May 23, 2017

Everyone is welcome! LGBTQIA in the library

Did you know that June is LGBT Pride Month? NoveList can help make your library a welcoming and safe place for LGBT youth.

Learn the lingo

In NoveList, we updated our headings to be more inclusive and to use more widely-used terminology. Our standard heading is LGBTQIA. What do all these letters mean? L = lesbian; G = gay; B = bisexual; T = transgender; Q = queer; I = intersex; and A = asexual. (Want to know more about this terminology? Check out the PFLAG National Glossary of Terms.) You can read more about our shift to inclusive language in this post by one of our metadata librarians, Suzanne Temple.

Create a display

Need display ideas? Check out this welcoming, colorful display from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

CMPL display

If you need help picking books, NoveList has several ways to help you quickly make a perfect pull list. Search by genre to find books that focus on this topic by searching GN LGBTQIA. From those results you can narrow by age level to make just the right display.

Find books with LGBTQIA characters easily with the appeal term LGBTQIA diverse. Search AP LGBTQIA diverse. Use the limiters on the left to narrow by other appeal factors such as pace and tone.

In LibraryAware search for LGBTQIA under bookmark-4-page, flyer-signs, flyer-books, or posters for ready-to-print materials. Want to add images to your own creations? Search images for LGBT to find an assortment of rainbow graphics to use in your own promotional pieces.

Host a book discussion

Having many students read the same book gives them an opportunity to discuss and examine their feelings about these issues. Reach out to your local Gay/Straight Alliance group to see if they are interested in participating in book talks.  NoveList's teen-level recommended reads lists have titles that would make a great starting point. From the home page, on the left panel, select Teen, then select All Kinds of Lives. You'll see booklists such as LGBTQIA (including a list for tweens) and Teen Gender Nonconformity.

Provide safe bathroom spaces

Ensure that your library's bathroom is a safe place. Some libraries provide gender neutral restrooms, but what if your library doesn’t have that? Emily Leachman, manager of the Central Library at Central Piedmont Community College (NC) says that she makes sure to point out the location to both restrooms to anyone who asks. “If I make a guess or assumption and only give directions to the men's room and that wasn't what was wanted, the person seeking the bathroom is in a quandary.”

Show your pronouns

Consider having staff wear buttons with their preferred gender pronouns like the University of Kansas did last year to demonstrate that your library is inclusive. Extra buttons are available at the counters for students to pick up and wear. Displaying preferred pronouns conveys to students that you want to know their pronouns and thus value them as individuals while also emphasizing the library as a welcoming space.

Learn more

Want to learn more about LGBTQIA books and resources? In NoveList, perform a keyword search for LGBTQIA. From the results page click Lists & Articles. You'll find recommended reads lists, readers’ advisory training, and feature articles.

For educator resources on these issues check out GLSEN’s Libraries as Safe Spaces. To learn more about being a gender inclusive school, visit Gender Spectrum


Lori Reed is the Marketing Specialist at NoveList. 





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