Read On! Representation matters

Growing up, I was always the tallest kid in my class by quite a lot. It wasn’t a hardship, but it made me feel different and set apart from my classmates. In the mid-to-late 1980s Hasbro released fashion dolls based on the cartoon “Jem and the Holograms.” Jem and her companion dolls were 12” tall (a full inch taller than their Barbie counterparts) and had big, flat feet. I remember getting my first Jem doll and truly feeling Seen. Suddenly, I had a doll who was similarly set apart from her peers and it was such a relief to know I wasn’t alone.

In early high school, I checked out “The Haunting of Frances Rain” by Margaret Buffie from the school’s library. Again, I found myself in my media. The main character was dealing with so many of the same family issues I had that I read it multiple times. The book became so precious to me that I snuck into the teachers’ workroom at school to copy each and every page so I could keep it forever. (I have since made amends to the keepers of copyright)

That feeling of discovering yourself in toys or media was so powerful for me that I have a Jem doll on my desk at work and the Buffie book on my bookshelf at home. I’m not alone in this feeling. It’s an important and sometimes life-changing moment for anyone who feels different from their peers.

One of the things we strive to do at your Library is make sure we have a variety of materials in our collection so members of our community can find themselves like I did growing up. Growing up is hard and feeling different makes it that much harder. The Library hopes to make Life easier for everyone through the simple act of providing a good, well-rounded collection that is free for anyone to access. If you haven’t found yourself in our collection yet, let us know. We’ll figure out how to fix that.