“Pride or Prejudice?” – How well are Libraries serving Lesbian, Gay, Bi- and Trans- Communities?

The then Diversity Group of CILIP organised a one-day Conference in Feb 2006.

John Vincent gave a keynote speech, “LGBT people and libraries – how well do we do?”, which introduced the day, and concluded with “a number of demands – which I’d like you to think about, talk to me about during the day, and add to if possible. These are:

  • A full recognition of our needs at work
  • Proper equality at work, eg training and support for other staff to prevent our having to deal with hostile colleagues; and proper ways of dealing with homophobic/discriminatory members of the public
  • Proper consultation and involvement of staff and the community
  • Provision of a full range of stock (and to get beyond the barrier of how it’s going to be arranged, by consulting and experimenting)
  • Support for young people
  • Provision of information, especially web-based
  • Displays and promotions.

John also summed up the Conference – he included:

“What an inspiring and emotional day! The big theme of the day has been journeys, often brave journeys:

  • To find ourselves – and who we really are
  • To take invisible issues and make them visible
  • Towards a greater understanding of the sheer complexity of life!

We have also recognised the fundamental and vital role that libraries should play as:

  • Sources of information – in some cases, eg in relation to transgender issues, we may be the only source of information
  • Somewhere where people can start to be themselves
  • The provider of information about LGBT issues for the rest of the community.
  • Providers of information and sources of support for the friends and family of LGBT people.”

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