UK Libraries’ Affordable Course Content Librarian Stephen Krueger is the co-editor, together with Kalani Keahi Adolpho and Krista McCracken, of a book published this summer by Library Juice Press, Trans and Gender Diverse Voices in Libraries. Composed of a wide variety of first-hand accounts, the book details the lived experiences of trans and gender diverse people currently or formerly involved in the library profession.
“The project hopes to bring awareness to issues surrounding trans inclusion in libraries, and to help trans and gender diverse people know that they are not alone,” said Krueger. “We want to start the conversation. We want people to know that we are here.”
The book contains 53 chapters from 57 authors working in academic and public libraries, special collections, and archives, along with students in library and information science (LIS) programs, and includes a chapter from UK Libraries’ Cataloging and Metadata Librarian Adrian Williams. Many of the contributors are first-time authors.
The chapters include personal reflections, anecdotes, and even poetry, and are open and unflinching in their portrayal of workplace experiences. “We wanted to provide authors with space to express themselves, and to include as many trans and gender diverse voices as possible,” said Krueger. “We felt that the best way to raise awareness and change peoples’ minds is by telling stories.”
Many of the book’s chapters are open access and may be read online for free.
The book also contains accounts of people who have been harassed and even forced out of the library profession after coming out at work.
“There’s a great risk in coming out at work,” said Krueger. “Library workers can experience hostility from boards, managers, and the public. Libraries promote themselves as open and inclusive spaces, but this is not always the case.” Highlighting the risk, ey said, is that some of the book’s contributors have foregone the benefits of having an authored publication in their field, choosing to write anonymously instead.
“This book shares the real experiences of real people to show that the needs of trans people are distinct,” ey said. From gendered restrooms to information systems that require legal names, assumptions that all users are cisgender are literally built into library environments. “There’s an institutional assumption that trans and non-binary people don’t exist,” said Krueger. “This book answers the call to say that we do.”
The literature surrounding trans people in libraries is small, and is foregrounded by Krueger’s first work, Supporting Trans People in Libraries, published by Libraries Unlimited in 2019, and eir other publications and presentations.
Krueger has compiled this literature and made it publicly accessible by developing Trans Inclusion for Libraries, an open citation index on Zotero. The index includes 114 items, a mix of scholarly publications, magazine articles, conference papers, blog posts, slide decks, and podcasts.
“Most of the literature is patron-focused, which is wonderful,” ey said. “But one of our aims in publishing this book was to show that trans and gender diverse people are working in libraries, too.”
The book’s editors and five authors will present an Association of Southeastern Research Libraries webinar on Monday, Dec. 4, discussing their chapters, their experiences related to their gender identity in library work and LIS education, and their thoughts on trans and gender diverse inclusion (and exclusion) in the library profession. A Q&A will follow the discussion, and users can find event details and registration here.
Learn more about Krueger on eir website, and listen to the editors discuss their book in this New Books Network podcast.
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