Libraries Respond: Services to LGBTQIA+ People

Libraries can serve LGBTQIA+ people by ensuring that this population is reflected in library collections and provided with services at the library.  As a population that is often the subject of discrimination and harassment, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people can benefit from the access to information which libraries provide and the sense of community which library programs can help foster. It is important to note that the LGBTQIA+ population is diverse, spanning age groups, ethnic and racial groups, socio-economic groups, and personal identities. 

Equity of Access Issues

The Library Bill of Rights affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas and provides for access to information for all people.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender peoples’ access to libraries may be limited or prohibited by many issues, including:

  • Collections which do not present LGBTQIA+ content or perspectives. LGBTQIA+ materials can often be censored under partisan or doctrinal disapproval
  • Environments which are not welcoming or inclusive of LGBTQIA+ people and which, through actions by staff or other patrons, may be made unwelcome to LGBTQIA+ people and their families
  • Programs which do not address the LGBTQIA+ experience
  • Services which are not promoted to LGBTQIA+ populations or in collaborations with local LGBTQIA+ organizations

ALA Resources

ALA Member Group

ALA Policies