffield Central Library and Norwich Millennium Library Affect the Promotion of Particular Genres (Black British/Asian and Gay/Lesbian Fiction)?” (master’s thesis, University of Sheffield, 2006), http://dagda.shef.ac.uk/dispub/dissertations/2005-06/External/Armstrong_Laura_MALib.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015); Phil Brett, “Politics and Public Library Provision for Lesbians and Gay Men in London,” International Journal of Information and Library Research 4, no. 3 (1992): 195–211; Jacqueline D. Goldthorp, “Can Scottish Public Library Services Claim They Are Socially Inclusive of All Minority Groups When Lesbian Fiction Is Still So Inaccessible?” Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 39, no. 4 (2007): 234–48; Mark Norman, “OUT on Loan: A Survey of the Use and Information of Users of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Collection of Brighton and Hove Libraries,” Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 31, no. 4 (1999): 188–96; Meagan O’Leary, “Pink Perceptions: The Information Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Library Users as Perceived by Public Librarians and by the LGBT Communities within Sheffield UK and Denver CO, USA” (master’s thesis, University of Sheffield, 2005), http://dagda.shef.ac.uk/dispub/dissertations/2004-05/External/Oleary_Meagan_MALib.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015); Jessica Waite, “To What Extent Do Public Libraries in the UK Provide Adequate Resources for Trans People?” (master’s thesis, University of Sheffield, 2013), http://dagda.shef.ac.uk/dispub/dissertations/2012-13/External/Waite_J_Y74.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[v] Avery Tompkins, “Asterisk,” Transgender Studies Quarterly 1, nos. 1–2 (2014): 26–27.

[vi] Sam Killermann, “What Does the Asterisk in ‘Trans*’ Stand For?,” It’s Pronounced Metrosexual, http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/05/what-does-the-asterisk-in-trans-stand-for/ (accessed October 30, 2015).

[vii] CN Lester, “Why I Use ‘Trans’ and Not ‘Trans*,’” A Gentleman and a Scholar, June 30, 2011, https://cnlester.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/why-i-use-trans-and-not-trans/ (accessed October 30, 2015); CN Lester, “Question Twelve: Is Trans* the Preferred Term?,” A Gentleman and a Scholar, April 10, 2013, https://cnlester.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/question-twelve-is-trans-the-preferred-term/ (accessed October 30, 2015).

[viii] B. Aultman, “Cisgender,” Transgender Studies Quarterly 1, nos. 1–2 (2014): 61–62.

[ix] Chapman, “‘We Have Made a Start but There Is a Long Way to Go.’”

[x] YouGov, “YouGov Survey Results” (London: YouGov, 2015), https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/7zv13z8mfn/YG-Archive-150813-%20Sexuality.pdf (accessed February 21, 2016).

[xi] Fiona Glen and Karen Hurrell, Technical Note: Measuring Gender Identity (Manchester: Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2012), http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/documents/technical_note_final.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[xii] METRO Youth Chances, Youth Chances Summary of First Findings: The Experiences of LGBTQ Young People in England (London: METRO, 2014), http://www.youthchances.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/YC_REPORT_FirstFindings_2014.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[xiii] April Guasp and Sam Dick, Living Together: British Attitudes to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People in 2012 (London: Stonewall, 2012), http://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/Living_Together__2012_.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[xiv] Martin Mitchell and Charlie Howarth, Trans Research Review (Manchester: Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2009), http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/documents/research/trans_research_review_rep27.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015), p. vi.

