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Provision of LGBT-related fiction to children and young people in English public libraries: a mixed-methods study

Chapman, Elizabeth L (2015) Provision of LGBT-related fiction to children and young people in English public libraries: a mixed-methods study. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the extent of provision of LGBT-related fiction to children and young people in English public libraries, how it is procured and made available, staff attitudes, and factors affecting provision. The research drew on a pragmatic philosophy and used a mixed-methods approach, comprising a checklist study, questionnaires and interviews. The literature review highlighted a need for portrayals of LGBT people in children’s and Young Adult fiction: this can have benefits for young LGBT people and children of LGBT parents, as well as for increasing understanding among others. Despite this, there has been little attention to the area in UK library research or practice, and the small amount of extant research suggests provision is poor. The study found that provision of LGBT-related fiction to children and young people was generally limited in the participating authorities, particularly as regards younger children’s books and accessible formats. Staff attitudes were positive but not pro-active, with many admitting to never having thought about the area. Some concerns emerged, namely the provision of materials to younger children; materials with sexual content; the quality of materials; US-focused titles; promotion; and the possibility of complaint. The thesis presents a number of models of factors resulting in poor provision. A key factor is that many books are published outside the UK and consequently do not come through mainstream suppliers. This combines with a lack of awareness among librarians, who consequently do not seek out titles elsewhere. Budget and workload seem likely to have an increasing impact in the current economic situation. The model is situated within a broader environment of hetero/cisnormativity, stigma, and a neoliberal approach to library provision which may result in the neglect of areas perceived as ‘niche’. The thesis concludes by summarising the contributions of the study to research and practice, and presenting recommendations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Information School (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.677356
Depositing User: Dr Elizabeth L Chapman
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2016 16:39
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:06
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11802

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