The Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, in partnership with trans-led nonprofit organization T-Project, unveiled last Saturday a new LGBT+ book collection worth $2,500, featuring works for all ages, ranging from children’s books to adult books about issues facing the LGBT+ community today.
Present for the unveiling last Saturday were T-Project’s board and junior advisory board members, JKPL staff, and lawmakers Sen. Vinnie Vinson F. Sablan (R-Saipan) and Rep. Christina Sablan (D-Saipan).
Technical services librarian Beth Demapan said that, in addition to the book collection, T-Project will soon be sponsoring an essay contest and “Reading Challenge” at the library.
The “Reading Challenge” requires library patrons to read at least two works that are part of the LGBT+ collection. That will allow them to claim prizes.
Also, with the library celebrating its 30th anniversary this December, Demapan said that partnering up with T-Project is a welcome addition to the library’s goal of promoting literacy.
“We’re very excited that T-Project has partnered with the library, especially since we’re also a safe haven for the LGBT+ community. We’re thankful that they were able to donate around $2,500 worth of books for our community. …[The T-Project partnership and book collection] is a good component as the library celebrates 30 years of promoting literacy,” said Demapan.
T-Project founder Tyra Sablan said the collection was months in the making and that she met with JKPL earlier this year to discuss having a book collection out ahead of LGBT History Month in October. Sablan said that JKPL was a safe space for her in her youth, and was more than happy to give back to the library. Similar book collections for Tinian and Rota are currently in the works, she said.
“We’re really excited that we have the opportunity to be able to give back to the public library because as a kid I used to come here all the time. It was a safe space for me, and so I thought, ‘Why not give back to the place that molded me?’ We decided to create a space where parents, friends, allies, and people seeking to learn more about the LGBT+ community can find local resources that are tangible and free,” said Sablan.