Connecting with the LGBT+ community: diversity and inclusion at City of Gold Coast Libraries

 

Concurrent session 3: Lightning Talks
Tuesday 31 July 2018, 12:20pm - 12:45pm

Alison Kemp, Amy Walduck

Abstract

The National LGBTI Health Alliance estimates that LGBTIQAP+ people represent 11% of the population in Australia[1] and based on 2011 census data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics identified two Gold Coast suburbs in the top 10 Queensland suburbs where gay couples live[2]. City of Gold Coast Libraries aims to be a safe and supportive environment for every member of its community and as such have created an LGBT+ Collection for our LGBTIQAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, Pansexual and other identities) members. The collection is a handpicked selection of new and recommended resources and includes print, multimedia and digital items driven by feedback and suggestions from our members.

When developing the collection it was important to consider not only the titles to purchase, many of which already existed within our collection, but also the access needs of all our LGBTIQAP+ members. Whilst it is important to visually represent the collection within the physical and online library it was also essential to understand how our members choose to engage with the collection. Some members are proud to browse the LGBT+ collection within the library while others prefer to be more discreet requesting via the online catalogue or consuming eresources only.

The collection, identified with an LGBT+ rainbow sticker, is housed at Southport Library with additional copies distributed throughout the greater library collection. A community launch event, featuring transgender author and advocate Nevo Zisin and drag queen storytime with Skye Blue, was held in December 2017 to celebrate the new LGBT+ collection and strengthen community networks.

Implementing this special collection was a collaborative effort across the City of Gold Coast library network with staff overwhelmingly supportive of the new collection. A team of staff volunteered to become LGBT+ champions and participated in a pilot program of awareness training that was subsequently rolled out network wide. LGBT+ staff champions are identified within branches by wearing rainbow lanyards providing a visual symbol of inclusivity to LGBTIQAP+ members and a safe person to talk to.


[1] Jacobs, R. and Ross, S. (2016). National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender And Intersex Mental Health And Suicide Prevention Strategy: A New Strategy For Inclusion And Action. Retrieved from http://lgbtihealth.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/LGBTI_Report_Mental...

[2] Brook, B. (2016). Sydney has Australia’s most popular suburbs with gays and lesbians. Retrieved from http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/gay-marriage/sydney-has-australias-most...

 

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