LGBTQ Young Adult Collection

Librarians and students at Barnard College have partnered to develop a collection of LGBTQ young adult fiction in print, the first of its kind in an academic library. The Barnard LGBTQ YA collection includes novels and short story collections that feature lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning adolescent characters.

The collection makes its debut as incoming and returning students and faculty at Barnard begin their Fall 2011 semester. The idea for the project emerged when Michael Elmore, Director of Collection Services at Barnard Library, began to notice growing mainstream media coverage of young adult novels with LGBTQ characters and themes. Lauren Orso, a library school student intern from Pratt Institute, worked with Elmore to begin developing the collection in 2010. Orso’s thorough research delved into several web-based bibliographic resources alongside a small body of print studies of LGBTQ YA fiction. The resulting list comprised 114 book selections. As the collection develops and expands, Barnard's Wollman Library will place a special emphasis on adding more books that feature questioning, bisexual, transgender, and gender variant characters.

Anna Cory-Watson, another Pratt student and Barnard Library intern, remarked on the uniqueness of this project: “Apart from LGBTQ bookstores, which have disappeared from New York, I’ve never seen queer-themed young adult books grouped together like this.”

Visitors to the Barnard Library will be able to search for and read books in the collection using  CLIO, Barnard College and Columbia University’s online catalog. They can do so by running a basic subject search using the phrase ‘LGBTQ YA.’ The titles grouped under this category date back to the 1960’s, alongside contemporary works that span the genres of fantasy, historical fiction, and the graphic novel, among others. Publishers run the gamut from do-it-yourself projects to large, established houses. The books present a breadth of voices, settings, and experiences.

According to Michael Elmore, Director of Collection Services at Barnard Library, “This is also for the future --- researchers twenty or thirty years from now will want to look back to this period, this movement for full civil rights for LGBTQ people. Barnard College, with its strong interest in gender studies, is a good place to have such a collection.” 

If you would like more information about Barnard LGBTQ YA Collection, would like to suggest materials for the collection, or wish to schedule a visit, please contact Vani Natarajan at or (212) 854-8595.