The Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) at Hermon High School received a grant from MEA’s Human and Civil Rights & Social Justice Committee. With that funding, the GSA club audited the library’s LGBTQIA+ books and ordered books to be more inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community in the school. The addition to the school library resulted in materials that students and staff say improved the school community.

What impact has the new LGBTQIA+ book section in the library had on you or other members of the school community?

It has allowed other students to experience the culture of LGBTQIA+ where they otherwise couldn’t at home, and hopefully has helped students questioning their identity to be more comfortable or understand more about themselves.

-High School Student

The LGBTQIA+ book section in our library helps us feel safe at school. As queer kids, we hear homophobic jokes and passive aggressive comments almost daily. To be able to see all the rainbows and acceptance right when we walk in the door, it lets us know that this is a place where we don’t have to hide, because we will not be met with harm if we are ourselves.

– High School Student

Having the LGBTQIA+ section in the library brings awareness to the LGBTQIA+ community and it makes us more seen in the school, and people can get educated on the LGBTQIA+ community.

– High School Student

The display makes educational and non-educational LGBTQIA+ stuff more accessible to my friends. – High School Student
Reading these books about different orientations and identities has helped me learn more about myself.

– High School Student

As the Hermon High School’s Library Media Specialist, what did you notice when compiling the lists of LGBTQIA+ books during the start of the audit process?

I noticed that the library subject fields had antiquated terms for LGBTQIA+. For example, transgender was not a subject heading for a few older books. The subject heading was entitled “transexual.” This helped me bring our catalog up to date and become more inclusive. Also, I realized that we were missing a lot. I had prided myself on being inclusive, yet I had no book on Asexuality, Demisexuality, and Gender Fluidity. The students also noticed that I did not have a book on Intersexuality. I am glad that they woke me up. Also, their display included the many flags of LGBTQIA+, and I am so grateful to the students. I learned so much.

– Library Media Specialist

How are students responding to the display in the library? Are the books moving?

The books are moving. One book, How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual has moved the most. This display has been the single most popular display in my 10 years here.

– Library Media Specialist

Which books, and why?

Hermon High School’s librarian pulled lists of books in the library catalogue based on different keywords for example, asexuality, gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transexual.

Members of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance club were given these lists and conducted research on the representation of that identity in the text. From there, the staff and students determined gaps in identities and representations. Students then conducted research on texts that would be more inclusive. The students were responsible for choosing each text and worked with the librarian to order books that would be most inclusive and useful for the high school.

Basford, JakeThe Queeridoic Table: A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Culture 
Hopkinson, Elizabeth Asexual Fairytales 
Miller, Madeline The Song of Achilles 
Albertalli, Becky What If It’s Us 
Bongiovanni, Archi A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns 
Newman, Leslea Sparkle Boy 
Beige, Kathy Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens, 2nd ed 
Burgess, Rebecca How to Be Ace : A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual 
Decker, Julie Sond The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality 
Gino, Alex Rick 
Iantaffi, Alex Life Isn’t Binary: On Being Both, Beyond, and In-Between 
McQuiston, Casey Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel 
Tarttelin, Abigail Golden Boy: A Novel 
Thomas, Aiden Cemetery Boys
Young, Eris They/Them/Their: A Guide to Nonbinary and Genderqueer Identities 
Imon, Lianne Confessions from a Teenage Hermaphrodite 
Books Ordered by Hermon High School’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance