Policies and Practices for LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Libraries: What Trustees Need to Know

Thursday, August 19, 2021, 12:00 pm Eastern

Libraries striving to be LGBTQIA+ inclusive deal with a pervasive fear of pushback and challenges. Oftentimes, discussions held with colleagues and community members about inclusive libraries result in tense conversations focused on what cannot be done in any given library setting, versus the proactive steps we want to take. For those committed to making their libraries more inclusive, it can be frustrating to focus on constraints rather than possibilities. To uphold our commitment to inclusion, Boards of Trustees and library administrators must work together actively to make LGBTQIA+ identities and issues more visible in our libraries and be prepared to defend not only our collections from challenges and censorship, but also our practices, policies and programs.

Much of the work in developing inclusive libraries must happen at the board level through the development of library policies and procedures. LGBTQIA+ people, especially children, youth, and the children of LGBTQIA+ adults, quickly notice the impact of policies and procedures on the library. They may use their perception of this impact to judge you and your library as a space that is safe (or not safe) for them.

The great news about LGBTQIA+ inclusive policies, systems, rules, and spaces, is that they adhere to the principles of universal design and will contribute toward making your library more inclusive for everyone, regardless of their identity. In session we will explore:

-The policies and procedures that serve as the necessary foundation for creating an LGBTQIA+ positive culture in your library

-The different kinds of protests and pushback that could potentially occur in your library (both from inside and outside the institution)

-Different strategies for preparing and dealing with challenges to materials, programming, and practices.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Be able to evaluate their own library's policies and procedures critically to promote greater inclusion of LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities
  • Be able to anticipate the kinds of pushback and protest they may encounter when working for greater LGBTQIA+ inclusion and employ effective strategies for preparing and dealing with challenges.
  • Learn to recognize and overcome the roles that fear and self-censorship play in hindering LGBTQIA+ inclusive programs and practices, both among library staff and boards.


David Paige
Libraries Unlimited

Dr. Lucy Santos Green
University of South Carolina

Dr. Vanessa Kitzie
University of South Carolina

Dr. Jenna Spiering
University of South Carolina

Julia Erlanger
Sacramento Public Library


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