Advancing the conversation: next steps for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) health sciences librarianship




Outreach, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Consumer Health, Underserved Communities


In recent years, librarians in various sectors have been moving forward a conversation on the distinct information needs and information-seeking behavior of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) patrons and how well the profession recognizes and meets those needs. Health sciences librarianship has been slower than other areas of the profession in creating an evidence base covering the needs of its LGBTQ patrons, with, until recently, only very limited literature on this subject. LGBTQ health sciences librarianship is now starting to attract new interest, with librarians working together to bring this emerging specialization to the attention of the broader professional community. In this paper, the authors report on a dedicated panel discussion that took place at the 2016 joint annual meeting of the Medical Library Association and Canadian Health Libraries Association/Association des bibliothèques de la santé du Canada in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; discuss subsequent reflections; and highlight the emerging role for health sciences librarians in providing culturally competent services to the LGBTQ population. Recommendations are also provided for establishing a tool kit for LGBTQ health sciences librarianship from which librarians can draw. We conclude by highlighting the importance of critically reflective practice in health sciences librarianship in the context of LGBTQ health information.

Author Biographies

Blake W. Hawkins, Master’s of Library and Information Science (MLIS) Graduate Student, The iSchool, University of British Columbia–Vancouver

Graduate Student, The iSchool

Martin Morris, Liaison Librarian, Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Engineering, McGill University, 809 rue Sherbrooke O, Montreal QC

Liaison Librarian, Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Engineering

Tony Nguyen, Technology and Communications Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern/Atlantic Region, University of Maryland–Baltimore

Technology and Communications Coordinator

John Siegel, Head Librarian, Libraries, Penn State University DuBois Campus, DuBois, PA

Associate Professor/Student Success Librarian, Otterheimer Library

Emily Vardell, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Management, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS

PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow, School of Information and Library Science






Special Paper