Symons and Freeman’s article details how, despite milestones such as marriage equality in the U.S., library services to LGBT patrons are inadequate. While librarians passionately promote intellectual freedom, they are still afraid to give LGBT patrons the services they need. These services include more books, both fiction and nonfiction, on LGBT issues, and making the library a space that allows LGBT patrons to feel safe and comfortable. Most importantly, the articles states, LGBT patrons don’t want to have to specifically ask for these services. And why should they? Other patrons don’t ask for the basic rights of feeling comfortable in their environment, and for access to materials that suit their needs. Libraries owe LGBT patrons these same privileges.
The article discusses how LGBT patrons are often overlooked because they make up a small percentage of the population. This argument is week. The argument tends to also add that because libraries only have so much money, it’s not logical to spend money on small populations. However, the LGBT community tends to be especially ostracized, more so than other groups that also have small populations. As Symons and Freeman (2015) state, “Children under the age of 5 represent only 6.5% of the population, but few public libraries place storytime on the chopping block” (p. 6). Ignoring a population simply because it is small in size is a poor excuse.
Libraries are supposed to be a shelter, and librarians have a history of provided services to less privileged groups. If we want to continue this tradition, it’s time to open our doors for the LGBT community.
Symons, A., & Freeman, J. (2015). Serving everyone: Welcoming the LGBT community. American Libraries, 46(6), 30.