LGBTQ+ issues in a library association: the French Légothèque working group

Fighting against stereotypes in libraries is very important. It is our role as librarians and information professionals to be open and to welcome every single user, in its own singularity. It seems that our institutions really have a role to play in the free diffusion of culture and, therefore, can lead the public to discover and open up to the world around them in all its forms.

If the world is a “space in crisis“, to use Michèle Petit’s expression[1], not only from an economic point of view but also according to the acceleration of social transformations, the increase of disparities and inequalities cultural and social, it seems to us that the library must oppose to it a space of opportunities, favoring the meeting of the other in oneself and facilitating the construction or the reconstruction of the individual.

It appears more specifically that issues related to multiculturalism, gender, sexual and sentimental orientation, are areas that allow us as professionals to rethink our missions, our services, and thereby our spaces and access to our collections. Growing and living and struggling in our societies is not easy for everyone, that’s why we created the working group Légothèque, at the French librarians’ association.

The library as a cultural institution and more importantly, librarians as mediators of the book and information, as cultural smugglers, really have a role to play in the construction of the individual by giving him access to collections and spaces in which he can question, construct and affirm what he is, what he wants to be, what he thinks himself to be.

  1. Légothèque and the French librarians association

To put it in the French context, the French librarians’ association (Association des bibliothécaires de France – AbF) was founded in 1906, and was recognized as a public utility in 1969.

It is the oldest library association in France, a country who loves to duplicate professional associations in multiples entities (one for academic libraries – ADBU ; one for major town libraries – ADBGV ; one for regional libraries – ABD ; etc.). The aim of the association is to promote the role of libraries in society through political statements (sustainable development, school libraries, public story times, support for harassed libraries), to foster professional debates by organising study days and publishing books, or to offer training to new information professionals. AbF has more than 3000 members (professionals and volunteers) which is not that much in a country like France but still is important and make it heard.

It holds a partnership with other associations and institutions for persons working in the books and information profession, and participate in the IABD (Interassociation Archives-Libraries-Documentation), formed during the DAVDSI bill. It also maintains structured international relations in the framework of IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), Eblida (European Bureau of Library Information and Documentation), Liber (League of European Research Libraries) and other organizations international cooperation.

AbF is led by a national council made up of the presidents of the 21 regional groups (who carry out local actions in phase with the specificities of each region) and 20 convenors of working groups on jail/hospital libraries, accessibility, videogames, trans literacy, advocacy, ethics, trainings… and, of course, Légothèque. This council defines the policy of the association and elects the governing board.

As a working group, Légothèque was born in 2012 with the aim to work on libraries as a tool to facilitate individuals’ self-construction: how spaces, programming, collections and services can empower citizen, especially when they have specific issues such as gender issues, multiculturalism issues, sexual orientation issues. And these were terribly topical themes: in the very first years we were fighting versus censorship in public libraries, help librarians during same-sex marriage debates, or explaining to patrons and librarians that the famous “gender theory” does not exist at all, or creating a safe space for immigrants and refugees.

The name “Légothèque” refers to the Lego building game, to the ego, that is to say to oneself in Latin, but also to the verb to read in Latin (lego, legis, legere). At the same time, it refers to libraries (- “thèque”). It has a subtitle: « librairies, self-construction, fight against stereotypes ».

Accompanying the expression of minorities must also make it possible to fight against stereotypes by encouraging encounters and, if not creating awareness, at least facilitate the taking into account of differences. The challenge is to highlight the minorities in order to create surprise, to propose turns and detours to unexpected encounters and to encourage dialogue. The idea is not to tell patrons what to think, of course, but to give them tools to forge their own opinion based on scientific data and concepts.

We work toward both patrons and librarians, offering tools, advices and help for the latter, collection, spaces, services, welcoming for the firsts. Once again, we stress the importance of welcoming, the quality of presence, the fact of considering everyone as a subject, to be available. We must emphasize the importance of proposing collections, programming that address a multiplicity of points of view, not only favouring the dominant culture, conditions that are essential for proposing bridges between cultures. It is therefore not important for individuals to borrow or use resources, at least to feel recognized and welcomed, at least to open a place of possibilities.

Regarding LGBTQ+ people, it means making visible and giving back their place to LGBTQI + people and issues, namely, to enable LGBT youth to build themselves, for young people to find role models or legal resources, to make empowerment simply, but also to show cisgender and heterosexual people the existence of such collections and such issues. All the more important at a time when the aggressions are multiplying and where LGBTQI + phobias are disinhibiting. Not so much to say “the PMA is great” as to give examples of homo-parental families through which everyone can form his own opinion. It should be noted that often a LGBT thematic in the library is a gay man’s theme and that a special effort should be made around the other identities of the acronym.

Today, Légothèque has 15 members (from all kind of libraries, academic, special, public libraries, but no school librarians as they are more considered as teachers than librarians in France). As a working group, it aims to grow reflections within the association, help professionals with tools, advices, trainings and relay what takes place at the international level.

Légothèque’s flyer

  • Situation in France

Before I go further, I want you to pay attention of the French situation: of course, we’re lucky. Neither homosexuality nor trans-identity are considered a mental disease (since 1981 for homosexuality, 2010 for trans-identity), homophobia is punishable by law (2004), and same-sex marriage is legal (2013)[2]. This year the French government built an anti-cyber-harassment brigade and the Ministry of Higher Education has launched a list of measures “to promote the inclusion of transgender people in student life and LGBT + students in general“. Among them: the recognized first name for the registration, the change of first name recognized on the diploma, the optional male/female mention on documents, the signing of a charter, etc.

However, everything is far from perfect. The same-sex marriage debates have released hate and homophobia and, these past years, violence against LGBTQ+ people have increased. According to SOS Homophobie association, 2018 was a dark year for LGBTQ+ people in France with 1,905 testimonials of LGBT-phobic acts collected by the association, which is a 15% increase over 2017. Lesbophobia continues to grow: +42% in one year. As for physical aggression reported to SOS homophobia, their numbers faced an increase of 66%[3].

So we have to work on these issues and to help patrons.

Of course, we also consider some issues:

  • How to be neutral when being a librarian, in France, when it is “compulsory” to be a civil servant? The principle of equality and neutrality in public service is a major one. Equality in public service is a logical translation of the principle of equality before the law as proclaimed by the Declaration of Human Rights. This principle has a constitutional value. The principle of neutrality outlaws any distinction based on religious, political, philosophical, ethnic, or cultural affiliation. Is serving specific communities, which is often understood as serving communautarism, a system that harms integration by dividing the nation[4].
  • Another question is when, in a municipal setting, the library exists between the will of the elected officials and the work of librarians. In law, they are each carrying legitimacy, democratic for the first, and professional for the second. Of course, there are threats to budgets like everywhere else, but what happens when your mayor asks you to hide LGBTQ+ books? He is your boss, how do you react and underline your very own legitimacy?

