Bemidji Public Library Features LGBTQ+ Voices as Part of Summer Reading Program
The Bemidji Public Library is celebrating the start of summer with their annual summer reading program. This year’s theme, “Find Your Voice,” looks to encourage kids ages 3 to 18 through themed books and activities. One event was held last week in partnership with the Pride Support Network and focused on LGBTQIA+ works that celebrate inclusivity and acceptance.
“I’m excited to help organize this and put out some family-friendly, child-friendly programming to kids,” said Ben Cahill, Bemidji’s Pride Support Network Lead Organizer.
“Our goal is to get children reading over the summer months when they don’t necessarily do that as often as they were during the school year,” explained Bemidji Public Library’s Young Adult Librarian Sabrina Grauman.
The theme of “Find Your Voice” was provided through a program called iREAD to the Kitchigami Regional Library System. Library staff then looked at bringing in local organizations and resources for Bemidji area readers.
“We partner with different organizations because they may have more knowledge than we do,” said Grauman. “Our goal as librarians is to impart knowledge. So finding an organization that may know more about something than what I know about it allows us to give accurate information.”
Despite recent movements to ban books, libraries like Bemidji’s hope to provide stories all kids can relate to and help them find their voice.
“I do my best to provide books, especially in the YA category, that are controversial because I think everyone deserves to have their voice heard,” said Grauman.
“Just because you take away everything from us, [it] doesn’t mean we disappear, and we’re lucky to have so many supporters who come by and even when we can’t speak up for ourselves, will speak up for us,” added Cahill.
Kids can track their progress through minutes. With each milestone reached, participants can qualify for a prize. The next program for the “Find Your Voice” series will feature harpist Nicolas Carter on Friday, June 23.