Twelve years ago, a small group of NoveList librarians responded to requests from customers to add some biographical information about authors — their gender, where they lived, and their cultural identity. This research became our Author Characteristics information, which displays on the “More about this Author” tab of author records as well as on the “More about this Book” tab of books and audiobooks by those authors. At the time, we conceived of author gender as being a binary of either male or female. When an author transitioned, we updated gender, and the author’s name when applicable for the titles in our database.

As we’ve worked more with our author information, we realized we had a responsibility to be more accurate. Recently, another team of NoveList librarians got together to broaden our Author Gender Identity options to include nonbinary and transgender to more accurately describe these authors (see for the definitions we used in our work). Additionally, multiple Author Gender Identity options may now be applied to a single author record, in order to accurately reflect their gender. Our goal always is to have our author characteristics reflect each authors’ information in a respectful manner, so we include biographical information as the author reports it themselves. 

We’re continuing to research author characteristics and are adding or updating information regularly. Let us know how we’re doing! We’d love to hear from you.

Currently, you can do a search in NoveList Plus for nonbinary and retrieve titles by 58 authors; a search for transgender returns books by 118 authors. 

To find authors who are either nonbinary or transgender, go to the Advanced Search page, scroll down to the Author’s Gender Identity box, and choose either or both terms. Or, you can type one of the following in the search box: 

AG nonbinary 
AG transgender

If you want to find authors who identify as either, the search is:

AG nonbinary OR AG transgender

To find authors who are transgender men or women, you can use these searches:

AG male AND AG transgender
AG female AND AG transgender

All of these searches will retrieve the author records, as well as all the books & audiobooks books written by these authors. To limit the results just to the author records, add AND ND author to the end of the search:

AG nonbinary AND ND author
AG transgender AND ND author
AG nonbinary AND AG transgender AND ND author   

To find adult nonfiction books to help your patrons explore changing gender roles look for the Recommended Reads list: Gender, Sexuality, Identity. You can browse for this list by selecting Nonfiction/Adults/Must-Read Nonfiction or copy and paste this unique identifier in the search box UI 444988.

To find fiction books for teens about gender, look for the Recommended Reads list: Teen Gender Nonconformity. Select Fiction/Teen/All Kinds of Lives or search for UI 444469.

NoveList also contains readers’ advisory articles, Book Discussion Guides, and more than 30 awards lists. To find them do a keyword search for gender and click the tab for Lists & Articles.

Amie Reno (she/her/hers) is a Metadata and Database Design Librarian at NoveList. She is currently reading A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman.