LIBFLIX

By Lynn Vare | Posted: Sunday March 10, 2019

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It was International Women's Day last Friday. The theme this year is #BalanceforBetter as a balanced world is a better world. There are some great suggestions of ways we can help forge a more gender-balanced world? We can celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.

One of my pet ‘hates’ is the ‘genderfication’ of books. The word ‘Chicklit’ makes me want to smash things, like glass ceilings! My experience over 26 years as a librarian, six here at OB’s, is that readers like a good story with convincing characters and great writing. They love a great cover – that’s important, but they don’t care if the main character is male or female.

The Hunger Games is one of the most popular series at school and the main character is a teenage girl. Michelle Obama’s book has been constantly out since I bought it. Last year I got the sequel to ‘Me before you’, a modern tearjerker, for staff only to have it instantly taken out by a member of the 1st Fifteen who loved the first book and went on to tell me how sad and beautiful it was. I had loathed it! Yes, lots of the students love hunting books and sports biographies, but so do Melissa and Tina in the office. HOD of English, Stewart Tagg demands books that are “sad & beautiful”, he wants a weeper that rips his heart out.

‘Genderfication’ of books stops people from finding something that they’ll really enjoy. However, we do need characters that represent a gender diverse world. This is something I think YA (Young Adult) literature does really well.

Providing a wide range of books with a good gender balance of authors, characters and subjects to our school community is a good way towards #BalanceforBetter.