Regarding these issues, we have here a few challenges to solve:

  • Social issues: Promoting diversity;
  • Digital issues: Respect for life privacy, raise a cyber-awareness discriminatory harassment; Gender issues, for example coding and games for girls (sessions in mixed choice?)
  • Professional issues: Facilitate the recognition of LGBTQ+ collections in the catalogue as well (which key words are used for indexing? Which classification to used when we know that Dewey does not help us? How to promote?: using a pink shelf or not?); Recall the role of professional documents, charters validated to protect colleagues; to admit the changes of pronoun, the question of mixed toilets or not, reducing administrative hassle, raising awareness of the structural obstacles that may arise…

And that’s why we created Légotheque working group, to promote the idea of a library not only open and tolerant, but also truly active.

Lately, at our later French annual congress, we distributed a survey on LGBTQ+ and libraries. It appears that librarians are not really trained to welcome these specific patrons and their very own tools does not help them either. Library catalogues obliged you to specify the gender of your patron at the risk of misidentifying their gender. In French libraries, there are scarcely specifics places and collections, even few specific services and programming (when there are ones, it is workshop, FB posts, conferences… from time to time without real consideration or strategy.

So, as a working group in a librarians’ association, what do we do?

  • What do Légothèque do to fight stereotypes?

At first, we began to share information about various initiatives from our various communities. We have a blog where we have a post per week, including our watches summary, books selected by various libraries, and some reflections. We also introduce thematic libraries and write about academic essays. For example, when Lille’s Faculty of Law showed an exhibition highlighting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, we asked them the objectives of such an exhibition, the reaction of users, how it fit in the library project, etc.

 We also maintain a collaborative watch on Diigo, and feed a collaborative intelligence that allows anyone interested it to subscribe to it. It enables us to get informed on what happens in our domains of interest and helps us to write posts for the blog. The posts can be what libraries do for the Day Against Violence Against Women; relay a study day on stereotypes in youth literature; promote training, which fosters gender equality in media; highlight a selective bibliography to deconstruct the stereotypes; alert about sexual violence in library etc.

Of course, we work within AbF on our subjects, and it is very important for us to work also within the association and make it change from the inside. Thanks to the working group, AbF signed the national commitment agreement for communication without gender stereotypes; opened non-gendered toilet at the annual congress or published political statements on our subject.

We actively build tools to help other professionals address these issues. We build collections with bibliographies, but also to help them react against censorship by giving them a reminder of the fundamental texts and values that underline the profession of librarian, reminding them of elements concerning the document charter, giving clarification on the “gender theory” or reminding of them of similar events, and publishing reactions from colleagues in press. We even created tools such as a free downloadable exhibition on gender for them to promote in their very own libraries and a google map with LGBTQ+ collections in French libraries. Of course, we take part of reflection by publishing articles in the French librarians’ magazine and work with other associations like IFLA LGBTQ+ SIG.

Finally, we try to train professionals, by raising their awareness and conscience of these issues in the libraries. We organised living libraries, roundtables, and offer mixed toilets at AbF’s annual congress.

sign and explanatory text announcing mixed toilets at the 2019 Congress of the AbF

We also work with training centre and libraries to build efficient training sessions (on advocacy, professional practices, discrimination, representation in movies or in videogames, etc.) and, of course, participating in and even creating professional study days and conferences. Examples of these efforts include diversity in youth literature (2019), neutrality and librarianship (2018), and libraries and citizenship (2018) for the most recent ones.

Conclusion

Having a thematic working group in your professional association is more than a chance, it is a tool and a considerable force to change minds and bring more empowerment to your colleagues, as well as to your patrons.

Because we hope to promote the idea of a library that is not only open and tolerant, but also active, this group of “libraries, self-construction and fight against stereotypes” has the goal of sharing references and working with the community of librarians interested in these issues.

We are hopeful about uniting our energy already working in this direction, creating new synergies sharing our experiences and fostering new projects for the future.

Acknowledgments

We thank all Légothèque members, past, present and future for their commitment in the working group, and to the AbF who made this possible.

References

Bats, Raphaëlle. “Après la bataille : neutralité, pluralisme et bibliothèques” [French] in Crieur Public. Available at : https://crieurspublics.blogspot.com/2017/04/apres-la-bataille-neutralite-pluralisme.html

CHAIMBAULT, Thomas. “Nouveau coup de semonce contre les bibliothèques” [French] in Vagabondages. Available at : http://www.vagabondages.org/post/2014/02/12/L-increvable-spectre-de-la-censure

“Commission Légothèque” [French] in Association des bibliothécaires de France. Available at : http://abf.asso.fr/

“Droits LGBT en France” [French] in Wikipedia. Available at : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droits_LGBT_en_France

“Légothèque : Bibliothèques, construction de soi et lutte contre les stéréotypes” [French]. Blog available at : https://legothequeabf.wordpress.com/

PETIT, Michèle. “La lecture dans des espaces en crise” [French] in Actes du colloque international “Littérature et pratiques d’enseignement, apprentissage : difficultés et résistances”, organisé par l’IUFM d’Aix-Marseille, du 20 au 22 octobre 2005

PETIT, Michèle. Éloge de la lecture : la construction de soi, Editions Belin, collection Nouveaux mondes, 2002

SOS HOMOPHOBIE. Rapport sur l’homophobie 2019 [French]. Paris: 2019. Available at https://www.sos-homophobie.org/sites/default/files/rapport_homophobie_2019_interactif.pdf


[1] Michèle Petit is a French anthropologist. Her research interests include reading, relationship with books and libraries, reading in crisis spaces, and its role in self-construction.

[2] See at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_France

[3]Rapport sur l’homophobie 2019 [in french]. Paris: 2019. Available at https://www.sos-homophobie.org/sites/default/files/rapport_homophobie_2019_interactif.pdf

[4] Read for instance, that blogpost [in French] : https://crieurspublics.blogspot.com/2017/04/apres-la-bataille-neutralite-pluralisme.html

BAnQ est fière / BAnQ is proud

Please, read english version below

Par Jennifer Ricard, bibliothécaire à l’Espace Jeunes de la Grande Bibliothèque, responsable de BAnQ est fière, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

Image : iStockphoto

À Montréal, la célébration de la Fierté LGBTQ+ a lieu chaque année en août. Depuis 2018, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) se joint à cette célébration en offrant une panoplie d’activités et de suggestions de lecture dans le cadre de BAnQ est fière.

