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A Safe Space on Campus: Winning Strategies Academic Libraries Can Use to Serve GLBTQ Students and Faculty
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A Safe Space on Campus: Winning Strategies Academic Libraries Can Use to Serve GLBTQ Students and Faculty


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A presentation given by Matthew Ciszek, Tara Fay, and Kristen Yarmey at the October 2011 Pennsylvania Library Association annual conference in State College, PA. …

A presentation given by Matthew Ciszek, Tara Fay, and Kristen Yarmey at the October 2011 Pennsylvania Library Association annual conference in State College, PA.

Much work has been done in public and school libraries to serve the information needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning patrons. In this session, attendees will learn to transform these ideas into winning strategies for making an academic library a “safe space.” Presenters will provide an introduction to GLBTQ awareness, offer suggestions for providing collections and services for GLBTQ patrons, and share their experiences in building relationships with GLBTQ groups on campus and in the community.

Published in: Education, Spiritual, Technology

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  • 1. A SAFE SPACE ON CAMPUS Winning strategies academic libraries can use to serve GLBTQ students and faculty Matthew Ciszek, Penn State Shenango Kristen Yarmey, University of Scranton Tara Fay, University of Scranton PALA 2011
  • 2.
  • 3. GOALS • Serve all our patrons • Provide a safe, welcoming environment
  • 4. GETTING THERE • GLBTQ awareness • Information needs & collection development • Outreach
  • 5. GLBTQ What???
  • 6. GLB Terms• Gay: Term used to describe homosexuals; most specifically, homosexual males• Lesbian: Term used to specifically describe homosexual women• Bisexual: Term used to describe men and women who have romantic/sexual attractions to members of both sexes
  • 7. Gender basics...• The term transgender is an umbrella term that can encompass transsexuals (those who desire and/or pursue a change of sex), gender variant individuals, drag queens/kings, and others o Transgender individuals may identify as heterosexual, gay/lesbian, or bisexual• Intersex: A person whose combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and/or genitals differs from one of the two expected patterns
  • 8. What is the Difference Between Sex & Gender? • Our biological sex is what we are born with in terms of chromosomes, hormones and our primary and secondary sex characteristics Male Intersex Female Genitals do not determine identity
  • 9. What is the Difference Between Sex & Gender?• Gender is the collection of characteristics that are culturally associated with maleness or femaleness• The dichotomies of male/female, women/men are social constructs• Our gender identity is the way we think about our own gender, ourselves, and to what degree we identify with our own gender Man Woman
  • 10. What is Gender Expression?• In contrast to gender identity, a person’s gender expression is externally and socially perceived• Gender expression refers to all the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine: hairstyle, clothing, gestures, shape of one’s body, vocabulary, tone of voice, etc Masculine Androgynous Feminine
  • 11. What is Sexual Orientation?• Sexual orientation refers to ones sexual and romantic attraction o There is often an awareness of being “different” from peers in childhood o There is often an awareness of same-gender attraction in early teen years Homosexual Bisexual Heterosexual
  • 12. “Coming Out of the Closet”• Coming out is a process of understanding, accepting, and valuing one’s sexual orientation/identity and disclosing this to others• Coming out is a continuous, lifelong, and often repeated process (or not)• The Closet/Closeted
  • 13. Other Terms/Definitions• Homophobia: The irrational fear and/or hatred of same-sex relationships and gay people• Heterosexism: The idea that there is a natural form of sexuality which our society perpetuates (man + woman)• Privilege: A right or resource that one group has access to and from which other groups are denied
  • 14. QUESTIONS?
  • 15. GLBTQ Collection Development• Colleges and universities have seen a rise in the number of self-identified GLBTQ students• Many more students may not identify as GLBTQ, but have information needs in this area• Library literature indicates that the information needs of the GLBTQ community are largely unmet and libraries lack the skills and resources to meet these needs
  • 16. GLBTQ Collection DevelopmentSelecting Resources • Books and Print Resources o Lambda Literary o Gay and Lesbian Review o ALA GLBT Round Table Newsletter o ALA Rainbow Project and Over the Rainbow • Bibliographies o ALA GLBT Round Table o LGBT Language, Discources, and Rhetorics o Trans-Academics Reference Library
  • 17. GLBTQ Collection DevelopmentSelecting Resources • Research Databases o LGBT Life o Alternative Press Index o Womens Studies International o GenderWatch • Journals o The Advocate o Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide o GLQ o Many other subject based journals on GLBTQ topics
  • 18. GLBTQ Collection DevelopmentMaking Resources Available • Research Guides o Essential to have in an electronic format o Web-based resources linked to better environment o Guides should have a contact person for follow up o Separate guide for GLBTQ topics o Provide for links to other libraries/organizations o Many good examples we can build from:  Penn State  University of Scranton  Northern Illinois
  • 19. GLBTQ Collection DevelopmentMaking Resources Available • Include non-library collections located at GLBTQ Centers or Student Affairs offices in the library catalog • Seek to catalog materials under subject headings and keyword thesauri that contain generally accepted terms • Consider co-locating all of the GLBTQ materials in a special collection or separate shelving • Consider outside funding from student affairs, GLBTQ organizations, or elsewhere if needed • Promote GLBTQ collections in library newsletters, websites, and other communications
  • 20. GLBTQ Collection DevelopmentAssigning a Subject Specialist • Allows the library to identify an "expert" in GLBTQ Studies • Functions as a local resource on the subject • Provides a point-of-contact that patrons can feel comfortable discussing "sensitive" topics • Provides a gateway between faculty working on research in the area and campus GLBTQ student organizations and the library • Facilitates training in GLBTQ topics for all library staff
  • 21. GLBTQ Reference Services• All front line and reference staff should have a basic knowledge of GLBTQ issues• Staff should have a familiarity with basic terms and be able to refer questions to a "expert“• Research has found that GLBTQ students appreciate reference service in a non-public environment• Consider the availability of e-mail or online reference services with a link from the Subject Guide• Public services librarians may consider participating in campus GLBTQ awareness training or becoming a "safe space"
  • 22. QUESTIONS?
  • 23. Outreach• Why? • Find out what we’re missing • Highlight our commitment to serve all patrons • Educate our students as whole people
  • 24. Outreach
  • 25. OutreachPhoto courtesy of William & Mary Law Library (cc) Photo courtesy of Flickr user Brian B. Sorensen (used with permission)
  • 26. OutreachPhoto courtesy of Alachua County Library (with permission)
  • 27. OutreachPhotos courtesy of Fairfield University’s DiMenna-Nyselius Library (used with permission)
  • 28. Outreachbook talks, film showings, poetry readings, read-a-thons…
  • 29. Outreach
  • 30. Outreach
  • 31. OutreachCollaborative Outreach• Wellness Centers• Counseling Centers• Student Activities• Social Justice groups
  • 32. OutreachEvents• National Pride Month – June• Pride parades and festivals (local)• LGBT History Month - October• National Coming Out Day – October 11• Day of Silence – April 20• Transgender Day of Remembrance – November 20
  • 33. OutreachHow do we get feedback?• Ask students/faculty/staff in ally groups about their experiences • “As a GLBTQ/ally library user, I feel welcome when…”• Invite an ally group member to serve on library advisory board
  • 34. A few closing thoughts...• You don’t need to be an expert to create a safe space• Know enough to point someone to helpful resources (or to a campus expert)
  • 35. QUESTIONS?
  • 36. Thank you!
