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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rainbow Flags and Donor Tags: Queer Materials at the Pride Library


Located at Western University’s D.B. Weldon Library in London, Ontario, Canada, the Pride Library is a grassroots information organization serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community (LGBTQ). While the Pride Library is currently housed at Western University and has received some financial support from the institution in the past, the Pride Library remains a primarily autonomous, community-run organization. This paper explores how the Pride Library’s mandate as a grassroots, LGBTQ information organization enables a unique approach to information materials object care and organization, acquisitions policies and donor relationships. Library and Information Science (LIS) literature addresses the information seeking activities of LGBTQ-identified individuals and their needs within mainstream libraries as opposed to considering LGBTQ information activities undertaken in grassroots autonomous settings. Queer theory’s continuing interest in archives provides a framework for understanding LGBTQ information activities within grassroots organizational settings, however, the Pride Library case study provides an opportunity to include distinctly library-based activities within these frameworks. In order to articulate the queer information activities at the Pride Library the author conducted an ethnography from January to April 2011. The findings reveal that the Pride Library not only treats its materials as informational containers, but also as aesthetic, symbolic and affective artifacts.

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