Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2005-04-20

It’s Not Just About Books: Using AV Collections to Serve GLBTQ Populations

Laura Baldwin, a collections librarian at Ocean County Library, presented on serving the GLBTQ population. Sadly, I had to run out about half-way through the presentation to help set up for the Garden State Luncheon. The portion of the program that I saw had some really great tips for developing services for GLTBQ patrons.

The session started with an icebreaker: Laura distributed a piece of paper with two columns of famous names and asked the audience to identify the one person on the page who did not self-identify as GLBTQ. The audience had a tough time of figuring out who the one person was!

Laura spoke about the GLBTQ community as one of Ocean County’s “invisible communities”. This invisibility arises because library staff can’t easily recognize patrons as belonging to the GLBTQ community. Ocean County decided to focus on service to GLBTQ patrons as part of their Diversity Committee efforts. Their efforts with reaching GLBTQ patrons were evident in their programming, outreach, staff training, and collection development.

Laura spoke for a bit on the importance Cultural Awareness Training for all staff. One of the handouts she distributed, “Gay Life-Style Myths” from Whole Person Press seemed like it could be very useful for a staff workshop. Another handout, “What Do You Do?” gave concrete tips for dealing with patrons who are upset by materials they find in the library. This handout would be especially helpful to all library staff as it gave ways to speak with the patron without apologizing for the content of the material in the collection or getting into a heated debate.

I had to leave at this point, but from what I understand Laura spoke a bit about specific outreach projects OCL undertook (like going to a Gay Pride parade and setting up a library table) and programs. There were two handouts with film annotations that A/V selectors or those interesting in good movies would find helpful – GLBTQ Filmography and LGBTI Roundtable Top Picks for Feature Films. Laura also distributed a Vendor List because some of the films are a bit more difficult to find through traditional sources.

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