L’idée de créer BAnQ est fière est née d’une heure du conte avec la drag queen Barbada de Barbades en octobre 2017. La réponse du public ce jour-là avait été au-delà de nos attentes : plus de 100 participants se sont présentés pour écouter les histoires, poser des questions et prendre des photos avec la vedette de la journée. Quand nous l’avons invitée à nouveau en mars 2018, elle a été accueillie avec autant d’enthousiasme.

Photo : Matt Sirois

Cette réponse du public montrait clairement qu’il fallait que les communautés de la diversité sexuelle et de genre soient mieux représentées dans l’offre culturelle de BAnQ. De plus, la Grande Bibliothèque, la bibliothèque publique de notre institution, avoisine le Village gai à Montréal et emploie de nombreux membres de ces communautés. Je crois fermement que créer un lieu inclusif et accueillant pour ces personnes est au cœur de notre mission.

La première année,  BAnQ est fière a été d’envergure plutôt modeste. Barbada est revenue, bien sûr, nous avons fait des macarons arc-en-ciel, nous avons invité des « livres humains » trans, bisexuels et bispirituels pour parler de leurs réalités et nous avons organisé un atelier Wiki pour alimenter les pages LGBTQ+ québécoises.

En 2019, après le succès de la première édition, nous avons décidé d’étaler nos activités sur les 10 jours de la Fierté avec de nombreuses activités aussi diversifiées que les communautés célébrées. Nous avons même décoré notre bibliothèque de couleurs arc-en-ciel et fait une vidéo promo avec notre grande ambassadrice, Barbada. Je lui laisse l’honneur de vous présenter les activités de cette année-là.

Photo : Jennifer Ricard

BAnQ est fière 🏳‍🌈
Cinéma, conférence, ateliers, labo techno, heure du conte… Un arc-en-ciel d’activités pour tous, du 8 au 18 août 2019! 🌈
Programmation détaillée ➡ http://banq.qc.ca/fierte
Publié par Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec / Grande Bibliothèque sur Mercredi 7 août 2019 [RJ1] 

Nos plans pour 2020 ont été durement affectés par la pandémie, comme ce fut le cas pour tous les autres grands événements à Montréal. Nous avons donc réagi rapidement pour créer une offre virtuelle aussi étoffée que ce que nous avions prévu en présentiel. Les activités ci-dessous sont toutes gratuites et en ligne. Elles ont donc eu l’avantage d’être accessibles dans tout le Québec et toute la francophonie !

  • 7 août : Visionnement de Drag Kids
  • 8 août : L’Heure du conte avec une drag queen
  • 11 août : Club de lecture éphémère : BAnQ est fière de lire Au 5e de MP Boisvert
  • 12 août : L’Heure du conte spéciale : les enfants et le genre
  • 12 août : Bibliothèque vivante : Conserver la mémoire de la diversité
  • 12 août : Club de lecture éphémère : BAnQ est fière de lire Au 5e de MP Boisvert
  • 14 août : BAnQ est fière de rencontrer MP Boisvert
  • 14 août : Visionnement d’Amours interdites, suivi d’une période de questions avec une des coréalisatrices.
  • 15 août : La diversité sexuelle ici et ailleurs
  • 18 août : Wiki Fierté

Vous pouvez trouver tous les détails dans notre calendrier des activités.

La nouveauté de l’année est une plus grande participation du public. Nous avons lancé une lecture communautaire du roman Au 5e de MP Boisvert le 15 juillet dernier. Ceci culminera avec des clubs de lecture en ligne et une rencontre avec l’auteure. Nous faisons aussi un appel à tous pour des photos libres de droits pour alimenter les pages Wikipédia LGBTQ+ du Québec. Finalement, nos bibliographies de l’année incluront des suggestions de lectures de nos nombreux partenaires.

Comme mon institution, je suis très fière de participer au rayonnement des artistes et créateurs issus des communautés de la diversité sexuelle et de genre et de contribuer à la création d’une société plus ouverte et inclusive. C’est mon souhait que BAnQ est fière vive encore longtemps et prenne plus d’importance chaque année. Mais avant tout, j’espère continuer à tisser des liens forts avec les communautés de la diversité sexuelle et de genre à Montréal et au Québec.

Bonne Fierté à tous! J’espère vous croiser lors de nos activités virtuelles!

Photo : Sylvie Gelinas

Si vous avez des questions à propos de BAnQ est fière, vous pouvez m’écrire à jennifer.ricard@banq.qc.ca ou par Twitter @jenjoou.

ENGLISH VERSION

BAnQ Is Proud

By Jennifer Ricard, children’s librarian at the Grande Bibliothèque, and person responsible for BAnQ est fière, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

Image : iStockphoto

August is the month LGBTQ+ Pride is celebrated in Montréal every year. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) has participated in this celebration since 2018, offering a wide range of activities and reading suggestions as part of BAnQ est fière (BAnQ Is Proud).

We got the idea for BAnQ est fière after a storytime with the drag queen Barbada de Barbades, in October 2017. The public’s response that day took us by surprise: over a hundred participants showed up to hear stories, ask questions, and take pictures with our glamorous guest. When we invited her back in March 2018, the audience was equally enthusiastic.

Photo : Matt Sirois

This response from the public made it clear that sexual and gender diversity communities needed to be better represented in BAnQ’s cultural offerings. In addition, our institution’s public library – the Grande Bibliothèque – is located next to Montréal’s gay village and employs many members of these communities. I am convinced that creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for them is part of our core mission.

BAnQ est fière was modest in scale the first year. Barbada was back, of course. We made rainbow buttons. We invited trans, bisexual and two-spirit “human books” to talk about their realities, and we organized a Wiki workshop to add to Québec’s LGBTQ+ pages.

In 2019, in the wake of the first edition’s success, we decided to spread our activities over the ten days of Montreal Pride, providing multiple activities as diverse as the communities we were celebrating. We even decorated our library with rainbow colours and made a promotional video with our number one ambassador, Barbada. I’ll let her introduce our activities from that year.