[xv] April Guasp, The School Report: The Experiences of Gay Young People in Britain’s Schools in 2012 (London: Stonewall, 2012), http://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/The_School_Report__2012_.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[xvi] METRO Youth Chances, Youth Chances Summary of First Findings; LGBT Youth Scotland, Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People—Education Report (LGBT Youth Scotland, 2012), https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/files/documents/Life_in_Scotland_for_LGBT_Young_People_-_Education_Report_NEW.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[xvii] Sian Cain, “Malorie Blackman: ‘Children’s Books Still Have a Long Way to Go Before They Are Truly Diverse,’” The Guardian, August 23, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/aug/23/malorie-blackman-teen-young-adult-fiction-diversity-amnesty-teen-takeover-2014 (accessed October 30, 2015); Alison Flood, “James Dawson: ‘There Are Too Many White Faces’ in Kids’ Books,” The Guardian, September 18, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/18/james-dawson-diversity-debate-young-adult-childrens-books (accessed October 30, 2015); Inclusive Minds, “Projects,” http://www.inclusiveminds.com/projects.php (accessed October 30, 2015); Naidoo, “The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children”; Richard Suchet, “Call for More Ethnic Diversity in Kids’ Books,” Sky News, August 24, 2014, http://news.sky.com/story/1323753/call-for-more-ethnic-diversity-in-kids-books (accessed October 30, 2015); We Need Diverse Books, “We Need Diverse Books: Official Campaign Site,” http://weneeddiversebooks.org/ (accessed October 30, 2015).

[xviii] David Levithan, “Supporting Gay Teen Literature,” School Library Journal 50, no. 10 (October 2004): 44–45; Martin and Murdock, Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens; D. McCafferty, “Love and Accept Yourself for Who You Are: An Interview with Alex Sanchez,” Young Adult Library Services 4, no. 4 (Summer 2006): 10–12; K. Pavao, “Out of the Closet,” Publishers Weekly 250, no. 48 (2003): 23–25; Lisa Williamson, closing plenary presented at “Diversity, Variety and Choice: YLG and CDEG Conference 2015” (October 23–24, 2015, Glasgow, UK).

[xix] Bridge, “No Place on the Shelves?”; Cliodhna Devlin, How You Can Help Us: How Adults Can Help Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Youth (Manchester: LGBT Youth North West and Children In Need, 2014), http://www.lgbtyouthnorthwest.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/How-You-Can-Help-Us-Full-Report.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015); Darla Linville, “Beyond Picket Fences: What Gay/Queer/LGBTQ Teens Want from the Library,” Voice of Youth Advocates 27, no. 3 (August 2004): 183–86; Janine Walker, “Secondary School Library Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Students” (master’s thesis, University of Sheffield, 2013), http://dagda.shef.ac.uk/dispub/dissertations/2012-13/External/Walker_J_Y83.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[xx] CIPFA, Public Library Statistics: 2008–09 Estimates and 2007–08 Actuals (London: The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, 2009).

[xxi] Bridge, “No Place on the Shelves?”

[xxii] Walker, “Secondary School Library Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Students.”

[xxiii] Linville, “Beyond Picket Fences.”

[xxiv] Bridge, “No Place on the Shelves?”

[xxv] Walker, “Secondary School Library Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Students”; Walker and Bates, “Developments in LGBTQ Provision in Secondary School Library Services.”

[xxvi] Janet A. E. Creelman and Roma M. Harris, “Coming Out: The Information Needs of Lesbians,” Collection Building 10, nos. 3–4 (1990): 37–41; Steven Joyce and Alvin M. Schrader, “Hidden Perceptions: Edmonton Gay Males and the Edmonton Public Library,” Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 22, no. 1 (1997): 19–37; Tanis L. Stenback and Alvin M. Schrader, “Venturing from the Closet: A Qualitative Study of the Information Needs of Lesbians,” Public Library Quarterly 17, no. 3 (1999): 37–50; Alisa J. Whitt, “The Information Needs of Lesbians,” Library and Information Science Research 15 (1993): 275–88.

[xxvii] Angie Beiriger and Rose M. Jackson, “An Assessment of the Information Needs of Transgender Communities in Portland, Oregon,” Public Library Quarterly 26, nos. 1–2 (2007): 45–60; Goldthorp, “Can Scottish Public Library Services Claim They Are Socially Inclusive”; Bharat Mehra and Donna Braquet, “Process of Information-Seeking during ‘Queer’ Youth Coming-Out Experiences,” in Youth Information-Seeking Behavior II: Contexts, Theories, Models and Issues, ed. Mary K. Chelton and Colleen Cool (Toronto: Scarecrow Press, 2007), 93–131; Waite, “To What Extent Do Public Libraries in the UK Provide Adequate Resources for Trans People?”

