LGBTQ Materials for Children and Teens


PRE or CO-REQUISITES: MLIS students, completion of the MLIS core courses.


The goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of issues at play in library services related to LGBTQ+ materials and services. While some may have been exposed to the survey course on YA materials, this course will focus on a specific subset of those materials and will also include children’s books. Students will be introduced to a breadth of literature and other materials (audiobooks, movie adaptations, digital media) available in various reading levels, from picture books to young adult literature, that contain LGBTQ+ themes and/or characters. In addition, students will be introduced to various concerns and solutions regarding book challenges, freedom of information, and collections policies, as well as how to work with LGBTQ patrons in a respectful and open manner—avoiding assumptions of gender and pronouns, ensuring use of inclusive language around families and individuals—whether children, teens, or parents.


Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Recognize and describe the various gender and sexual identities that exist in the LGBTQ+ spectrum. [1.1]
  • Synthesize and apply existing scholarship to analyze intersections of LGBTQ+ identities, including the social construction of adolescence and childhood. [4.1]
  • Expand knowledge of existing materials for and about LGBTQ+ children and youth in order to identify and assess diverse literary representations. [1.1, 1.2]
  • Communicate effectively about LGBTQ+ materials and increase access to materials by being respectful of LGBTQ+ patrons. [1.1, 2.1]
  • Recognize and implement critical evaluation tools to aid in the development of policies related to children’s and young adult literature. [1.1, 1.2]
  • Articulate the basics of intellectual freedom, including judging particular situations and defending choices based on the Library Bill of Rights and library policy. [1.4, 5.2]
  • Demonstrate critical literacy skills by analyzing YA and children’s materials, including recognizing historical and current trends in publishing. [4.1]
  • Choose and summarize existing young adult and children’s literature, as well as producing promotional materials, including book talks, dramatic readings, posters, and brochures. [2.1, 2.2, 3.1]
  • Hypothesize discussions and confrontations with patrons in order to prepare for a variety of situations that may come up when starting in a new library position. [5.1, 5.2]


  • Module 1: Critical and theoretical knowledge
    • Gender studies in relation to literary analysis and critique
      • Exploring, specifically, inclusion of an expanding number of gender identities in media and literature for children and teens
    • Sexuality studies in relation to literary analysis and critique
      • Examining the changing depictions of sexual identities and greater overall inclusion in media and literature for children and teens
    • How literary analysis can help to deepen understanding of not only what exists in LGBTQ+ children’s and YA literature, but also how it can impact young readers
  • Module 2: LGBTQ+ Children’s Literature
    • Development and progress of sexual and diversity in books for children
      • How do we measure “progress” in relation to LGBTQ+ representation?
    • Books with themes that can be understood as LGBTQ+ through a queer/trans lens
      • How does reading queerly differ from explicit inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and themes in literature?
    • Module 3: LGBTQ+ Young Adult Literature
      • Development and progress of sexual diversity in YA books
      • Development and progress of gender diversity in YA books
      • Books with themes that can be understood as LGBTQ+ through a queer/trans lens
      • #OwnVoices literature for young adults (strategic essentialism can benefit teen readers in ensuring that LGBTQ+ characters and authors exist.)
    • Module 4: Interacting with LGBTQ+ Patrons
      • Examining what it means to exist as gay/lesbian/trans/etc in various communities and geographic locations
      • Exploring what makes it necessary to understand pronouns and other terminology when recommending or discussing literature with child, teen, or adult patrons
      • Making the library and inclusive and welcoming space for trans and non-binary patrons as well as diverse family structures