Friday, October 27, 2006

JCLC Conference Notes, Day Two: Session on LGBTI People of Color

(Day Two would be October 13, 2006)

Session Title: "LGBT People of Color Resources and Services in Libraries and Archives."

This was a panel presentation.

Note: A print bibliography was provided, but unfortunately, as of this writing, there is no online version for linking. I will likely be using it to check against our catalog holdings at some point.

tatiana de la tierra was the first speaker from the panel. She observed that ethnic groups, in terms of resources and services, lack a queer element.
  • Libraries as gateways. They preserve the heritage of the populations they serve. People often go there to find themselves. LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex) people doing this is well documented, but they often fail to find what they need or seek.
  • LGBTI people of color face double marginalization (by color and by orientation). Collection development for them often means going to alternate sources and "out of the way."
  • Libraries as spaces that can inspire and even make visual statements. Exhibits can be significant. Ms. de la tierra's exhibits are very visual, even using the wall space outside of a display case.
  • According to Ms. de la tierra, "intellectual freedom is not free when librarians are scared shitless of it."
Miguel Juarez spoke "On collaborating with allies of LGBT Staff for book exhibits and programming." He moved from a very supportive environment at the University of Arizona to one less supportive (to put it mildly) in Texas A&M. His new setting had no LGBT library organization. The diversity committee was limited to Hispanic and disability issues.
  • To keep up then, he had to go outside the library.
  • A&M has done exhibits on underrepresented groups, mostly women and Hispanics. Some talk of LGBT exhibit is afoot with some support and funding, but it will not be easy.
  • Reminder that to create a quality LGBT programming, there must be top down support. One must be flexible and patient.
Yolanda Retter described herself as a "fill in the gaps" activist. She is annoyed at how LGBTI people are made invisible in staffing, collection, development, etc. The goal is one of creating visibility.
  • Even when not asked, she provides expertise, helps review syllabi, programming, so on. We, as librarians, are all responsible to assure that all are represented. We are responsible for asking questions. Easy choices are seldom part of social justice. Our job as librarians is to educate, educate, educate. This process has to be consistent and constant; people need to be reminded every semester.
  • People want information, and they want informed, good service. Any library that serves underrepresented groups automatically serve the cause of social justice. In reference, be prepared, for you never know who will ask what.
  • Idea: compile subject notebooks. (I am thinking this can be done online, maybe using a tool like or Squidoo).
  • Idea: Keep track of people with subject expertise, on and off campus.
  • Idea: Try to get the "LGBT Allies" training.
  • Film suggested: All God's Children, produced by Sylvia Rhue.

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