  • 37. Resources• ALA GLBT Round Table – GLBT Reviews – Rainbow Project – Newsletter – Bibliographies• Access to Library Resources and Services Regardless of Sex, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sexual Orientation: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights”(1993, last amended 2008)
  • 38. ResourcesMatt’s work:• “Out on the Web: The Relationship between Campus Climate and GLBT- Related Web-Based Resources in Academic Libraries” - coming soon to the Journal of Academic Librarianship!• Ciszek, M. "Managing Outside the Closet: On Being an Openly Gay Library Administrator." Out Behind the Desk: Workplace Issues for LGBTQ Librarians. Ed. Tracy Nectoux. Duluth, MN: Library Juice Press, 2011.• Ciszek, M. and C. L. Young. "Diversity Collection Assessment in Large Academic Libraries." Collection Building. 29.4 (2010): 154-161.
  • 39. ResourcesGreat resources/research from other librarians!• Alexander, Linda B., and Sarah D. Miselis. "Barriers to GLBTQ Collection Development and Strategies for Overcoming Them." Young Adult Library Services 5.3 (2007): 43-49.• Gough, Cal, and Ellen Greenblatt. Gay and Lesbian Library Service. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland, 1990.• Greenblatt, Ellen. “Exploring LGBTQ Online Resources.” Journal of Library Administration 43.4 (2005): 85-101.• Johnson, Matt. “Transgender Subject Access: History and Current Practice.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 48 (2010): 664.• Joyce, Steven. “Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Library Service: A Review of the Literature.” Public Libraries 39.5 (2000): 270-279.
  • 40. • Kadour, Ric Kasini. “Power of Data, the Price of Exclusion.” Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review 12.1 (2005): 31-33.• Lee, Kam Yan and Jenna Freedman. “Odd Girl In: Lesbian Fiction Holdings at Barnard College.” Collection Building 29 (2010): 22-26.• Lupien, Pascal. “GLBT/Sexual Diversity Studies Students and Academic Libraries: A Study of User Perceptions and Satisfaction.” The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 31 (2007): 131-147.• Lutes, Michael A. and Michael A. Montgomery. “Out in the Stacks: Opening Academic Library Collections to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students.” Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students: A Handbook for Faculty and Administrators. Ed. Ronni L. Sanlo. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998.
  • 41. • Martin, Hillias J, and James R. Murdock. Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens: A How-to-Do-It Manual for Librarians. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2007.• Mathson, Stephanie and Jeffrey Hancks. “Privacy Please? A Comparison Between Self-Checkout and Book Checkout Desk Circulation Rates for LGBT and Other Books.” Journal of Access Services 4 (2006): 27-37.• McDowell, Sara. “Library Instruction for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered College Students.” Teaching the New Library to Todays Users. Ed. Trudi Jacobson and Helene C. Williams. New York: Neal- Schuman, 2000. 71-86.• Mehra, Bharat and Donna Braquet. “Library and Information Science Professionals as Community Action Researchers in an Academic Setting: Top Ten Directions to Further Institutional Change for People of Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities.” Library Trends 52 (Fall 2007): 542-565.
  • 42. • Moss, Eleanor. “An Inductive Evaluation of a Public Library GLBT Collection.” Collection Building 27 (2008): 149-156.• Rankin, Sue, Genevieve Weber, Warren Blumenfeld, and Somjen Frazer. 2010 State of Higher Education for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People. Charlotte, North Carolina: Campus Pride, 2010.• Renn, Kristen A. “LGBT and Queer Research in Higher Education: The State and Status of the Field.” Educational Researcher 39 (2010): 134.• Simpson, Stacy H. “Why Have a Comprehensive & Representative Collection?: GLBT Material Selection and Service in the Public Library.” Progressive Librarian 44 (Summer 2007): 44-51.• Switzer, Anne T. “Redefining Diversity: Creating an Inclusive Academic Library through Diversity Initiatives.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 15 (2008): 280-299.
  • 43. • Taylor, Jami K. “Targeting the Information Needs of Transgender Individuals.” Current Studies in Librarianship 26 (Spring/Fall 2002): 85-109.• Willis, Alfred. “The Greatest Taboo and the HBCU.” Against the Grain 16 (February 2004): 34-36.