The freedom of being a librarian in the west during this time was unparalleled: women were trained to be respected and valued members of the community, trusted with the task of educating and exposing their neighbors to the literary lifestyle, and they had the option of seeking new work in a huge variety of locations. These "cultural crusaders" pioneered a profession that gave other women a chance to join in academic and educational pursuits as well as create a literary community wherever they went.
This past spring, Revolutionary Voices, a multicultural queer youth anthology published in 2000, was pulled from the shelves at a Mount Holly, New Jersey high school library. A formal complaint was filed by Beverly Marinelli, a resident of Lumberton, NJ who just happens to belong to a local chapter of Glenn Beck's 9.12 project. Marinelli stated that the book is "pervasively vulgar, obscene, and inappropriate". Following the request to remove the book, a review committee voted to take the book off the shelves at the school library.
Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie, has been described by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as "the first creative resource by and for queer and questioning youth of every color, class, religion, gender and ability". The anthology is comprised of prose, art, letters, diary entries, and performance pieces.
This summer, I'm reading lots of young adult literature. Re-visiting some of my favorites from high school, catching up on some of the gems I missed, and paging through what has been published since I reached adulthood. I invite you to do the same. Re-read an old favorite, or discover a new one. You don't need to be a teen, parent, teacher, or librarian to read YA Lit. All you need is an interest in how stories are being told to teenagers.
It's a Wonderful Life tells us a story about what it means to be a librarian. In this alternate reality, Mary is portrayed as a librarian in order to convey just how bad things got without George around. Mary is an old maid, and in 1946, "old maid" was synonymous with "librarian".
This character certainly reflects societal beliefs about librarians in 1946: that librarians were single, unhappy women. Librarian identity in film has become a bit more complex since then, but Mary's character is still all too familiar.
Hot Pantz provides readers with an understanding of anatomy, recipes to conquer yeast infections and hormonal imbalances, an extensive glossary of self-healing herbs, a list of aphrodisiacs, and it provides instructions on how to give foot massages that will alleviate cramps! I can't tell you how often I consult this zine, or how excited I've been to share information from this zine with a friend in need.
Upon hearing about our library's need for zines, Virginia Paine hand-delivered a stack of her diary comics to our office, tucked inside of a paper bag package. When I arrived at the office the next day, I was pleased to find the parcel sitting on my desk. I read all of them before the day was over.