Representation Matters in the Library

The world can be a heavy place, and when it is, I tend to lose myself in books. I know that I am not alone in doing this, but as a cisgendered, white person, it is not hard for me to find characters with whom I identify. Sadly, this is not the case for everyone.

This is why I am excited to see our library's collection continuing to become more diverse and inclusive, with more books featuring main characters who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) or part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. These stories go beyond just focusing on their identities, providing narratives of adventure and exploration. While I appreciate coming out stories and identity-focused narratives, especially when they are told by marginalized voices, it is refreshing to see diverse characters simply exist in their own stories.

It is essential for our Library system to ensure that all individuals see themselves in our collection. By offering a wide range of voices and perspectives from marginalized communities in literature, we contribute to a more inclusive understanding of what it means to be BIPOC or 2SLGBTQIA+. These stories not only educate readers who may not share these identities, but they also offer a window into possibilities that BIPOC or 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals may not have previously considered.

Representation matters. It plays a significant role in shaping how we view ourselves and others, as well as how we interact with the world. It is essential for fostering acceptance, understanding, and unity. The impact of representation should not be underestimated.

Representation is particularly important for children and teens who are struggling with their identity. It reassures them that they are not alone and that there are others who share similar experiences. Diversity on our library shelves plays a vital role in affirming that the library is a welcoming and safe space for all individuals: you are seen, your experiences matter, and you are valued here.