Guest Blogger

Uplifting the LGBTQ+ Community at #PLA2022

I combined my trip to #PLA to visit my niece-phew’s intentional queer farm community. So I was excited to attend the “Queering the Library: Strategically Creating Space for the LGBTQ+ Community” session.

How did Prince George’s County Memorial Library System go from hosting a few random PRIDE month programs to becoming an actively anti-bias, queer-friendly system? During a pandemic!?

Rebecca Oxley and Teresa Miller talked about their journey to start “basically from scratch” in their system. They created a team, researched the LGBTQ+ community’s needs, identified gaps and opportunities, and planned and designed LGBTQ+ services, programs and ongoing anti-bias advocacy work.

They took a multi-pronged approach: they did surveys, offered staff training, developed and highlighted their PRIDE collection, partnered with community organizations, created a toolkit, and developed (and tweaked) new programs that could easily be done virtually and/or at the branch libraries.

It was hard for me to choose a highlight among the many initiatives they brought to life, but the virtual PRIDE Heritage Hub is probably the one. It includes a timeline, a rotating display that depicts a person of note in the LGBTQ+ community, current programs, curated booklists and local community organizations.

As a cisgender, straight woman, I left feeling inspired to do more to help “queer my library!”

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

Guest conference blogger Shelley Sutherland (she/her) is the Youth Services Manager at the Skokie Public Library in Skokie, Illinois. She will be attending the conference live and is looking forward to learning from her colleagues. She loves her own baked goods as snacks and her favorite animal is an owl.

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