What is the proportion of male versus female authors in our fiction collection? We decided to find out by turning around all the books written by male authors so that only the spines of books written by women were visible. This was a powerful visual message to us about the dominance of male authors in our collection. It was also an interesting exercise in figuring out whether the authors who chose to use initials and not first name were, in fact, men or women, and to think about why women would choose to conceal their gender by using initials.
We need to begin to balance our collection! Young men should be reading from a balance of gender perspectives, even as they read from a broad genre representation. We received a number of responses from students and teachers who saw our flipped collection – surprised about the result.
Beginning the process
Sometimes you just have to stop when a good book draws you in.