Is Your Library Doing Enough for LGBTQ Patrons?

Librarianship | Sandra Stacey | June 06, 2016

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Look around your library through the eyes of an LGBTQ patron. Is it welcoming? Safe? Inclusive? Does the library help foster a sense of community? See some ideas of how to increase the value of your library for LGBTQ patrons.

Look around your library through the eyes of an LGBTQ patron. Is it welcoming? Safe? Inclusive? Does the library help foster a sense of community? Perhaps not so much? Libraries have the ability to be safe and inclusive havens for LGBTQ patrons and allies. Libraries can be where LGBTQ patrons conduct research, read the latest novel and support relationships with the wider LGBTQ community. Is your library doing it all it can to be a welcoming and open environment?

Here are some ideas to increase the value of your library for LGBTQ patrons:

  • Include content with positive representations of LGBTQ history, themes and events
  • Enhance book displays with diverse faces and families
  • Label spines with genre (such as putting a rainbow sticker on the spine of books with LGBTQ content)
  • Present LGBTQ-genre reading lists
  • Decorate with welcoming posters
  • Display pamphlets from LGBTQ organizations
  • Include LGBTQ-related materials in other events (Banned Books Week, Holocaust Remembrance Day, etc.)
  • Provide both Fiction and Nonfiction resources
  • Encourage community involvement in collection development
  • Participate in Pride celebrations by having book displays or exhibits
  • Provide meeting space for LGBTQ organizations
  • Ensure that Pro-LGBTQ websites are accessible
  • Offer career resources for LGBTQ patrons

Librarians, specifically, can be a welcoming resource for LGBTQ patrons by wearing Pride buttons, stopping bullying, becoming more familiar with LGBTQ resources, and by engaging LGBTQ groups in their communities to market the services of the library.

For more information on making your library more LGBTQ-inclusive:

Resources:
From the EBSCO LGBT Life with Full Text database:

Betz, J. (2012). Library as Safe Space-Librarian as Ally. GLBTRT Newsletter: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgendered Round Table, 24(1), 4.
Day, S. (2013). LIBRARIES AS LGBTIQ VENUES. Gay & Lesbian Issues & Psychology Review, 9(1), 46-50.
Folds, R. (2011). don’t be left out! Echelon Magazine, 28.
Hart, G., & Mfazo, N. (2010). Places for all? Cape Town’s public library services to gays and lesbians. South African Journal of Libraries & Information Science, 76(2), 98-108.

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