Should you separate GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction in the library collection? If I am part of the collection development and management team at my library, I would not separate GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction from the rest of the collection.
The first reason is that I consider GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction to be subject or topic specific, but not a separate genre. Following my library collection plan, genres such as mystery, fantasy, science fiction and westerns are separated in the collection as well as formats like graphic novels, large print and audiobooks. Many public libraries including the library system I work in do not shelve subjects or topics (theme) like Christian fiction in a separate area. They are shelved in the general fiction collection. The same rules and policy should follow with GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction. These materials should be shelved with the rest of the collection.
The second reason that these types should be shelved together with the collection is that you would be separating these materials and that would lead to segregation. African Americans do not want their book titles placed on separate shelves. African Americans want their works treated the same as white authors (Jamison, 2010). Separating material would also make it appear that you are distinguishing GLBTQ works by putting them aside (or hidden in a corner) so that people don't "accidentally" read this type of material. Keeping it separate causes discrimination.
The third reason not to separate GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction is that it helps foster and promote a diverse collection of all genres based on many topics and themes. A library wants patrons to provide a diverse selection of books for patrons to read and enjoy. Separating them into themes would result in people missing out on a good book, whether it is written by an African American author or contains GLBTQ themes.
It is really important for the library to have a strong collection development plan in place. A collection development policy can be used to guide how the collection is shelved before any problems arise from patrons insisting that certain themed literature be separated.
Jemisin, N. (2010, May 26). Don't put my book in the African American section. Retrieved from http://nkjemisin.com/2010/05/dont-put-my-book-in-the-african-american-section/