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Hey Y'all!

·486 words·3 mins
Ahliah Bratzler
Librarian focused on increasing acceptance, knowledge, and support of LGBTQIA+ people.

Welcome! I bet you’re wondering, “what is a queerbrary?” It’s a portmanteau, a combination of two words to make a new, fun word! It’s also this website. Here, I’ll be writing about queer library topics — from trending topics like trans bathroom laws and J.K. Rowling’s transphobia, to theory and praxis regarding outreach to queer organizations, collection management, programming for all ages and all library types, and staff training and support. There will also be book reviews, predominantly Own Lives (though I won’t shy away from tearing apart That New Trending Book by a White Woman that Ignores Our Reality).

Yep, it’s a whole thing. And we’ll get into it all.

But who am I to talk about this? I’m a public librarian focused on active queer inclusion in libraries. I’ve made it my mission to ensure that libraries don’t just do the bare minimum when it comes to acknowledging LGBTQ+ patrons. A booth at your local Pride celebration, walking in the parade, and having a Drag Queen Story Hour are nowhere near enough to serve your queer patrons. They’re great entry points, but if they’re all you do, you’re tokenizing your LGBTQ+ population for “woke” points. As a pansexual person myself, I’ve felt excluded from libraries for decades — the books and the programs aren’t aimed at me, and the library staff were often untrained on how to answer my questions (and sometimes, in rural Indiana, downright rude and mean). I know firsthand the passive and active discrimination taking place in our libraries, and I am passionate about moving the needle towards justice.

I’m also a trained sex educator, specifically trained in holistic sex-positive education and whole life sex education, and theorganizer for Indy Pride’s young adult meetup. In these two positions, I work with young adults to create a welcoming environment where all questions are welcome and all people celebrated. These are missing from the library environment, and I want to find ways to incorporate this knowledge and experience into the library writ large.

Queer library work is useless if we don’t also look at the intersections of race, class, gender, and disability. I believe Black Lives Matter, and I believe that Black Trans Lives Matter, and that until we accept our internalized racism and work to become anti-racist, we will not be able to grow as LGBTQ+ organizers. I don’t promise I’ll always get it right. I’m a white cisgendered woman, and might make mistakes regarding race and gender. What I do promise you is that I welcome constructive criticism, and will correct myself as I grow and learn.

Stick around. We’ll have fun here.

Photo description and credit: Brightly-colored wall mural. On the left side is a speech bubble containing the phrase “Hello!”. On the right is an unidentifiable creature (could be a cat, dog, or llama, who knows) that’s sideways and has its mouth open. Photo by Artem Bryzgalov on Unsplash.