BAnQ est fière 🏳‍🌈
Cinéma, conférence, ateliers, labo techno, heure du conte… Un arc-en-ciel d’activités pour tous, du 8 au 18 août 2019! 🌈
Programmation détaillée ➡ http://banq.qc.ca/fierte
Publié par Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec / Grande Bibliothèque sur Mercredi 7 août 2019 [RJ2] 

Our plans for 2020, like those for every other major festival in Montréal, were severely affected by the pandemic. We quickly set up a virtual programme as extensive as our planned in-person activities. All the activities listed below are free and take place online (in French, except where indicated). Among other benefits, they’re accessible throughout Québec and the whole of the French-speaking world!

  • August 7: Screening of Drag Kids (in English with French subtitles)
  • August 8: Storytime with a drag queen
  • Agust 11: Pop-up book club about Au 5e by MP Boisvert
  • August 12: Special storytime: Children and gender
  • August 12: Human library: Preserving the memory of diversity
  • August 12: Pop-up book club about Au 5e by MP Boisvert
  • August 14: Author meeting with MP Boisvert
  • August 14: Screening of Amours interdites (in English with French subtitles), followed by a Q&A session with one of the codirectors
  • August 15: Sexual diversity, here and elsewhere
  • August 18: Wiki Pride

For more details, see our calendar of activities.

What’s new this year is greater audience participation. On July 15, we launched a community reading of Au 5e, a novel by MP Boisvert, to be followed by online book clubs and a meeting with the author. We’re also putting out a call for photographs in the public domain that will enhance Québec’s LGBTQ+ Wikipedia pages. Lastly, our bibliographies for the year will include reading suggestions from our many partners.

Like the institution I work for, I’m very proud of helping to ensure a wider audience for artists and creators from sexual and gender diversity communities, and of helping to build a more open and inclusive society. I hope that BAnQ est fière will keep going for a long time, increasing its scope every year. But above all, I hope to keep on building strong relationships with LGTBQ+ communities in Montréal and throughout Québec.

Happy Pride to all, and I hope to meet you at our virtual events!

Photo : Sylvie Gelinas

If you have questions about BAnQ est fière, you can write to me at jennifer.ricard@banq.qc.ca, or on Twitter @jenjoou


 [RJ1]Vidéo de Barbada

 [RJ2]Vidéo de Barbada

Adressing LGBTQ Users virtually

Due to lockdown, Libraries activities have been curtailed and Programs usually organised in June due to LGBTQ Pride Month could not take place as planned. The buildings remains closed.

But these closings did not stop colleagues from organizing and offering online resources and entertainment to highlight the history and cultures of LGBT audiences.

At first, and like every year, librarians underline collections with LGBT themes. While we previously had displays with LGBT titles, our colleagues gather and report these collections on a dedicated web page. Thus, you can find online bibliographies (for example in Boston, or in Chicago) often according to the age of the audience, sound resources (Los Angeles offers a discography as well as conference podcasts), even conference videos whether or not from the library’s own collections. University libraries also have dedicated resources.

More broadly, it is an opportunity to widen the spectrum of resources by highlighting archival and historical documents: this “pride month” commemorates among other things the riots of Stonewall (1969) and the first Marches are therefore held in 1970, just 50 years ago. Difficult to miss this symbolic anniversary. This is what the Library of Congress is trying to promote in particular. Beyond that, American and more generally Anglo-Saxon libraries take the opportunity to recall the history of the Pride and Equal Rights Marches (here the British Library in the United Kingdom, including an interesting article on transgender identities) Even ALA puts it that offers an article on the subject in its monthly review.

These resources are then gathered within specific pages which highlight specific collections, services and events on LGBT themes (here in Canada, there in the United States).

Don’t believe, then, that closing Libraries discourage colleagues from offering activities. You will thus find manual workshops to carry out at home (a wreath in the colors of the rainbow, a dessert of rainbow candies …) and especially a whole set of online events:

Libraries offer virtual programmings throughout the month:
– hour of virtual storytelling on LGBT themes,
– stories told from Drag-Queens online,
– online conferences,
– online text readings,
– reading clubs around LGBT literature…

The mission of these Marches remains, despite restrictions related to health measures: to remind members of LGBTQI + communities and their allies that they are not alone, that they are part of a broader movement in favor of equality rights, and that their voices like that of other marginalized groups count, this year especially with the uprisings that followed the death of George Floyd and other blacks by the police. In the programs thus appear proposals precisely to make more visible LGBT black people and more widely to oppose the police persecutions, that these events are proposed by the libraries or by the LGBTQ communities themselves, the libraries then making the relay (here in PIMA or in the NY Times).

On saturday 27, there was a global pride and some libraries do advertise on this major event.

And since the March is also a celebration, several establishments have also offered festive moments, Zoom Dance Parties and online performances. The librarians themselves are not left out, who offered a festive webinar on June 06, entitled “Librarians in QUEERantine” with:
– Musical performances (from a lesbian DJ librarian, yes)
– Hourly storytelling performances narrated by a Drag Queen (Electra Young)
– A presentation of Queeriodicals archive work by Meg Metcalfe
– An investigation game
– Presentations from LGBT groups of ALA and IFLA.

Librarians are proud.

And how about you ? What did you do for pride month ?

A gender and diversity group at the Association of Graduate Librarians of the Argentine Republic

author : Jessica Castaño

Spanish version underneath

The Association of Graduate Librarians of the Argentine Republic was born with the aim of giving a dynamic character to the national library movement, achieving greater insertion and social recognition of the work of librarians, and promoting the fundamental role that libraries play as depositary institutions of the knowledge of humanity. Among its functions are union representation and the defense of the professional interests of graduate librarians in Argentina.

ABGRA Website

Understanding that the current situation challenges us in terms of gender perspective, sexual diversity and emancipatory social movements, in line with the SDGs and their concern to work in favor of gender equality, in line with IFLA’s strategic guidelines for the period 2019-2024 and taking into account the activities already proposed and implemented by IFLA and its groups (Women, Information and Libraries Special Interest Group; LGBTQ Users Special Interest Group), the Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity has been created and offers:

  • Monitor practices and experiences related to gender equality in libraries.
  • Collect data and produce, communicate and distribute systematic information.
  • Disseminate experiences from the country and the region, promoting dialogue to support librarians to address concerns about library services in relation to gender and sexual diversity.
  • Promote good practices, promoting networking and virtual connections.
  • Carry out training activities in relation to the topics of our competence, namely: gender perspective, violence against women, gender equity, sexual diversity, discrimination based on gender or orientation. sexuality, feminism, LGBT + movements, Comprehensive Sex Education, among others.
  • Establish institutional relationships with organizations that deal with similar issues.

