LGBTQ+ Library Spotlight: Out On The Shelves Library at UBC

One of our lovely members, Casey S., has written up this profile of the newly re-opened Out On The Shelves Library up at the University of British Columbia! Thank you Casey!

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For those of you in the Vancouver area, there is very exciting news in the world of queer books: Out On The Shelves, Vancouver’s only LGBTQ2IA+ library, has just re-opened! I’m one of the co-coordinators and I couldn’t be happier and more excited and proud that my and a lot of volunteers’ hard work over the past year has resulted in our precious little library actually being open to the public again!

Some of you might remember the Out On The Shelves library from its time downtown off of Davie St in the Qmunity building. Out On The Shelves was actually founded in 1983 by a group of volunteers and it has had a long journey at different locations around the Davie St gaybourhood before its arrival at our new location on the West Point Grey UBC campus on Musqueam territory! If you frequented the old Out On The Shelves, we would love to have you back! If you’ve never heard of Out On The Shelves, we would love to sign you up for a library card for the first time! We are also always looking for volunteers to staff the library as well as other library tasks such as collection development, fundraising, social media, cataloguing, and more. No library experience required, although of course we love to have library workers and/or library students.

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It’s free for anyone to get a library card with us. Although we are located at UBC, you don’t have to be a student or staff at UBC; we’re not affiliated with the university library. We have some pretty rad LGBTQ2IA+ books, including some you can’t find anywhere else in Vancouver. We’re a great place to find an available copy of a new queer book that your local public library has a long hold list for or an older book that your local public library doesn’t carry anymore. We have a diverse range of popular fiction and non-fiction with strong collections in Canadian materials and a nice balance of older seminal books and brand new ones. We are presently focused on building our collection of underrepresented parts of LGBTQ2IA+ communities, including books by authors of colour and/or featuring bisexual, trans, two-spirit, intersex, and asexual characters and/or written by BT2IA authors. We are always accepting donations of materials and suggestions for specific items that we should have.

Check out our catalogue here to see what we have. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Stay tuned for an official grand opening and party in January 2018!

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If you know of an LGBTQ+ library or special collection, please write up a profile and submit it to either Lindsay or myself!

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2018 Rainbow Book List Nominees

Every year the Rainbow Book List Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association puts out a bibliography of “quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content, which are recommended for people from birth through eighteen years of age”. On November 1st the committee released the nominees list for the 2018 Rainbow Book List, compiled from suggestions by the public. The final list, including the committee members Top 10, will be announced in February 2018.

The goal of the Rainbow Book List is to provide youth with a list of high quality LGBTQ+ books and to aid library staff in collection development.

2018’s nominee list sees authors April Daniels, Adam Silvera, and Robin Talley each nominated twice. We also have Canadian representation in Emma Donoghue, Carrie Mac, and Sara O’Leary.

Visit the GLBT Roudtable’s website to view the full nominee list.

Where Are All The LGBTQ+ Book Subscription Boxes?

My family and I celebrate Christmas, and I like to get my gift shopping done early. As I was wandering around the internet looking for wow inducing gifts, I stumbled upon the website for Gertrude Press, a non-profit organization that publishes Gertrude, a queer literary journal. On their homepage is this image:

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Intrigued, I look a little further. The Gertie Book Club is a box of two new literary works by LGBTQ+ authors sent every three months, and there are three subscription options: The Boy Box (gay fiction only), The Girl Box (lesbian fiction only), and The Queer Box (anything goes). Other than Gertrude, Gertrude Press mainly publishes poetry and/or chapbooks, and it seems to me that that is what would mostly be in this box. I figured I’d pass, but I got thinking about other LGBTQ+ book subscription boxes and if there was one more to my liking, so back to Google I went.

Subscription boxes have become a very “in” thing, from ones for dog and cat owners, make-up enthusiasts, tea drinkers, and everything in between and outside. The other year I bought a quarterly make-up box as a Christmas gift for my sister, and currently subscribe to a bimonthly box filled with cat treats and toys. They are a fun surprise and have proven to be great gifts. I was hoping that if there was one LGBTQ+ book box out there, there must be more.

There aren’t (at least that my Google skills could find).

Sure, there are a few LGBTQ+ boxes that send sex toys, undies, and even binders for trans men, but no other book boxes. While this should not have surprised me, I was still disappointed. How can there only be one literary subscription box dedicated specifically to LGBTQ+ material and authors? How are we to create such a thing?

