The purpose of this study is to determine if elementary school libraries in west central Florida provide diverse, inclusive collections of LGBTQAI+ material in a safe space, and, if they do, to ascertain the librarians' understanding of, and satisfaction with, how that material is cataloged and classified. I wanted to know whether the literature was easily located, or, conversely, if the library classification tools and practices either misrepresented non-normative students or failed to represent them at all, given the potential impacts on students' self-acceptance. To answer these questions, I surveyed 41 private, independent, and public librarians, 10 of whom volunteered for in-depth, semi-structured interviews. During the interviews, I explored how the librarians used lists, thesauri, tagging, ratings, and spine labels to supplement their catalog searches. As none of this work happens in a vacuum, I also examined the paradigm in which the librarians do their work. I approached this study as a humanist, through a feminist lens, using Queer Theory and Whiteness studies. I was not seeking a unitary truth but rather a thick description of each librarian's perspectives and decisions concerning their collection management and cataloging procedures, contextualized within their daily demands as school librarians and, in the case of the public school librarians, technology specialists. My research found a group of librarians dedicated to their work, each of whom approached the management of LGBTQAI+ literature from their own positionality, ranging from those who denied that elementary students needed this literature at all, to those who wanted to provide it but were restricted by time, budget, and parental and administration censorship, to those who boldly proclaimed "I'm not afraid."


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Graduation Date





Stanfill, Mel


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Arts and Humanities

Degree Program

Texts and Technology









Release Date

August 2024

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2024; it will then be open access.