Throughout history, it has been shown that certain practices have served to hide and silence dissident discourses. At the current juncture it is not possible to continue ignoring that certain identities and themes in relation to gender were buried under the weight of other hegemonic discourses, most of them patriarchal. Libraries, as institutions that democratize information, have the obligation to provide unrestricted access, but not only that, but rather that the library must be inclusive in terms of services and create a pleasant space for both its users and the staff that, for example, belong to the LGBTQ + community.

There are topics that are still taboo today and are not easy to tackle. In some cases it is attributed to a generational issue, sometimes it is thought to be cultural. The reality is that the library must keep pace with society or faster than that. Just as we think about the educational curriculum, the omissions and silences that occur there according to hegemonic discourses, we can think about the development of the collection in the library. What omissions and what silences are evidenced by which discourses? Can we stand in front of our collection and read between the lines what is being said and what is not being said?

ABGRA Instagram

The gender perspective asks about the relations between genders, the expected hierarchical order between them and the processes of rupture in that order. Starting from the idea of ​​gender as a sociocultural elaboration, it investigates the social position of women and generic-sexual dissidences throughout history based on discourses of power. This perspective has begun to reach libraries slowly. Still in many cases it seems to be a foreign issue to our spaces. However, as with each change in the context in which the library is embedded, we must listen to the demands of the users and act accordingly.

Link : http://abgra.org.ar/
contact generoydiversidad@abgra.org.ar

Spanish version

La Asociación de Bibliotecarios Graduados de la República Argentina, nació con el objetivo de imprimir un carácter dinámico al movimiento bibliotecario nacional, lograr una mayor inserción y reconocimiento social de la labor de los bibliotecarios, y promover el papel, fundamental, que cumplen las bibliotecas en su carácter de instituciones depositarias del conocimiento de la humanidad. Entre sus funciones se destacan la representación gremial y la defensa de los intereses profesionales de los bibliotecarios graduados de Argentina.

https://i2.wp.com/abgra.org.ar/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Logo-ABGRA_vertical_alta_grande.png

Entendiendo que la actual coyuntura nos interpela en términos de perspectiva de género, diversidad sexual y movimientos sociales emancipatorios, en línea con los ODS y su preocupación por trabajar en favor de la equidad de género, en sintonía con las directivas estratégicas de la IFLA para el período 2019-2024 y teniendo como horizonte las actividades ya propuestas e implementadas por la IFLA y sus grupos (Women, Information and Libraries Special Interest Group; LGBTQ Users Special Interest Group) se ha creado la subcomisión de trabajo Género y diversidad, la cual se propone:

  • Monitorear prácticas y experiencias en relación con la equidad de género en bibliotecas.
  • Recopilar datos y producir, comunicar y distribuir información sistemática.
  • Difundir experiencias del país y la región, impulsando el diálogo para apoyar a los bibliotecarios a abordar las inquietudes acerca de los servicios bibliotecarios en relación a género y diversidad sexual.
  • Promover buenas prácticas, fomentando el trabajo en red y las conexiones virtuales.
  • Llevar a cabo actividades de capacitación en relación a las temáticas de nuestra competencia, a saber: perspectiva de género, violencia contra las mujeres, equidad de género, diversidad sexual, discriminación por motivos de género u orientación. sexual, feminismo, movimientos LGBT+, Educación Sexual Integral, entre otros.
  • Establecer relaciones institucionales con organismos que se dediquen a cuestiones similares.

A lo largo de la historia se ha evidenciado que determinas prácticas han servido para esconder y silenciar los discursos disidentes. En la coyuntura actual no es posible continuar ignorando que ciertas identidades y temas en relación al género fueron sepultadas bajo el peso de otros discursos hegemónicos, patriarcales la mayoría de ellos. Las bibliotecas, como instituciones democratizadoras de la información tienen la obligación de brindar acceso sin restricción, pero no solo eso, si no que la biblioteca debe ser inclusiva en cuanto a servicios y generar un espacio agradable tanto para sus usuarios como para el personal que, por ejemplo, pertenezca a la comunidad LGBTQ+

Hay temas que aún hoy son tabú y no son fáciles de abordar. En algunos casos se atribuye a una cuestión generacional, a veces se piensa que es cultural. La realidad es que la biblioteca debe ir al paso de la sociedad o más rápido que eso. Así como pensamos el currículum educativo, las omisiones y silencios que allí se producen de acuerdo a los discursos hegemónicos, podemos pensar el desarrollo de la colección en la biblioteca. ¿Qué omisiones y qué silencios evidencian cuáles discursos? ¿Podemos pararnos frente a nuestra colección y leer entre líneas lo que se está diciendo y lo que no se está diciendo?

La perspectiva de género se pregunta por las relaciones de los géneros entre sí, el orden jerárquico esperado entre estos y los procesos de ruptura en ese orden. Partiendo de la idea del género como elaboración sociocultural, indaga por la posición social de mujeres y disidencias genericosexuales a lo largo de la historia en función de los discursos de poder. Dicha perspectiva ha comenzado a llegar a las bibliotecas lentamente. Todavía en muchos casos parece ser un tema ajeno a nuestros espacios. Sin embargo, como frente a cada cambio del contexto en el que la biblioteca está inserta, debemos oír las demandas de lxs usuarixs y actuar en consecuencia.

How to use lockdown to discover LGBTQ+ resources

Lockdown is a terrible time. We do not know what to do, we find ourselves at home going around in circles, we are looking for ways to keep busy. It is then up to us to operate a Copernican revolution and to transform this dead time into fruitful time.

So let’s take the opportunity to discover and catch up on all these late titles that have piled up on the edge of the bed, to discover important resources from other countries that we did not have time to check out, to watch webseries, webcomics, to subscribe MOOCs that, it must be admitted, we would not be allowed to follow in normal times.

In the following list, we tried to emphasize resources can be found for free online.

LGBTQ+ collections

At first you can check catalogs and online exhibitions from LGBTQ+ Archives and Libraries from all around the world :

The ArQuives, Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives

But then, there are plenty resources to read, watch, listen that you can discover. Please, go to your local library to check if these are in the collections. You can also try your public/university library platform to look after LGBTQ+ materials like Pretnumerique.ca (a French-language digital book platform available in Québec and Canada, where several titles in digital format address LGBTQ+ themes) or …

Free online resources

LGBTQ+ books to read

LGBTQ+ Webcomics

Have you ever tried to read webcomics ? Maybe it’s time to begin (and here is a beginner ‘s guide) [EN]

“Assignée garçon”, a webcomic on transidentity in french by Sophie Labelle

LGBTQ+ movies

There are plenty of LGBTQ+ movies that you should watch or give it a try. Need to find a title, just cast a glance on Wikipedia or Rotten Tomatoes and then, go to your library to check what they have in their digital collections.

