LGBTQIA+ Communities


LGBTQIA+ Communities

The first Pride march was held in New York City on June 28, 1970, one year after the Stonewall Uprising, a tipping point in the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the years following Stonewall, many organizations and groups gathered together to protest for LGBTQIA+ rights, demanding equal rights. In 1999, the United States officially designated June as Pride month. (source: Library of Congress)

2023 Events

Celebrating LGBTQIA+ Librarianship in Tough Times

Wednesday, July 5, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time

The SJSU iSchool and our keynote speaker, Deputy County Librarian Deb Sica, celebrated lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA+) librarians and librarianship, featuring a diverse array of panelists who brought their expertise in various aspects of the LIS field. 

For more about this event, see our recap here.

Transcript here (PDFDOC).

Past Symposia

EDI Symposium: How LGBTQIA+ Librarians Shape Libraries Today

How LGBTQIA+ Librarians Shape Libraries Today
Thursday, June 30, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pacific Time

In June 2022, the SJSU iSchool hosted a symposium in honor of Pride Month titled, “How LGBTQIA+ Librarians Shape Libraries Today.” The symposium opened up with a keynote address and presentation by Dr. Shannon Oltmann, who talked about the importance of having LGBTQIA+ resources in libraries and the challenges that come with it. Following the keynote address, symposium panelists held an hour-long discussion on the roles that libraries can play in supporting LGBTQIA+ communities and the need for more diversity in a predominantly white, cisgender, heterosexual field.

Shannon M. OltmannMelinda Borie

Kassian Rye Lemke-Elznic

Library and Information Science Best Practices

Best Practices from “Celebrating LGBTQIA+ Librarianship in Tough Times“:
  • While it is important to have all staff members respect patrons and educated on LGBTQIA+ matters, it’s even more important to have youth librarian staff members who are attentive, in-touch, and able to support LGBTQIA+ youth. “That is the time, I think, when all people come into the realization of gender and realization of sexuality.” -Deb Sica
  • Understand, and help your staff understand, the reasons for why it’s important to be educated on LGBTQIA+ issues. “If your team isn’t on board, you can fall into toxic allyship where you’re trying to do something and then folks are pushing back.” -Angela Ocaña
  • Everyone’s efforts are required in making the library a more welcoming space. “Do your part no matter where you are in the library or the section of the library that you work in.” -Michael Wallace-Davis, Jr.
  • Inclusivity is about teamwork. “You can’t have one person who is raising all these issues…People stop listening if it’s always the same person…maybe you need to get someone who is traditionally a little quieter to raise that one [issue] so it doesn’t seem like it’s just your issue because it’s not.” -Melinda Borie
  • Know where your patrons are coming from and value their need for privacy. “Some teens have trepidation about coming up to the desk and voicing what they’re looking for…what’s been really popular at some branches where I’ve worked at is doing a short Dewey Decimal Subject…in a bookmark form or some place in the teen section to just help them find the information they’re looking for.” -Ana Elisa de Campo Salles
  • Make sure to have policies in place that stand behind your libraries DEIA efforts. “In addition to having a reconsideration policy that’s up to date, I think that you should also have a collection strategy statement or some kind of collection statement that is public on your website…On our website, in very clear language, it tells people what our priorities are at the library and among those are we strive to have as diverse and inclusive a collection as we possibly can, given the constraints of the publishing world.” -Dontaná McPherson-Joseph
Best Practices from “How LGBTQIA+ Librarians Shape Libraries Today“:
  • Incorporate a more inclusive approach to LGBTQIA+ resources.
  • Be aware of potential pushback that may arise as a result of having queer-friendly resources in the library. 
  • Reach out to community members about how libraries can tailor their practices towards supporting their local communities. 
  • Create more space for LGBTQIA+ people in library programming efforts.

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