Safe Zone: practical applications in the commuter-college library

If you remember from my last post, I started working on a LGBTQ libguide with a few other colleagues in the HACC system.  Luckily, I was able to attend the Safe Zone training presented at the York Campus today and gained some valuable information that can be utilized to assist our LGBTQ student/staff/faculty population across campus’.

First, we learned terminology that I THOUGHT I was totally familiar with – this was not the case.  Most noteably, I discovered that the term “Transgender” is an umbrella term, while I thought it meant someone who was transitioning from either male-to-female or female-to-male but who hadn’t gone through with the surgery yet.  ::insert obnoxious buzzer::  Wrong!

However, this got me thinking – what terms would LGBTQ students be using in their search?  I wrote down terms and added them to the libguide (which is not public yet).  I put this under the “Books” tab, but I am still mulling over the idea of placing books, articles, and more into one category.  I added a section: “Try using these terms” to help our campus population find more information on what they are looking for.

I also learned about “Central Voice” which is an LGBT paper published out of Harrisburg (available here) and that the SGA (student gov’t) is working with the “It gets better” project – all of which I am very excited about.  So, I was thinking of adding the latest edition in PDF form to the libguide so that it is also accessible online and physically.  I think that many LGBTQ students may not be comfortable carrying around the physical pamphlet, so making it accessible online would provide another avenue of access.

Since HACC York does not currently have an Allies group on campus, I was thinking that maybe the smaller satellites could work with the Harrisburg campus’ strong Allies group to coordinate events together.  Since this is a commuter campus, we should be thinking of ways to allow all students the chance to participate.

Here’s some things to try:

  • Skype meetings with Harrisburg Allies group to other HACC Campus’
  • Coordinate events such as: Campus Pride or set up a  display table at local (central PA) Pride events during the summer.  This will show that HACC is a safe place for all students and it gets us out there in the community.
  • Discuss having special topics classes offered at different campus’ on Queer Studies.  Seems out of reach, but it’s not unheard of.
  • Celebrate Pride events in the library!  Parties = People!  Bring people in, provide a safe space, gain allies, and promote library resources for LGBTQ students/staff/faculty

With a little help, we can all reach out to provide a safe space on campus for LGBTQ students.  The library plays an integral part as we are providers of information, and we need to be understanding, knowledgeable, and able to provide resources to our campus community.

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