LGBTQ+ webseries

LGBTQ+ Podcast

⇒ LGBTQ+ MOOCs and educational resources

Mooc from University of Michigan

If you know any other resources that we forgot or do not know, please add your own in blog comments.

More than 1700 visitors at the 8th Hungarian LGBT History Month

author : Péter Hanzli

Text in hungarian available at http://lmbttortenetihonap.hu/tobb-mint-1700-latogato-8-lmbt-torteneti-honap-rendezvenyein

In February, LGBT History month is a great event in UK and in many other countries in the world. Such as Hungary.

With the coordination of Háttér Society and Labrisz Lesbian Association and with the participation of 33 organizations, groups and individuals, LGBT History month has been organized this year for the 8th time in Hungary. The history of LGBT people was recalled through 50 programs altogether in February – in lectures, discussions, games, workshops, exhibitions, and film screenings. Besides Budapest, programs were organized in Debrecen, Szeged, Kecskemét, and Székesfehérvár too. Almost 1700 visitors took part in the programs throughout the month.

British writer and journalist Neil McKenna at the opening ceremony

The program series was opened by British writer and journalist Neil McKenna – a researcher of Oscar Wilde and the author of a popular biography –, related to the 125th anniversary of Wilde’s trials and imprisonment. The opening speech was followed by the screening of “The Happy Prince”, a 2018 movie directed by and starring Rupert Everett. Neil McKenna also gave a lecture at the Central European University, telling the story of a sensational show trial in England, pursued in 1870 against two well-known British drag queens, Fanny and Stella.

There were several round-tables and lectures on a variety of topics. Among other things, visitors had the opportunity to listen to a lecture on the Irish marriage equality campaign, to watch a documentary on the most influential American filmmakers of the last 50 years, to hear about the spread of AIDS and contemporary activism in the early 1990s France, and to get to know the work of Alfred Kinsey, and Swiss, English, German, and American activists at the 19th and early 20th century, as well as the history of the LGBT media. There were also special subjects related to Hungary: the Hungarian critical edition of Edward Prime-Stevenson’s novel: Imre. A Memorandum, the listing of homosexuals in Hungary in 1942, and the history of the Budapest Prides between 1992 and 2019. Thematic quiz games, workshops, and parties were also part of the program series.

The history of LGBT Media, Ádám András Kanicsár
Swiss, English, German and American activists at the 19th and early 20th century, Péter Hanzli

WLIC 2020 : LGBTQ+ Users call for papers

edit from 9 april 2020 : The IFLA Governing Board and Irish National Committee have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 World Library and Information Congress (WLIC). Dublin will instead welcome the 2022 Congress. More detail at : https://www.ifla.org/node/92996

Theme: “LGBTQ+ collection development and services: best practices around the world”

Translation: [Français]

IFLA’s LGBTQ Users Special Interest Group invite you to submit a proposal for its Joint Session at the 86th IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2020 in Dublin, Ireland, 15-21 August.

Background

Libraries are important places for communities. They offer resources to build yourself as an individual, sometimes to discover your own cultures. They are also about welcoming LGBTQ+ users and helping them find information on topics important to them, such as coming out, health, parenting, as well as finding referents and characters to identify with in books,films and videogames or any other materials, simply for pleasure.

Beyond that, libraries are also aimed at users who are not LGBTQ+.They make it possible to discover and confront what others are experiencing, and they encourage meetings by allowing the expression of individuals who want to better understand each other’s lives

It is the objective of this call for papers to underline the information practices of libraries around the welcoming of LGBTQ+ users. How are collections built today allowing a fair representation of the plural identities that make us? How are these resources presented in library spaces and indicated in the library catalog? Is this information the same level for cis-gay men as for cis-lesbians? What about people who are transgender, gender fluid or gender non-conforming? How effective and welcome is the participation of the public and communities in the development of the collections, programs and/or services?

How can libraries help LGBTQ+ users face the challenges of today’s world, to find their way in the masses of information flooding the internet and to distinguish the real information from the false? How can LGBTQ+ library users protect their personal data and protect themselves from online harassment?

What specific learning opportunities are offered to support librarians and information professionals to raise awareness of cognitive biases, the gender stereotypes they may convey or the need to represent the communities they serve? How can library staff work with community associations and non-institutional libraries to develop these specific skills?

To answer these questions and more, in 2019 the special interest group made of LGBTQ+ Users launched a questionnaire about the purposeful reception of LGBTQ+ individuals or groups of library patrons in the world, reception including the question of spaces, collections, programs or proposed services.

After a presentation of the objectives of this work, the colloquium will be an opportunity to present several good practices implemented in establishments before proposing a time for joint reflection on these questions.

Language of the session

The language of the session is English. However, presenters may choose to give their talk/oral presentation in any of the seven IFLA working languages. Presentation slides must be in English.

Important Dates

3 April 2020 – Deadline for submitting a 500 word abstract and author information.

4 May 2020 – Presenters will be notified whether their proposals are accepted based on how well they have addressed the session theme.

1st June 2020 –Full texts of papers and brief biographies of the presenter(s) are due. Both abstracts and full papers should be submitted as a MS Word file by email. (https://2020.ifla.org/conference-programme/guidelines-for-paper-authors-and-presenters/)

Submissions

Proposals must be submitted by email and must contain:

  • Email subject line “IFLA Dublin Paper Proposal”
  • Title of proposed presentation
  • Presenter(s) name, position and affiliation, email address, and biography (150 words maximum)
  • An abstract in English (500 words)
  • Language of the paper–Language of the presentation

Please submit your proposal to:

Thomas Chaimbault, Convenor of the IFLA LGBTQ Users Special Interest Group
Email: thomas.chaimbault@enssib.fr

Important information:

The length of presentations should be approximately 15 minutes with 5 minutes for questions.

At least one of the paper’s authors must be present to deliver a summary of the paper during the program in Dublin. Abstracts should only be submitted with the understanding that the expenses of attending the conference will be the responsibility of the author(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers.

The paper must be an original submission not presented or published elsewhere. All papers that are presented at the WLIC 2020 will be made available online via the IFLA Library under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Authors of accepted papers must complete the IFLA Authors’ Permission Form.

