OUT Maine is raising money to get more inclusive books into school libraries – NewsCenterMaine.com WCSH-WLBZ

ROCKLAND, Maine — A Maine organization is on a mission to help all students, regardless of their backgrounds, feel accepted and included at school.
The organization OUT Maine is raising money to buy interested Maine school libraries sets of books that are LGBTQ+-inclusive, as part of the “Read the Rainbow” program. For every $400 donated, OUT Maine will send a set of at least 20 books to a library. This program will span all ages by breaking book bundles into grade groups (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, high school) to make sure the content and presentation of issues are appropriate. 
“If you don’t have books that you can read; if you don’t have T.V. shows and films that reflect who you are…it leaves you feeling isolated and different and lonely,” said Jeanne Dooley, the executive director of OUT Maine, which she says is the only organization in Maine that works exclusively with LGBTQ+ youth. 
For every $400 donated, @OutMaine says it will send a set of at least 20 LGBTQ+-inclusive books to an interested school library. This is part of a new initiative called the “Read the Rainbow” program. Details about its purpose on @newscentermaine at 6:30 a.m. #wakeMEup pic.twitter.com/pu6bJXjNts
RELATED: Hampden middle school teacher named Maine Teacher of the Year
Dooley says nearly one in five Maine high schoolers identifies as LGBTQ+, but inclusive content is limited in a lot of communities. She says when school libraries don’t have these resources, it can make LGBTQ+ youth feel unseen. They may not want to have to ask for these materials, for fear of being “outed”. Lack of representation can also give kids ammunition to “other” those who are different than the majority. 
RELATED: Trans athlete looks forward to playing soccer after bill banning her from girls’ school sports teams fails
One of the goals of this initiative is to help cis-gender and straight people become better allies. 
“With knowledge comes compassion and understanding,” said Dooley. “One of our biggest challenges is we don’t have that, and there’s not enough of that. Giving those resources is really critical to people who want to understand, who want to support. Truly being an ally — particularly these days, as we see the cultural pushback that’s growing — is really, really important.”
RELATED: $25K grant to support LGBTQ+ students in Maine
If you’re interested in donating, you can click here to do so. Dooley says any size donation counts. The money will cover the cost of books; shipping, handling, and processing costs; and a partial donation to OUT Maine. 
In Other News
Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings.