Wondering what to get a queer book lover in your life, especially one who seems to have already read every book or who’s already drowning in unread books on their shelves and doesn’t need any more? I have the PERFECT solution for you! But first a bit of backstory…
Some of you (many of you, hopefully!) know that in addition to running this website and being a public librarian, I co-coordinate an LGBTQ2IA+ library in Vancouver called Out On The Shelves. In the words of our official mission, we’re “a special, non-profit library built and cared for by volunteers, librarians, and librarians-in-training who are committed to anti-oppressive social justice work. Although we are located on UBC’s West Point Grey campus, we are not officially affiliated with UBC or its libraries.” In other words, we function very much the same way a public library does — free library cards for anyone who wants one! lots of rad stuff to borrow for free! — but we have ONLY LGBTQ2IA+ books and DVDs and are staffed by volunteers who are super knowledgeable about LBTQ2IA+ materials. Isn’t this like a library of your dreams?
The library was in some dire straits about a couple years ago when it lost its space and needed to pack up and find new real estate in the very expensive city of Vancouver. We were very fortunate to have amazing co-coordinators before my time who managed to find us a new space on UBC campus, which we are newly moved into and set up in. In the library’s previous incarnation, it relied solely on donations and wasn’t allowed to fundraise. So the collection we inherited and set up at UBC had some areas that were in desperate need of updates, particularly books by authors of colour; books by and about trans, bi, intersex, two spirit, asexual and aromantic folks; and just plain new LGBTQ2IA+ books. Many hardworking volunteers and I have already done a lot of working soliciting donations, donating our own books, and scouring used book sales in an effort to fill these gaps. But there are still so many books we don’t have that our library really isn’t complete without.
Those gaps are where YOU and your holiday (or should I say holiGay) shopping come in. We’ve organized a holiday book drive! What do we mean by that? It means you buy a book off our wishlist (or grab it off your shelf if you already own it and are willing to donate it!), give it to us and tell us who you’d like to dedicate it to, and you (and your friend or loved one) get the satisfaction of knowing queer readers in need have access to an amazing queer book! Some examples of books we’re looking for are Nevada by Imogen Binnie, Blood, Marriage, Wine, and Glitter by S. Bear Bergman, A Two-Spirit Journey by Ma-Nee Chacaby, 100 Crushes by Elisha Lim, Pantomime by Laura Lam, This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids by Kristin Russo and Danielle Owens-Reid, and so many more! We’ll be making custom book plates to put in the inside covers of each book donated so that people know who donated it / in whose name it was donated. We’re also planning a fun little “open our book presents” get together that we will film and share on social media.
If this sound interesting and worthwhile to you, please consider donating! It would mean SO MUCH to us volunteers and more importantly, our patrons. The steps to participate again are:
- Peruse our wishlist
- Buy a book from the list at your place of choice
- Mark off your purchase on the wishlist so other participants don’t buy the same book
- Drop the book off at Out On The Shelves:
- Room 2112
AMS Student Nest
6133 University Blvd,
- or mail the book to Out On The Shelves, 6133 University Blvd, Vancouver, British Columbia, Room 2103, V6T 1Z1.
- Room 2112
- To make your donation more special dedicate it to a friend or loved one with a custom bookplate!
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us which book you bought and who you’d like to dedicate it to.
And if you live in Vancouver, I would LOVE to see you in the library in person! We had a bit of a soft open in October and are planning a big launch party in January after being closed for the holidays from December 18th to January 1st. Stay tuned for info on my website for news about the launch! You should also follow Out On The Shelves on social media to stay updated: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. If you’re coming to visit in person, know that our hours are a bit variable since we have a new volunteer schedule every four months, so make sure you check our website before coming!