All expenses, including registration for the conference, travel, accommodation etc., are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA, but a special invitation letter can be issued to author(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers.

Congress Participation Grants

List of opportunities for support is available on the Apply for Grants & Awards webpage.

More Calls for Papers:
Open Sessions

The Setting Up of an LGBTQIAP+-themed Collection in a Public Library: the Case of The French-Speaking Public Library of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe (Brussels, Belgium)

Version française disponible ici

Abstract

In the context of my dissertation on 2018-2019, I set up an LGBTQIAP+-themed collection for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Asexual, Aromantic, Polyamourous, Pansexual young adults (12-26 years old) and their relatives at the Public Library of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, under the supervision of its directress : Ms Laurence Duhin. This meant that project had to last 9 months (an academical year). Thanks to the unconditional support of Ms Duhin, I obtained a €2000 budget for this project. During its realization, many questions arose about documents selection, indexation, classification, librarians trainings, how to welcome our patrons in an inclusive way. We did our best to answer them all while respecting the legislation ruling libraries in the French-speaking part of Belgium and the rules of the common catalog of the French-Speaking libraries of Brussels. This article a synthesis of the work I presented in June 2019 to get a Bachelor Degree as Librarian.

1. Context

The Public Library of Berchem-Saint-Agathe is a French-speaking library. This means its way of working, the professional tools and so on, are defined by the Royal Arrest of 2009 of the Federation of Wallonie-Brussels over public libraries. This arrest says, among other things, that public libraries are cultural operators whom purpose is to allow individual and collective emancipation of all members of their community. It obliges libraries to be project-oriented through a 5-year plan and to create partnerships with other local initiatives. It fixes the tool used to index documents (UDC/Dewey and RAMEAU1).

This library is also a Brussels library and is part of the Brussels common online catalog. To keep the catalog consistent, there are thus some rules to respect.

We cannot index fiction documents, except in some cases. If fiction is indexed, it mustn’t be to detailed: no subdivision of place or date.

We have to use RAMEAU and UDC/Dewey only for indexing. We cannot add our own subject heading, from another documentary langage or a personal thesaurus, for instance.

The acquisition and loan of e-books is managed by a department specially dedicated to their promotion : Lirtuel. This department has its own catalog that is totally independent of libraries’ catalog and indexing.

Usually public libraries don’t provide multimedia documents (like DVDs, CDs, video games, and so on), this the part of an NGO named Point Culture.

1Which is roughly the French equivalent of the LCSH. It is managed by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

2. About the Library

The main objectif of the public library of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe is to offer accessible information to all kinds of audiences.

This is why an inclusion axe has been instaured in its 5-year plan mainly dedicated to the inclusion of people with a disability and the setting up of a collection for people with dys- (dyslexia, dyscalculia, and so on).

The team counts 3 librarians, among them the headmistress, a library help, a person organizing activities, a person in charge of the digital public space.

And even if the municipality is part of the « All Genders Welcome » project, there haven’t LGBTQIAP+ for a general audience yet.

3. Origins of the Project

This project is born from an encounter between Ms Duhin and myself, while I was looking for a project for my dissertation.

Ms Duhin went to the IFLA Congress of Lyon and attended a conference about the part of public libraries in helping homeless LGBTQIAP+ teenagers. She then asked herself: « We call ourself public libraries, but are we really open to all audiences? » and considered it fundamental that LGBTQIAP+ teenagers might be able to find stories describing their lives and might be able to find suitable informations for them in a library.

As for me, during my Master degree in History, I ran an NGO about boy’s love and girl’s love comic books to allow fans to find a space wherein they could talk freely about it. That’s how I met a lot of LGBTQIAP+ teenagers, and I have been deeply moved by their loneliness since them. This book club was one of the only spaces some of them had where they could be themselves and ask their questions without fear. So I began to train myself about those subjects via NGOs, the internet and public libraries. Unfortunately, not a lot of information were available there. So I began to think about going back to school to become a librarian and setting up an LGBTQIAP+-themed collection in a public library.

4. The Project

The adolescence being often considered as a tough period and the people under 26 years being 51 % of our 3,298 patrons, we decided, Ms Duhin and myself, that this collection would be destined firstly for 12-26 years and their relatives. As the acquisition depends on a special department in the ministry of culture with its own catalog and indexing system, we thought it would be easier to begin with paper books only.

5. The Methodology

I began by analyzing of the existing situation through the common catalog to know how many LGBTQIAP+-themed books could be found, what was their topic, and so on. Based on those results, I realized an acquisition policy with a €2000 budget. I also analyzed RAMEAU to know which subject headings existed already, which were missing and think about how to remediate the absence of terms. The questions of the classification of the documents, the perpetuation of the collection and how to make the collection known arose quite quickly as well. During this whole process, I could count on the total support of Ms Laurence Duhin and on the help of 3 NGOs for each step of my work: Genres Pluriels ASBL, Merhaba VZW and Tels Quels ASBL.

5.1. Analyzing the Situation

This analyzis was made from the common catalog: I looked for the words Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Aromantic, Polyamorous, Pansexuals, Lesbianism, and their equivalent in RAMEAU: Lesbianism, Lesbians, Masculine Homosexuality, Homosexuals, Homosexuality, Bisexuals, Bisexuality, Transgender, Transidentity, Hermaphrodism (as it is still the subject heading used in RAMEAU for Intersex), Free Love (as Polyamorous relationships doesn’t exist in RAMEAU). Asexuality, Aromantism, Pansexuality do not exist in RAMEAU and they have no equivalent.

I’ve found 228 different references in 62 public libraries. Those are mainly non-fictions – as fiction is very rarely indexed – dedicated mostly to masculine homosexuality.

I’ve also found out some inconsistencies in the indexing. For instance, the book « Le pur et l’impur » by Colette. Only one notice out of 7 has been indexed as « Homosexuality – personal stories », knowing that Colette was bisexual. The other notices had no indexation at all.

There were 14 results at the library of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe.

5.2. The Acquisition Policy

First, I identified the fictions with an LGBTQIAP+ theme already in the library to include them in the collection and to index them, with the authorization of the librarians managing the common catalog.

Afterwards, I’ve built an acquisition policy with the help of Genres Pluriels ASBL, Merhaba VZW and Tels Quels ASBL who guided me about the most relevant topics for the non-fiction documents and who gave me what they published.

The criterias where as followed:

Having mostly fiction – as the collection of the library is made of 70 % of fictions.

Preferring comic books as they are a lead product in the library.

