Librarians & Collections

 The Williams Institute reports that analyses from the National Survey of Family Growth find that 4.1% of men and women aged 18-45 identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.  According to the Institute, if 4.1% of all adults identify as such, then an estimated 8.8 million adults are gay, lesbian, or bisexual in the United States.  - American Library Association

Statistics on LGBT people in America are difficult to determine. Conservative estimates put it at a little under 5% while others say that at least one in ten Americans are LGBT. Either estimate puts the LGBT population as a sizable minority group that deserves attention from librarians. Gay activists of the twentieth century led the charge on getting LGBT people out of the closet. This has changed many minds. Gay marriage is becoming legal in many states and the younger generation is overwhelmingly gay positive yet prejudice remains. Controversy can arise with even with innocuous children’s books. This shouldn’t deter librarians from their duty to serve the LGBT population.

LGBT people have been traditionally underrepresented in libraries because of social stigmas. This lack must be remedied especially when it comes to young adults. LGBT teens have the highest rates of suicide and bullying. Libraries should be a safe zone for all patrons who can feel comfortable and see representations of themselves. LGBT people come in all ages, races, nationalities, and economic backgrounds so keep diversity in mind when developing a collection. Because major publishers like St. Martin’s might publish only a scant few LGBT titles a year, independent LGBT publishers have been formed to fill that gap. Librarians should think outside the box and seek out LGBT presses to find materials for their patrons.

Some librarians might be unsure of how to go about making their libraries more queer friendly which is why this list of resources was assembled. The bibliography was collected for further reading to cover many eclectic subjects as either examples of  what other library professionals have done, ideas for outreach, or LGBT related library studies. Examples of LGBT collection policies, library outreach and university study guides were listed. The queer resources are to guide librarians to more information as well as to inform about different LGBT organizations for use in pathfinders and other LGBT-targeted outreach. This is by no means a complete listing of resources. It might seem like a lot of information but the queer community is like any other in its desire for representation. The usual outreach ideas can be modified such as queer book clubs or celebrating LGBT history month in October. Partnerships with local LGBT libraries and community centers can get the library more visibility in the queer community. But, in the end, representation begins on the bookshelf.


Ajamu, X. X., Campbell, T., & Stevens, M. (2009). Love and Lubrication in the Archives, or rukus!: A Black Queer Archive for the United Kingdom. Archivaria, (68), 271-294.

Alexander, L. B., & Miselis, S. D. (2007). Barriers to GLBTQ collection development and strategies for overcoming them.Young Adult Library Services: The Journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association, 5(3), 43-49.

Cart, M. (2002). Lives are at stake. Young Adult Library Services: The Journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association,1(1), 22-23.

Cooke, J. C. (2005). Gay and Lesbian Librarians and the “Need” for GLBT Library Organizations. Journal Of Information Ethics14(2), 32-49.

Fikar, C. R., & Keith, L. (2004). Information needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered health care professionals: results of an Internet survey. Journal Of The Medical Library Association92(1), 56-65.

GLQ: a Journal of Lesbian And Gay Studies. Yverdon, Switzerland: Gordon and Breach Publishers, 1993.

Goldthorp, J. (2007). A voice for the invisible?. Information Scotland5(1), 13-14.

Helton, R. (2010). Diversity Dispatch: Reaching out to LGBT library patrons. Kentucky Libraries74(2), 14-16.

Jennings, K. (2006). Librarians Make a Difference. Knowledge Quest34(5), 22.

Martin, H. J. (2006). A Library Outing: Serving Queer and Questioning Teens. Young Adult Library Services4(4), 38-39.

Mathson, S., & Hancks, J. (2006). Privacy please? A comparison between self-checkout and book checkout desk circulation rates for LGBT and other books. Journal of Access Services, 4(3-4), 27-37.

Mehra, B., & Braquet, D. (2007). 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 Trends56(2), 542-565.

Moss, E. (2008). An inductive evaluation of a public library GLBT collection. Collection Building, 27(4), 149-156.

Parris, B. (2005). Creating, Reconstructing, and Protecting Historical Narratives: Archives and the LBGT Community. Current Studies In Librarianship29(1/2), 5-25.

Taylor, J. (2002). Targeting the Information Needs of Transgender Individuals. Current Studies In Librarianship26(1/2), 85-110.

Seborg, L. (2005). Sharing the stories of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community: Providing library service to the GLBT patron. PNLA Quarterly, 69(4), 15-17.

Zieman, K. (2009). Youth Outreach Initiatives at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. Archivaria, (68), 311-317.



Public Library Programs/Outreach

Library Development Policies 

University Study Guides

Library Sources

Educational Sources

National Resources/Organizations

International Resources/Organizations

Latin America
Middle East
North America/Caribbean

*denotes a non-English resource.

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