Public libraries are committed to reflecting the diversity of their patrons via collections, programs, and services. The thousands of public libraries across the nation have the capacity to spark community conversations and actions that further understanding and address local needs.
Serving and supporting LGBTQ patrons requires more than creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere and developing a strong collection of materials. Successful libraries do these things, but they also partner with allied organizations and promote a broad spectrum of resources to the community at large. Following are key actions that should be considered by all libraries ready to take the next step. Remember, you may have patrons desperately needing this support who may not feel comfortable asking for it.
Build and Maintain Your Collection
A library’s print, eBook, and digital resource collection will always be the bedrock upon which service to a particular community is built. Developing a robust LGBTQ collection draws on the same core principles that define all aspects of collection development.
Develop a Strong “Reconsideration” Policy
Libraries continue to face challenges from members of their communities who object to the presence of various types of materials and services offered to library patrons. This is especially true of LGBTQ materials and services. It is crucial that every library has an official policy to deal with potential challenges.
Promote Your Resources
Developing a strong LGBTQ collection is only the beginning. The library must seek out its audience and actively promote available resources, from print and digital resources to programming, education, and events. Bringing resources to those who need them is at the core of every library’s mission, but it is especially challenging with LGBTQ patrons, many of whom are reluctant to ask for help due to concerns about their privacy.
Recently, we partnered with Booklist to produce a piece on the library being more than a safe space. Now that you know how to build & maintain your collection, develop a strong policy, and promote your resources, learn more by downloading the full white paper >>