The Lesbrarians

Lesbrarian badges/stickers

I thought it would be fun to organize people to march under the lesbrarian banner for the Vancouver Dyke March. I’ve met so many rad lesbian, bisexual and queer women working in libraries, I thought it would be fun to so something social and a bit silly together. Also, I thought it would be good to strengthen existing professional relationships and connect new people to the information sisterhood.

I wanted it to be inclusive of all lesbrarians, whether they work in libraries, archives, or other information organizations, whether they have a formal qualification or not. Soon I was getting emails from friends “I research and write policy papers, can I come too?”, “I love libraries, can I join you?”, and “I’m a software developer, am I geeky enough to join you ladies?” A couple of men, both gay and straight, were extremely supportive and excited and wanted to come too. Traditionally the dyke march is only women, so I explained that it probably wouldn’t be appropriate.

Lesbrarian Venn diagram

I made a banner that illustrates the place where lesbian and librarian overlap. Graphic designer and artist Terra Porrier made lesbrarian badges so that we could easily identify each other. By the end of the march there were about 20 of us: public librarians, corporate librarians, academic librarians, children’s librarians, an archivist/librarian, writers, web designers, a documentary film maker, and a software developer. I met about 10 other people in the park who were sad to have missed us–some current and future library school students, as well as some women I went to school with and have worked with in the past. I had no idea they were homos!

Hot lesbrarian shushing action

(Nicole Maunsell, Anne O’Shea, Faith Jones, and me looking rather threatening)

Using Facebook to quickly gather suggestions, Anne O’Shea whipped together a booklist of lesbrarian vetted books (PDF). Annotated even. This proved to be a big hit with the sidewalk crowds. I was surprised at how keen the motorcycle cops were to get a copy. All 150 copies were gone halfway through the short march. It was good to have something to give people and it was a great conversation starter. About 20 parents asked me for booklists targeted towards elementary and secondary school kids. Maybe next year.

Next year we hope to do this bigger and better. Perhaps Lesbrarians 2010 will include some fancy book truck manouvers, a lesbrarian reference desk in the park at the festival, or large paper mache sculptures. I’d like to continue playing with the librarian sterotypes while queering and updating them a bit. After all lesbrarians are about so much more than just books.

Please get in touch if you want to join us next year. If you have more photos of us, add a link in the comments.

Photo credits: the multitlalented Sarah Leavitt

More photos by Winnifred Tovey on Picasa