Since her first novel was published in 1967, S.E. Hinton has been beloved by youth for creating relatable characters and tenderly writing hard truths. Her books continue to be enjoyed by avid and reluctant readers, to be taught in classrooms, and to be challenged by would-be censors.
Youth need a space where they feel accepted, and the library can be that space.
We owe it to kids to talk to them about their rights and what support looks like—be it for challenged books, authors, or marginalized people—and how all of it ties into the power dynamics of their country.
Far more than just “keepers of the printed book” (our original job description), we are now, perhaps more than ever, guardians of our teens’ emotional as well as intellectual needs. A large part of our job responsibility is to provide a safe space, a blanket of warmth and comfort, a plethora of intellectual and emotional resources to the young adults we serve.