[xxviii] Creelman and Harris, “Coming Out”; Goldthorp, “Can Scottish Public Library Services Claim They Are Socially Inclusive”; Joyce and Schrader, “Hidden Perceptions”; Stenback and Schrader, “Venturing from the Closet”; Waite, “To What Extent Do Public Libraries in the UK Provide Adequate Resources for Trans People?”; Whitt, “The Information Needs of Lesbians.”

[xxix] Norman, “OUT on Loan.”

[xxx] Brett, “Politics and Public Library Provision for Lesbians and Gay Men in London”; Goldthorp, “Can Scottish Public Library Services Claim They Are Socially Inclusive”; Eleanor Moss, “An Inductive Evaluation of a Public Library GLBT Collection,” Collection Building 27, no. 4 (2008): 149–56; Joanne E. Passet, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Gay and Lesbian Books in Midwestern Public Libraries, 1900–1969,” Library Trends 60, no. 4 (2012): 749–64; David G. Schneider, “Out of the Closet and onto the Shelves: A Checklist Study of Gay Fiction in Public Libraries in Franklin County, Ohio” (master’s thesis, Kent State University, 1998), http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED424854.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015); Murat Yılmaz, “Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Themed Materials in the Public Libraries in Turkey,” Libri 64, no. 1 (2014): 11–27.

[xxxi] Michele Hilton Boon and Vivian Howard, “Recent Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Fiction for Teens: Are Canadian Public Libraries Providing Adequate Collections?” Collection Building 23, no. 3 (2004): 133–38; Elizabeth L. Chapman, “Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in Public Libraries” (master’s thesis, University of Sheffield, 2007), http://dagda.shef.ac.uk/dispub/dissertations/2006-07/External/Chapman_Elizabeth_MALib.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015); Jennifer Chance Cook, “GLBT Teen Literature: Is It Out There in Indiana?” Indiana Libraries 23, no. 2 (2004): 25–28; Paulette M. Rothbauer and Lynne E. F. McKechnie, “Gay and Lesbian Fiction for Young Adults: A Survey of Holdings in Canadian Public Libraries,” Collection Building 18, no. 1 (1999): 32–39; Alex Spence, “Gay Young Adult Fiction in the Public Library: A Comparative Survey,” Public Libraries 38, no. 4 (1999): 224–43; Virginia Kay Williams and Nancy Deyoe, “Diverse Population, Diverse Collection? Youth Collections in the United States,” Technical Services Quarterly 31, no. 2 (2014): 97–121.

[xxxii] Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Elizabeth Overberg, and Shannon Harris, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ)-Themed Literature for Teens: Are School Libraries Providing Adequate Collections?” School Library Research 16 (2013): 1–18.

[xxxiii] Caroline Wright, “An Investigation into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Provision in Secondary School Libraries in the UK” (master’s thesis, University of Sheffield, 2007).

[xxxiv] Boon and Howard, “Recent Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Fiction for Teens”; Brett, “Politics and Public Library Provision for Lesbians and Gay Men in London”; Cook, “GLBT Teen Literature”; Hughes-Hassell, Overberg, and Harris, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ)-Themed Literature for Teens”; Rothbauer and McKechnie, “Gay and Lesbian Fiction for Young Adults”; Williams and Deyoe, “Diverse Population, Diverse Collection?”; Wright, “An Investigation into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Provision in Secondary School Libraries in the UK.”

[xxxv] Rothbauer and McKechnie, “Gay and Lesbian Fiction for Young Adults”; Spence, “Gay Young Adult Fiction in the Public Library.”

[xxxvi] Boon and Howard, “Recent Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Fiction for Teens.”

[xxxvii] Williams and Deyoe, “Diverse Population, Diverse Collection?”

