Books in the Rainbow: LGBTQ Reads

Every February, librarians and library staff all over Ontario congregate in downtown Toronto for The OLA Super Conference. It’s a 4 day extravaganza of events, educational opportunities, tours, speakers and sessions on everything library, and I was lucky pride rainbokenough to attend for a day this year. One of the sessions that piqued my interest was about providing much needed library services for LGBTQ people in our communities put on by two Toronto Public Library staff. In their discussions about the various ways libraries can serve this group, the topic of acquiring and having readily available LGBTQ literature was raised.  With Guelph being a diverse city and GPL’s purpose to benefit the entire community, it got me wondering what books we have in our collection that are written by, written about, or written for, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer community. Turns out we are well stocked! In case you didn’t know we had these resources, here’s just a sampling (many of which I’ve now added to my ‘to-read’ list):

dont let me goDon’t let me go – J. H. Trumble
After his boyfriend Adam moves to New York to take an off-Broadway job, Nate struggles to understand Adam’s mixed signals, starts a controversial blog to help gay teens come out, and works at a music store, where he attracts a closeted customer.

in_one_personIn One Person – John Irving
Tells the story of Billy Abbott, a bisexual man who struggles with his identity and attraction to men, women and transgendered individuals, as the world changes around him.

sing-you-homeSing you home – Jodi Picoult
Ten years of infertility issues culminate in the destruction of music therapist Zoe Baxter’s marriage, after which she falls in love with another woman and wants to start a family, but her ex-husband, Max, stands in the way.

tipping the velvetTipping the velvet – Sarah Waters
Chronicles the adventures of Nan King, who begins life as an oyster girl in the provincial seaside town of Whitstable and whose fortunes are forever changed when she falls in love with a cross-dressing music-hall singer named Miss Kitty Butler

keeping_you_a_secretKeeping you a secret – Julie Anne Peters
As she begins a very tough last semester of high school, Holland finds herself puzzled about her future and intrigued by a transfer student who wants to start a Lesbigay club at school.

difference betweenThe difference between you and me – Madeleine George
School outsider Jesse, a lesbian, is having secret trysts with Emily, the popular student council vice president, but when they find themselves on opposite sides of a major issue and Jesse becomes more involved with a student activist, they are forced to make a difficult decision.

trans sister radioTrans-sister radio – Chris Bohjalian
When Allison Banks develops a crush on Dana Stevens, she knows that he will give her what she needs most: attention, gentleness, kindness, passion. But then a few months into their relationship, Dana tells Allison his secret: he has always been certain that he is a woman born into the wrong skin, and soon he will have a sex-change operation. Allison, overwhelmed by the depth of her passion, and finds herself unable to leave Dana.

jack holmes and his friendJack Holmes and his friend: a novel – Edmund White
Traces the decades-long friendship of Jack Holmes and Will Wright, which is marked by Jack’s secret love for Will, Will’s marriage in spite of conflicted sexual feelings, and the devastating rise of AIDS.

queer and present dangerA queer and pleasant danger: a memoir – Kate Bornstein
Presents the life of a Jewish boy who joined the Church of Scientology and left twelve years later, ultimately transitioning to a woman and becoming a civil rights activist and gender outlaw.

why be happyWhy be happy when you could be normal – Jeanette Winterson
The true story behind Winterson’s bestselling and most beloved novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit: the story of a girl adopted by Pentecostal parents, supposed to grow up to be a missionary. Instead, she falls in love with a woman.

If you’re interested in seeing what else we have to offer, check out the following subject searches in the catalogue:
lesbians – fiction
gay men – fiction
homosexuality – fiction
coming out (sexual orientation) – fiction
transsexuals – fiction
bisexuality – fiction
*If there is a book you think we should own, fill out a suggested purchase form on our website- we are always looking for recommendations from our customers!

And here are some related links of LGBTQ related libraries, publishers and bookstores:
Out on the Shelf Guelph:
A library and resource centre for the LGBTTTSIQQ communities and allies. The centre is staffed regularly so that the community can come and access books, find out about the diverse range of events, resources and services and share a queer friendly space.
Pride Library:
Acquires and provides public access to materials by and about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer community (LGBTQ). Located in the D.B. Weldon Library at the University of Western Ontario in London, ON.
Lambda Literary:
Nurtures, celebrates, and preserves LGBT literature through programs that honor excellence, promote visibility and encourage development of emerging writers.
The Publishing Triangle:
Association of lesbians and gay men in publishing. Includes related resources, list of the top 100 novels, and awards.
Golden Crown Literary Society:
A literary and educational organization for the enjoyment, discussion, and
enhancement of lesbian literature.


About gpltara

Hi blog readers! I am an information services librarian at the Guelph Public Library (which essentially means I order materials for the library, help customers, look after the book club services and plan adult programs!). Personally, I love practicing yoga, baking cupcakes late at night, reading (surprise, surprise!), and escaping to the mountains whenever possible. I believe GPL plays such an important role in the Guelph community not only helping to connect people to information and great books, but also to each other through programs and other services.
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