LGBTQ+ Survey – Over the last 30+ years, I have written for various magazines and organisations, and I have been an active member of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association, and whilst based in Surrey was active in CHE.
Prior to the pandemic, I had been trying to find out how libraries across the United Kingdom had been responding to the LGBTQ+ community, but with little success.
This is not my first time trying to gain an understanding of what is happening in our libraries for the LGBTQ+ community; whilst I was based in Surrey, England I was totally surprised over what can occur during a four year period. When I first arrived in Sutton, a town 14 miles from Central London, and in the heart of natural conservatism, stocked the Pink Paper, Capital Gay and Gay Times (all of which are no longer in production or print-based magazines). They also had a ‘few’ gay books on the shelves in the social studies section. these items slowly disappeared because according to the librarians ‘some users abused the facilities i.e. they kept moving or hiding the items.
Just as everything seemed to go into limbo, Sutton Libraries got a new assistant librarian. IN the two years following my initial survey, she provided the LGBTQ+ community with an alternative book show, including a display from Gay’s the Word, free copies of gay papers openly available on a shelf for anyone who wanted one, and also a Gay & Lesbian section in the main library with over 120 items including videos.
To find out what our current situation is after the pandemic I have created a short survey online and I am asking any individual or group to go and check it out and complete it in relation to their location.
I hope you will all take part and look forward to pulling together the survey results and publishing them.