Category Archives: LGBTQ

The best part of getting a new job

If you have been reading my last few blog posts, you will know that I have been job hunting for the last five months or so. The uncertainty of my coming financial situation has been weighing down on me for a while, and as a result, I have been pretty stressed. Well, this week I finally got a new job. I am now the librarian at the Mental Health Law Centre WA, and have been charged with the task of turning a whole pile of boxed donations into a functional library. Not many librarians ever get the chance to start a library from scratch, so it is pretty huge that I have been given this task before I have even graduated. Sure it is only a six month contract, but that will bring me close to the end of the year, and by that time I will have the piece of paper that says I am qualified, and I will be able to start applying for all those lovely jobs only available to New Grads.

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LibraryCamp Adelaide

 Last month I was asked to do a Lightning Talk via Skype to LibraryCamp Adelaide, about LGBTQ issues within libraries. Prior to the talk, this was posted on their website.

 We’re pleased to announce that our first Lightning Talk is going to be presented by Suzie Day, talking about queer activism in Australian libraries. Suzie blogs at Catalogue This! and is a library student at Curtin University, in Western Australia. Suzie has professional interests in children’s services, cataloguing and the intersection of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community with library services.

-From LibraryCamp Adelaide. Retrieved September 6, 2011

In addition, I prepared a list of resources and links (which can be found here) which Katie Hannan (who initally invited me to talk) was able to distribute to those who wanted to find out more. 

More recently, Katie wrote this follow-up blog post:

Thanks Suzie (@MissSuzieDay on twitter) for sharing your passion with us LibraryCamp. Your talk has been so eye opening and has made me think about a whole range of different ideas, themes, concepts! Suzie highlighted the fact that Libraries can get in on Pride month. Is this being done in South Australia? Perhaps this is something that Public Libraries SA can take up? What a great idea. Let’s talk to Geoff Strempel, the director.

Libraries are safe spaces, what are we doing to be inclusive towards LGBTQ families, teens, children. The non-nuclear family is becoming more and more common. When asked about strategies for engaging public libraries on LGBTQ issues, Suzie said “just get out there and do it!”.

10 % of the population identifies with LGBTQ, what is your library doing to support this population demographic?

For more information look at this resource list for libraries.

 – From LibraryCamp Adelaide .Retrieved September 6, 2011

The feedback I have had, both the LiveTweets on Twitter and people who have contacted me since then, has been really positive. The impression I am getting is that a lot of librarians, while interested, haven’t actually though about catering towards the LGBTQ community before. It is only once they are actually told that it can be done, and why it is so important, that they realise that they can have a profound impact on the LGBTQ community, particually teenagers.

It is about time!

Well, despite announcing almost a month ago that we had an e-list, it is only now that we have actually got it running. 
Each day I was getting an email like this, telling me that I had to approve membership.
Now, this shouldn’t have happened in the first place, as I have chosen to set the e-list to self-subscription (that is, we send you a confirmation email, you click the link). 
At any rate, when I would try to log in to approve said subscription, my password wouldn’t work.
After a number of attempts at contacting ALIA’s IT department, I finally got a response, and the who thing was sorted in a couple of days.
Now we have an actual e-list. As it stands, we have 9 email addresses subscribed. ALIA rules state we need a minimum of 10 after the first month to remain online. Admittedly, I also subscribed my Youth Guardian Services e-mail address, however, I can justify that I did it for professional reasons (I am the current Executive Director of YGS, which maintains online support networks for LGBTQ Youth). 
We might have a bit longer to get that last subscription, due to the fact it took so long to get the e-list online, but we still need that last subscription! You don’t need to identify as LGBTQ, or even be an ALIA member to join. You just need an interest in what we do. 
You can subscribe by going here, or by going to the ALIA website, and selecting E-lists, under the Groups menu.

Forgot to mention….

ALIA now has an LGBTQ e-list!!

It has actually been going a few days now, but I forgot to but up the notice here.

You can subscribe here. Please be aware that we are not yet listed on the ALIA webpage, under their e-lists.

Also, we need a minimum of 10 members within a month to remain active, so even if you don’t think you will get involved, or join the conversation, please subscribe, so we can continue to exist.

Don’t forget, we can be found on Twitter as @aliaLGBTQ!

aliaLGBTQ e-list now has a Twitter account…but no e-list

So the application to have the e-list went in last week, and we are now waiting for ALIAs  IT guys to work their magic and set up aliaLGBTQ. 
BUT, today is the last day of July, meaning #TweetAugust starts tomorrow, and there is no way we are going to miss out on the fun, just because we don’t officially exist yet! 
So, the Twitter account for aliaLGBTQ was born! While it was recognised that usually only ALIA groups really use social media such as Twitter, it was decided that aliaLGBTQ would benefit from Twitter involvement, in that it would create awareness within the librarians-who-Tweet circles, and would help get the word out. In addition, it is the hope of the organisers that with increased membership and participation, that our e-list will eventually morph into a fully-fledged group. 
Sorry about the size…we needed it big enough to read!
Now we just need to figure out what to Tweet about this month. I have a few links to book lists, relevant blog posts, and an awesome picture of some lesbrarians, but I reckon we will be struggling by the end of the month!
Keep your eyes peeled for the aliaLGBTQ e-list subscription link, coming to a Twitter feed near you!

Since QC: how a short presentation on why libraries are gay is changing Australian libraries

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!!!!