Obviously I have heard of books being separated by genre but I can honestly say that this is the first time I have heard about African American and LGBT fiction being separated from the general collection. Once I think about it I can see how the decision to separate them or not separate them is different in many libraries. In the logical sense, if the books were separated from the general collection it would be easier to locate them if a patron was looking for a novel on that specific topic, but I do not see this separation of the books to be taken lightly by library users or the community as a whole. So one reason for not separating these books would be community response.
Another reason why I do not think that LGBT and African American books should be separated is because they are not considered different genres. I would find it abnormal to have your library’s fiction sectioned off into mystery, romance , and then LGBT and African American. It just wouldn’t seem right. I honestly think that there is the chance that separating these books would hurt their circulation. Since the books were meant for the general public they need to stay in the general collection.
I also think that this separation would bring about the issue of segregation. In regards to where I currently work I think many patrons would think “really?” or “Why?”. I think it would just bring unneeded attention to the library.
There is an article written by author N.K. Jemisin on his website about how he found out that one of his books was on a library’s African American Fiction shelf. This is his opinion about the whole ordeal. “I hate the “African American Fiction” section. HATE. IT. I hate that it exists. I hate that it was ever deemed necessary. I hate why it was deemed necessary, and I don’t agree that it is. I hated it as a reader, long before I ever got published. And now that I’m a writer, I don’t ever want to see my books there — unless a venue has multiple copies and they’re also in the Fantasy or General Fiction section. ” The rest of the article is rather interesting if you want to know more about his view on separating AFF books from General Fiction. Here is the link:
Thanks for reading!