Representing, as much as the published books allow it, the different identities (lesbians, gays, asexuals, transgenders, and so on). Indeed, even though it is difficult for a gay teenager to find suitable information, what can we say for asexual or transgender teenagers?

Of course, the chosen books must be recent.

Then, I’ve selected bibliographies to find the documents. I’ve mostly worked with la Rainbowthèque, offering reviews of Young Adult fictions with an LGBTQIAP+ theme. They also provide keywords, which is very useful for the indexation.

PlanèteDiversité is a website offering reviews of YA books focusing on the stories of minorities (LGBTQIAP+, neurodivergent, and so on), the YouTube channel Cordélia Aime, offering reviews of LGBTQIAP+ YA books and comics, the bibliography of the project of the Federation Wallonie-Brussels « Et toi t’es casé-e ? ».

5.3. The Indexing

Indexing tools used in the common catalog can be RAMEAU and UDC/Dewey. At the library of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, the UDC is mostly used for the classification on the shelves and only RAMEAU is used for the indexing. That’s why I have analyzed only that tool.

Those are my observations in spring 2019 (as RAMEAU is permanently evolving, things might have changed since then) :

About gayness, there is a huge diversity of subject headings and a regular update. Same can be said for subject headings related to lesbianism, even though those are often subordinated to gayness (for instance « enseignantes lesbiennes » is subordinated to « enseignants homosexuels ».)

The vocabulary was far more reduced about bisexuality and transidentity.

Hermaphrodism is used instead of intersex, while it is seen as a slur by the LGBTQIAP+ community.

Some words are lacking, like asexuality, aromantism, polyamory, pansexuality.

Concerning the documents about pansexuality, we decided to index them with the subject heading « Bisexualité » (as it can be considered as a broader term), the documents related to non-binary have been indexed with the broader term « Transidentité ». The documents about polyamory have been indexed with « Amour libre », which was the closest subject heading I could find.

As no subject headings I’ve found could be related to asexuality and aromantism, we had the authorization to summarize the books in the catalog with those words, so they could be retrieved in the catalog.

This point was essential to us, as the information retrieval in the catalog is based upon the indexing. So, if we want our patrons to have access to the wanted information, it is important to pay attention to the adequacy of the vocabulary we use.

5.4. The Classification On the Shelves

Each library chooses its own classification plan. At the library of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, a sign upon the back of the books means we have to put together all the books with that sign. For instance, the detective novels have a black sign on their back. Because of this, they are all gathered together on the same shelves.

But it is something we wanted to avoid for the LGBTQIAP+-themed collection. Indeed, it is, we think, a form of stigmatization: why would we put those specific books apart from the others? Furthermore, it could have stopped the people still in the closet – who haven’t made a coming out as an LGBTQIAP+ person – to take books as it could have been perceived as a sort of outing. Indeed, the configuration of the library allows the librarians and the patrons to see who goes in which section and there is no automatic lending machine to allow patrons to take books anonymously.

Yet, the people in the closet are 35 % of our target audience1.

The NGOs I worked with advised against this kind of classification as well.

For all those reasons, we chose to disseminate the books in the whole library, so it would allow a soft mediation as well. For instance, the books about the legislation opening adoption to same-sex couples are classified in family law. Thanks to this, the patron realizes, even if unconsciously, that that kind of family exists. But they are identified with a « All Genders » stamp on the first page to show they belong to the collection.

The stamp

1INSTITUT POUR L’EGALITE DES FEMMES ET DES HOMMES ; UNIA, LE CENTRE INTERFEDERAL POUR L’EGALITE DES CHANCES. Et toi, t’es casé-e ? Répertoire des associations actives dans la lutte contre l’homophobie et la transphobie et/ou communautaires [en ligne]. [circa 2016] [Consulté le 26 mai 2017]. Disponible sur le Web : <http://www.ettoitescase.be/pdf/liste_des_associations.pdf&gt;

5.5. The Perpetuation

The most important thing was to train the librarians so they could keep going. First, there was a theoritical training given by Genres Pluriels. Afterward, a 10 hour face-to-face (2 x 5 hours) took place with the librarian in charge fo cataloging the fiction, the comic books and the non-fiction. This moment was the occasion to talk about which subject headings of RAMEAU would be the most suitable.

I’ve also set up a tools box for the librarians with a lexicon, a calendar of the main events of the LGBTQIAP+ events in Belgium to secure new partnerships or to know when to put those books on display, a list of the selected subject headings for the indexing, ideas of activities.

5.6. The Communication about the collection

We took several initiatives to make the collection known by different kind of audiences:

– in reference to the project « All Genders Welcome », the collection was named « All Genders », so it would be clearly recognizable.

– an album was created on the Facebook page of the library specifically to promote the books of the collection

– a book club specifically for transgender folkx was organized with Genres Pluriels during the Pride Festival (a series of events organized around the 17th of May). This was a moment of exchange that allowed us to introduce the collection and to set up a new procedure of subscription to the library. So the people who would like to subscribe to the library with a different surname than the one on their identity card could do it so.

– an inauguration evening for the All Genders collection was organized. For this occasion, I was interviewed by the LGBTQIAP+ magazine Rédac’CHEFF.

– a folder summarizing the comics of the collection was created.

– a specific page introducing the collection has been created in the common catalog, as from now on at least 200 LGBTQIAP+ themed books can found in it in the library of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe alone.

Printscreen of the page introducing the project in the common catalog

Conclusion

This project raised issues to which it is not possible to give a universal answer. For instance, the matter of the classification on the shelves depends on the configuration of the library, the possibilities of anonymous lending, and so on. It was also the occasion to raise awareness among the librarians in charge of the common catalog, to think about how making not only our collections but also our tools, the building, the way we welcome our patrons more inclusive. In this case, it meant thinking about alternatives to index books, reviewing the subscription procedure, thinking about ways to make the collection accessible without risking to out some patrons.

This is the beginning of something beautiful, so we hope and that will make public libraries welcoming places for every one, including our LGBTQIAP+ patrons.

Florence Cochin, published on the 17th of February 2020

How libraries are helping LGBTQ+ users: An infographic

IFLA LGBTQ Users Special Interest Group got to thinking: how are libraries helping LGBTQ+ users? We came up with many answers: from creating a safe space to hosting LGBTQ+ programs and acting as advocates for freedom of access to information. But it’s not enough to just list the ways that libraries help LGBTQ+ users. So we created an infographic! See what libraries are doing to make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ communities.

How libraires help LGBTQ+ users