MacKenzie Ledley and Patricia Ringen of Pulaski County Public Library (Indiana) presented at the PLA Conference on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered & Questioning) Services for Rural Libraries. This was an extremely eye opening program that I knew I had to share with the SALS member libraries.
After a group of local teens asked Ledley if they could have their Gay Straight Alliance meetings at the library because the school would not allow them to meet on school grounds, she began to wonder if there was a need for LGBTQ materials in the library’s collection. Ledley shared stories of how well received the new LGBTQ materials were received by patrons who were afraid to come out in their rural community, as well as the resistance she received from a few members of her board and community. Fortunately, the library’s meeting room and collection policies backed both her decision to allow the teens to meet and for the somewhat controversial items to remain in the collection.
Ledley stressed that it is important that patrons understand that the library is a safe place, that what they choose to read is private information and not community gossip. Adding an LGBTQ collection is one more way to make your library a space that includes and welcomes every member of you community.
If you are interested in starting and LGBTQ collection of your own, here are a few resources for LGBTQ materials:
- Stonewall Book Awards List – English language books that have exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered experience.
- Giovanni’s Room Bookstore – Site has a huge collection of LGBTQ books to select from and order online.
- Over the Rainbow Books – ALA GLBTRT members’ bibliography of materials for adult readers
- I’m Here, I’m Queer, What the Hell Do I Read? – Blogger Lee Wind reviews LGBTQ books for teens and adults and provides LGBTQ related news.