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Pride in the Library: Gifts for Readers Celebrating LGBTQ+ People and Books

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

‘Tis the season of all things Pride, and as always, the library is part and parcel of that celebration in June and through the whole year. As the rights of queer people continue to be attacked across the country, including in the library, it’s especially important that libraries speak up and out against discrimination. Libraries are institutions of democracy and civic engagement, and libraries uphold the rights of all to not only access materials of interest but everyone should also be able to see themselves in those collections.

Libraries exist to meet the needs and interests of all people, from birth to the elderly. Not all books in the library are for everyone, but everyone should be able to find a book that suits them. No one person gets to dictate what can or cannot be in the library nor what any individual can or cannot have access to. Despite the right-wing dog whistles about porn in the library or about library workers grooming young people, the fact of the matter is those individuals are choosing to offload their duties as parents to guide their children in appropriate reading material by demanding the removal of books they don’t like from shelves. For claiming not to coparent with the government, they sure want the government to do the parenting so that they do not need to have tricky conversations with their kids about why they do not want them to read or access certain materials. That is their code of parental rights. What doesn’t fall underneath that is demanding that material be made inaccessible for all people.

This library-themed pride merch celebrates everyone, and it expands upon last year’s roundup of Pride in the Library goods. Yes, let’s acknowledge rainbow capitalism right here, and let’s also accept that emphasizing the importance of LGBTQ+ presence in the library matters. All of these come from small creators, and wearing or sporting these library pride goods helps you identify yourself with the right side of history. As mentioned in the roundup of fantastic stickers celebrating the right to read, engaging in capitalism here is a way to support those who are being directly hurt by ongoing discriminatory legislation, and it’s a way to find and connect with like-minded folks who are pushing back.

I’ve been conscious of including “loud” Pride in the library items, as well as some that are more subtle — we know that being out and proud isn’t a luxury afforded to everyone.

Remember: these goods will do you well all year long.

queer books save lives t-shirt

The statement could not be any more clear: queer books save lives, which is one of many reasons why they should be standard in libraries. $30+ in a variety of styles, up to size 5XL in several.

rainbow public library card sticker.

Everything about this pride themed library card sticker is purr-fection. It’s subtle for those looking for that and yet, it’s also extremely NOT subtle. $3.50.

Image of a person holding a canvas tote bag. The bad has a rainbow on it with the words "read the rainbow."

Haul your library finds with this read the rainbow tote bag. $18.

trans book stack shirt that says "happily ever after."

There are options for most gender and sexual identities available from this shop, and each and every one of them features an appropriately-colored rainbow bookshelf with the words “happily ever after” beneath it. $25+, up to size 4 XL.

enamel pin with a rainbow stack of books.

Pop one of these gorgeous rainbow book stack enamel pins on your lanyard, tote bag, or right on your shirt. $11.

image of a black and white sticker featuring a drag queen reading a book to children.

This drag queen story time sticker is a reminder that gender is a construct and that events like this are fun, engaging, and creative events for young people (and they should be safe spaces for that). $4.

support your local library sticker

Another sticker, but this subtly queer one, is a reminder that supporting the library is important. I’ve got this one on my laptop, and it’s great. $4.50.

rainbow book shelf earrings

Wear these gorgeous rainbow bookshelves on your ears all month long…and all year long, too. They’re lovely! $16.

i read queer banned books bookmark

Every library worker and every library lover is always in need of a good bookmark, and why not celebrate the queer banned books you love? $8.

los bibliotecas shirt

Choose from a variety of colors with this shirt that reminds everyone that the library is literally for everyone. $15+, up to size 3XL.

pink hat with a rainbow stack of book with the words "read with pride."

Don a trucker hat with a reminder of how important it is to read queer now…and to read queer all year. $20, with plenty of color options.

downloadable art that says "support your local library" with a rainbow behind it.

This downloadable and printable support your local library art would look great in your home, your office, and/or right on end caps of the library shelves. $6.

rainbow heart sticker that says librarians are allies.

And finally, it’s unfortunate that this sentiment isn’t true of all librarians — to believe otherwise is a privilege — but this sticker is one that applies to a lot of librarians who may not themselves identify beneath the LGBTQ+ umbrella. $4.50.