Libraries as Safe Places

Jenn Hooker speaks out about making libraries safe places at Public libraries Online:

“We are not therapists, counselors, or social workers, but many librarians find themselves becoming well acquainted with their frequent patrons. If you see a patron, especially a young one, who is being taunted or abused for any reason, you can offer them a place in the library.


“Now that I work in a library and carry some power, I feel it is my duty to offer the same safety that was offered to me many years ago. I wear a rainbow Mickey Mouse pin on my work lanyard so as to subtly inform people, ‘I’m like you,’ and so far it’s worked. I smile at kids when they come in and make sure to speak up when I hear people using hateful epithets. No one, especially children, deserves to be attacked with malicious words. Sticks and stones may break bones, but no matter what anyone says, names can still be hurtful. With a little bit of effort, we can make sure that no harm ever befalls a child inside the walls of a library.”

Even though she writes specifically about LGBT youth, the principle has wider applicability. As one librarian – and a human being – to another, I say: Kudos, Jenn!