I’m sure you hear about the impact True Diary has on kids all the time. What story has left the most lasting impression on you? The big moment for me was when I gave a reading in Spokane in 2009, and eight or nine Chicano boys drove up with their teacher from Ephrata, WA, which has a heavily migrant worker population. These Chicano boys were so into the book—and they were all wearing ties—and they told me that they had decided to put on ties to show respect to me and the book. Their excitement was amazing, and all of them said it was the first book they’d ever finished. What made the book so special? It was the first book they ever read that felt real.
As far as I’m concerned, when you suppress a minority from your library catalogue, you’re making a statement: you’re pulling the welcome mat out from under that minority’s feet and you’re ensuring the dissolution of that minority and its history within your community. I’m proud of the consideration I see librarians give to their diverse communities of users. I’m proud to see Armistead Maupin on the quick-read shelves with Urdu and Polish texts around one corner and mental health texts around the next. I’m proud of these refuges and community centres and melting pots. I’m proud that despite the shushy stereotypes, these are places where anyone can have as loud an identity as they like and it will be catered to. I’m proud of libraries and of my choice to become a librarian.