Their goal is to offer an accessible and an approachable way to engage with queer literature.
Planned Parenthood NL is compiling a library of 2SLBGBTQIA+ books because it’s an important need they feel is lacking.
The library, which includes both fiction and non-fiction books, will be an accessible and consolidated collection of queer literature.
The library will include something for all ages, from children’s books and young adults, to non-fiction sexual health texts.
Nicole Boland, wellness coordinator at Planned Parenthood NL in St. John’s, says one of their main goals is to offer perspectives that are often left out of mainstream discourse.
“Without that representation, especially at a young age, you can feel really isolated, like you’re the only one experiencing (these) things,” said Boland.
Access to these books, whether fictional or non-fiction, can help lessen isolation and boost inclusion.
“Having resources like this available helps people figure themselves out a little bit more,” said Boland.
Nikki Baldwin, executive director of the Planned Parenthood NL, says the consolidation and curation of 2SLBGBTQIA+ books is important.
“We’re really excited to be able to provide another service that’s low barrier and gives people access to specific books for them,” Baldwin said. “Instead of having to search through an entire library catalog…they know that all these books are going to be applicable to them.”
Through an online database, would-be readers can browse through the library from wherever they happen to be. The centre will use a library card system similar to that of a standard library to keep things organized.
For those who aren’t within driving distance of the centre, they plan to make the books accessible via the mail.
“We do want to be accessible to everyone if possible,” said Boland.
The intended audience isn’t just those within the 2SLBGBTQIA+ community.
“If you are an ally, or if you just want more information, take our books. We want to educate and spread the word as much as possible,” said Boland.
Eventually, they hope the library will have the feel of a drop-in center where people can hang out and read a book whenever they feel like it.
Emma Craig is the regional librarian for Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries. She views the Planned Parenthood NL library as a useful resource.
“We love seeing specialized resource collections like what Planned Parenthood is doing,” said Craig. “It’s also great for us here at the library to learn about because it’s something we can direct people to.”
Craig also noted the importance of being represented in fiction
“The aspect with fiction is the idea of seeing oneself represented in the world…we’ve seen vast increases of young adult fantasy including queer characters. That has been really refreshing for people to see that representation there.”
Planned Parenthood, said Baldwin, are also accepting donations of books for the library.
“We just really wanted to create something for people who don’t always get things created for them,” said Baldwin.