Less than a month ago I did a presentation at QueerCollaborations (the national conference for the queer students of Australia), on how libraries can better cater towards the LGBTQ community, and why it is so important. Since then, a number of major changes have happened, and it is starting to scare me, how much of an impact this is having
Changes thus far…
- A motion was made at QC that additional copies of Querelle (our annual arts and literature anthology) would be sent to public libraries within country area. The libraries can then chose if they want to insert the book into their collection, or simply leave it on the coffee table for users to pick up at their leisure. In some regional and rural libraries, this may well be the only LGBTQ related resorce they have in stock! As a country-queer myself, I know this has the potential to give young people in isolated area so much hope for the future. If you want your library to get involved in this, please email me your contact details, and I will make sure your library gets a copy next year (while this is aimed at public libraries in the country, if you are a metropolitan or a school library, and you are interested, we will be more than willing to include you).
- An additional motion was made that all future additions of Querelle will require an ISBN (something we haven’t bothered with before), to ensure that copies will reside in the National Library of Australia, as well as the Batty Library. This will cement Querelle’s presence in Australia’s history.
- Attention was drawn to a children’s picture book (in a public library) with a warning label attached to the front, advising parents that the book dealt with same sex relationships. The label has since been removed, and efforts are being made to trace where and when the label was first attached.
- I was approached by other members of the Australian library community, asking if I would assist them in establishing a special interest group within ALIA to deal with LGBTQ issues, similar to ALA’s GLBT Round Table. There has been interest in this in a while, and when it became apparent to the rest of WAs librarians that I was willing to get involved with LGBTQ issues within libraries, I was asked to be the public face of it (which I was more than willing). Initially it will just be an e-list under the name aliaLGBTQ, although it is the hope of those involved that once there is adequate membership, a fully-fledged group can be formed. The purpose behind the group will be to (a) support LGBTQ library staff, professionals, and students, as well as their straight allies, and (b) advise and assist libraries in cantering towards the LGBTQ community. This means that we are working for the benefit of not just the staff, but the users to. As soon as the e-list is going I will start pushing out the signup link. I am so excited about this!
- In addition, I am currently re-writing my QC presentation for a library audience (as opposed to the LGBTQ audience it was originally intended for), and I am planning on presenting at LibraryCamp Australia in September (this will also be a good chance to plug the ALIA e-list!!!).
So as you can imagine, after less than a month, all of this is happening, and I don’t know which way to turn! After all, I am still just a student myself!!!!