GLSEN Arizona’s Rainbow Library program aims to make Arizona school communities safer and more inclusive by providing LGBTQ+ centered, racially diverse, multicultural, and multilingual book sets available to K-12 schools and community libraries - for free.
Why Rainbow Libraries?
In 2020, less than one-third of children’s books published in the U.S. represented Black/African, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, Pacific Islander, or Arab characters, and in 2019, just 3.1% of new children's books had an LGBTQ+ main character or subject.
According to the 2021 Arizona School Climate Survey only 28% of Arizona students said they had access to LGBTQ-related library resources at school and only 14% were taught positive representations of LGBTQ+ people, history, or events (“inclusive curriculum”).
A collection of texts that positively represent LGBTQ+ characters and historical figures is critical for any school to be an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students and those with LGBTQ+ family members.
Inclusive curriculum benefits ALL students by promoting diversity and teaching them about the myriad of identities in their communities.
“As an asexual person, seeing myself be represented was powerful because that meant other people would be able to learn about asexuality.”
- High School Student in New Haven, Connecticut
How It Works
Rainbow Library is a national initiative driven by GLSEN that sends LGBTQ+ affirming text sets to schools and libraries across the country - for free.
GLSEN Arizona invites any full-time staff member at a K-12 school or public library in Arizona to apply for a Rainbow Library for their community. Each school that applies is eligible to receive one Rainbow Library starter set, which contains 10 LGBTQ+ affirming grade-aligned books and posters.
Rainbow Libraries are delivered to schools and community libraries in the Fall and Spring of each school year on a first come first served basis. Title I Schools are prioritized.
“Thank you so much for the incredible books. I am so thrilled that we were chosen for the grant. I cataloged them on Friday and they were all checked out Monday morning. We are so appreciative of your generosity.”