[xxxviii] Hughes-Hassell, Overberg, and Harris, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ)-Themed Literature for Teens.”

[xxxix] Wright, “An Investigation into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Provision in Secondary School Libraries in the UK”; Chapman and Wright, “Provision of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Materials for Young People in UK Public and Secondary School Libraries.”

[xl] Chapman, “Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in Public Libraries”; Elizabeth L. Chapman, “No More Controversial than a Gardening Display? Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in U.K. Public Libraries,” Library Trends 61, no. 3 (2013): 542–68.

[xli] Williams and Deyoe, “Diverse Population, Diverse Collection?”

[xlii] Rothbauer and McKechnie, “Gay and Lesbian Fiction for Young Adults.”

[xliii] John Pruitt, “Gay Men’s Book Clubs versus Wisconsin Public Libraries: Political Perceptions in the Absence of Dialogue,” Library Quarterly 80, no. 2 (2010): 121–41.

[xliv] Natalie Cole, “The Influence of Attitudes on Public Library Stock Management Practise,” Libri 50 (2000): 37–47.

[xlv] Chapman, “Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in English Public Libraries.”

[xlvi] Elizabeth L. Chapman, “‘I’ve Never Really Thought about It’: Librarians’ Attitudes to the Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in English Public Libraries,” paper presented at “Addressing the Silence: How Libraries Can Serve Their LGBTQ Users” (IFLA WLIC 2014, August 16–22, 2014, Lyon, France), http://library.ifla.org/1017/1/151-chapman-en.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[xlvii] R. Burke Johnson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, and Lisa A. Turner, “Toward a Definition of Mixed Methods Research,” Journal of Mixed Methods Research 1, no. 2 (2007): 123.

[xlviii] Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke, “Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology,” Qualitative Research in Psychology 3, no. 2 (2006): 77–101; Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke, Successful Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide for Beginners (London: SAGE, 2013).

[xlix] R. Burke Johnson and Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, “Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm Whose Time Has Come,” Educational Researcher 33, no. 7 (2004): 18.

[l] Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, “Mixed Methods Research”; Spencer J. Maxcy, “Pragmatic Threads in Mixed Methods Research in the Social Sciences: The Search for Multiple Modes of Inquiry and the End of the Philosophy of Formalism,” in Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research, ed. Abbas Tashakkori and Charles Teddlie (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003), 51–89; David L. Morgan, “Paradigms Lost and Pragmatism Regained: Methodological Implications of Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods,” Journal of Mixed Methods Research 1, no. 1 (2007): 48–76.

[li] John W. Creswell and Vicki L. Plano Clark, Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2007); Lois-ellin Datta, “A Pragmatic Basis for Mixed-Method Designs,” in Advances In Mixed-Method Evaluation: The Challenges and Benefits of Integrating Diverse Paradigms, ed. Jennifer C. Green and Valerie J. Caracelli (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997), 33–46; Martyn Denscombe, “Communities of Practice: A Research Paradigm for the Mixed Methods Approach,” Journal of Mixed Methods Research 2, no. 3 (2008): 270–83; Charles Teddlie and Abbas Tashakkori, “Major Issues and Controversies in the Use of Mixed Methods in the Social and Behavioral Sciences,” in Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research, ed. Tashakkori and Teddlie, 3–50.

[lii] Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, “Mixed Methods Research”; Maxcy, “Pragmatic Threads in Mixed Methods Research in the Social Sciences”; Morgan, “Paradigms Lost and Pragmatism Regained.”

[liii] Henry T. Blanke, “Librarianship and Political Values: Neutrality or Commitment?” Library Journal 114, no. 12 (1989): 39–43; Alison Lewis, ed., Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian (Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press, 2008); Lauren Smith, “‘A Cradle of Democracy’: Democratic Engagement and Public Libraries” (master’s thesis, University of Sheffield, 2010), http://dagda.shef.ac.uk/dispub/dissertations/2009-10/External/Lsmith_Smith_090200991.pdf (accessed February 22, 2016).

[liv] Yvonna S. Lincoln and Egon G. Guba, Naturalistic Inquiry (Newbury Park, CA: SAGE, 1985); Donna M. Mertens, Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology: Integrating Diversity with Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2005); Charles Teddlie and Abbas Tashakkori, Foundations of Mixed Methods Research: Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2009).

[lv] Teddlie and Tashakkori, Foundations of Mixed Methods Research.

[lvi] Chapman, “Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in English Public Libraries,” appendix O.

[lvii] Lincoln and Guba, Naturalistic Inquiry; Teddlie and Tashakkori, Foundations of Mixed Methods Research.

[lviii] CIPFA, Public Library Statistics: 2008–09 Estimates and 2007–08 Actuals.

[lix] Elizabeth A. Kemper, Sam Stringfield, and Charles Teddlie, “Mixed Methods Sampling Strategies in Social Science Research,” in Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research, ed. Tashakkori and Teddlie.

[lx] See, for example, Boon and Howard, “Recent Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Fiction for Teens”; Rothbauer and McKechnie, “Gay and Lesbian Fiction for Young Adults”; Spence, “Gay Young Adult Fiction in the Public Library”; Williams and Deyoe, “Diverse Population, Diverse Collection?”

[lxi] Chapman, “Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in English Public Libraries,” appendix C.

[lxii] Ibid.

[lxiii] Claire Creaser, Accessibility of Top 1,000 Titles of 2011 (London: RNIB, 2012), http://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/Accessibility_Top_1000_2011_Research_report.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015); Claire Creaser, Accessibility of Top 1,000 Titles of 2012 (London: RNIB, 2013), http://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/Top_1000_books_2012.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[lxiv] Graham Martindale, Peter Willett, and Roger Jones, “Use and Perceptions of E-Books in Derbyshire Libraries,” Library Review 64, nos. 1–2 (2015): 2–20.

[lxv] RNIB, Availability of Accessible Publications: 2011 Update (London: RNIB, 2011), http://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/2011_Accessibility_Update_final_report.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[lxvi] CILIP, Ebook Acquisition and Lending in Public Libraries: Briefing Paper. Version 4 (October 2014) (London: CILIP, 2014), http://www.cilip.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Ebooks%20in%20public%20libraries%20-%20briefing%20%28October%202014%29.pdf (accessed October 30, 2015).

[lxvii] Schneider, “Out of the Closet and onto the Shelves.”

[lxviii] Martin and Murdock, Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens.

[lxix] Chapman, “Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in English Public Libraries.”

[lxx] Ibid., 105.

[lxxi] Boon and Howard, “Recent Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Fiction for Teens”; Cook, “GLBT Teen Literature”; Rothbauer and McKechnie, “Gay and Lesbian Fiction for Young Adults”; Williams and Deyoe, “Diverse Population, Diverse Collection?”

[lxxii] Bridge, “No Place on the Shelves?”; Walker, “Secondary School Library Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Students”; Walker and Bates, “Developments in LGBTQ Provision in Secondary School Library Services”; Wright, “An Investigation into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Provision in Secondary School Libraries in the UK.”

[lxxiii] Williams and Deyoe, “Diverse Population, Diverse Collection?”

[lxxiv] Cole, “The Influence of Attitudes on Public Library Stock Management Practise”; Pruitt, “Gay Men’s Book Clubs versus Wisconsin Public Libraries.”

[lxxv] Chapman, “Provision of LGBT-Related Fiction to Children and Young People in English Public Libraries”; CIPFA, Public Library Statistics: 2013/14 Estimates and 2012/13 Actuals (London: The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, 2014).

[lxxvi] CIPFA, Public Library Statistics: 2013/14 Estimates and 2012/13 Actuals.

[lxxvii] Eddie Halpin, Carolynn Rankin, Elizabeth L. Chapman, and Christopher Walker, “Measuring the Value of Public Libraries in the Digital Age: What the Power People Need to Know,” Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 47, no. 1 (2015): 30–42.

About Anna Lam

Anna Lam is a Communications Specialist for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).
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