Book review: Serving LGBTIQ Library and Archives Users

Serving LGBTIQ Library and Archives Users: Essays on Outreach, Service, Collections and Access
edited by Ellen Greenblatt

This volume is a sequel of sorts to Cal Gough and Ellen Greenblatt’s Gay and Lesbian Library Service (1990). It covers the same ground as its predecessor, updating and expanding topics, as well as introducing new ones–most notably the impact of internet technologies and access for library services and patrons. There’s a little bit of something for everyone!

The book is well organized and easy to navigate, with a good index. Unfortunately, its size and the tightness of the binding make it a little unwieldy to hold comfortably with one hand, but the text is not especially small, so it is easy to read.

Overall, I’m very impressed with the breadth and, to a lesser extent, the depth of the collection. Any anthology is going to vary in quality across its contents somewhat, but these are with one exception very readable and informative chapters and profiles. There are a few minor typographical errors, including the hilariously appropriate ‘lisbian’. (p82)

The highlight of the book for me was James LaRue’s thoughtful letter to a parent who had challenged library material. His considered response should be mandatory reading for all librarians and library students, as it clearly, rationally and unequivocally lays out the case for why his library felt the book needed to be included, while respecting the complainant’s values. Thankfully, the letter is also available to read on LaRue’s blog.


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