Book Review: “Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology”

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Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology (edited by Hope Nicholson) was suggested to me by a co-worker and I was thrilled when I heard the premise – stories that sit in the middle of a Venn diagram of science fiction, Indigenous, and queer themes. Hitting even two of the three at a time is impressive, but the stories are also mostly Canadian (!) and some are even femme-centric (!!!). There are big names like Richard Van Camp and new voices like Gwen Benaway, and all contributing authors are Indigenous.

Each story varies considerably as to how heavily sci-fi, queer, or Indigenous themed it is and I didn’t feel like any aspects were forced into the stories. I read a lot of science-fiction short stories and I find the genre, like some queer fiction, thrives in short story format because the length means some exposition has to be eradicated. Concepts like interplanetary travel or gender transition are not new things for the narrator, so the story and the characters are able to shine.

Colonization and objectification of bodies are common themes in Indigenous and queer literature, but also in science fiction. Notions of Indigenous nationhood and identity tend to be framed historically rather than in the future tense, and it was refreshing to read such explicit depictions of Indigenous characters outside of stereotypical environments. When you actually read the words of Indigenous or queer (or both!) people, there is both a universality of emotion as well as insights that you will not get with non-Indigenous or non-queer writers. Love is beyond stereotypes as well as body, space, and time.

Stand-outs for me were: Perfectly You, by David A. Robertson, Legends Are Made, Not Born, by Cherie Dimaline Néle, by Darcie Little Badger, Transitions, by Gwen Benaway, and Valediction at the Star View Motel, by Nathan Adler. I would have happily read a full length novel of Néle, and Transitions is a stand-out introduction to Gwen Benaway.

Some similar titles to seek out are: Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature (various contributors), Walking the Clouds: an anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (edited by Grace L. Dillon) and mitêwâcimowina: Indigenous Science Fiction and Speculative Storytelling (edited by Neal Mcleod)

 

Ginny Landry is Métis and Swedish, and does library work on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories in the Lower Mainland of BC.

Introducing Your New Co-Chairs!

Hello wonderful group members!

If you are subscribed to the group’s listserv you will know that there are two new Co-Chairs, Amara Charters (myself) and Lindsay Russell. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves:

18673186_10155313139451798_4603409787857854048_oAmara Charters is a queer femme born in Vancouver and currently living in New Westminster. She has worked as a Library Technician for the Vancouver Public Library since January 2015, specializing in children’s and teens services (specifically programming and reader’s advisory). Her favourite part of her job is interacting with people and helping connect them with the resources and information that they need.

In her down time, Amara likes to embroider (she even has an Etsy shop), watch Netflix, and (of course) read. Her career goal is to work primarily with kids and their caregivers in the library. She was probably a social worker in another life.

unnamedHi everyone! I’m Lindsay, one of the new co-conveners of this group. I’m a Library Technician working at the Port Moody Public Library, doing everything from shelving, to circulation, to working on the information desk. I’m also currently working on my BA in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at SFU, en route to eventually getting my MLIS.

After spending my young teen years desperately (and unsuccessfully) seeking out any LGBTQ+ books, I finally read my first YA book with a bisexual character at the ripe old age of 22 (Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith if you’re curious). That has since stoked a fiery passion for any and all LGBTQ+ books, especially YA and children’s. I am thrilled by the boom of diversity that has been happening in YA books, especially as they explore more nuanced sexualities and gender identities.

When I have any free time I like to play board games and tabletop games, watch TV shows, and lift weights.

You can find our contact information on the BCLA page for the group. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, ideas, or comments! We are both excited to work with everyone and are looking forward to coming up with and implementing ideas.

29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists

The finalists for the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards have been announced! With 23 categories and over 130 books, there is certainly something for everyone to be excited about.

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Personally, I am looking forward to getting my hands on copies of Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir  by Kai Cheng Thom, Small Beauty by jia qing wilson-yang (both nominated for Best Transgender Fiction), Im Just a Person  by Tig Notaro (nominated for Best Lesbian Memoir/Biography), and Girl Mans Up by M.E. Girard (nominated for Best LGBTQ Children‘s/Young Adult). What nominated books have you read/are excited about reading?

You can check out the whole nomination list here. The awards ceremony will be held on June 12th.