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You Belong @ Your Library

Sacramento Public Library
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Innovation Summary

With the “You belong @ your library” campaign, the Sacramento Public Library wanted to ensure that the GLBTQIA community knows that it offers services, materials and resources for all types of people, including those who are gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, questioning, intersex, and allies.

Innovation Leader: Jessica Zaker, Branch Supervisor, jzaker@saclibrary.org

Problem Statement

Although the library has offered some programming geared toward the GLBTQIA community in the past, the efforts have been sporadic, and not highly publicized. As this community often gets overlooked, Sacramento Public Library wanted to be sure that there is at least one safe space created to welcome all people.

Objective 1) Increase public awareness of the all inclusive nature of the library and its value to the Sacramento GLBTQIA community, including families, by promoting relevant materials, services, and resources.

Objective 2) Form lasting partnerships with community and international groups like the Lavender Library, Gay and Lesbian Center, Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, Outword magazine, GLSEN, PFLAG, HRC and others to assure members of these groups that they have a stake in their library.

Objective 3) Create a welcoming atmosphere and sense of investment in all 28 library branches for all members of the community, so everyone truly feels that “You belong @ your library”.

Innovation

Thanks to a 2012 Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant, Sacramento Public Library created a week-long suite of programs to recognize and celebrate this underserved Sacramento community to coincide with National Library Week. This message of belonging was underscored by Sacramento Public Library’s programming efforts during National Library Week. The program series was aimed mainly at adults, but several events were appropriate for teens as well. Each of these programs was designed to fit within the library’s current programming plan and promote the value of the library’s materials, services, and resources, yet adapted only slightly to have a more inclusive focus. Up to this point, Sacramento Public Library has provided only occasional programs for the GLBTQIA community, but presenting a series of targeted programming in conjunction with a comprehensive marketing campaign will ensure this community is welcomed into the library—and truly made to feel that they belong at their library. To further reinforce the message of belonging to all segments of the community “You belong @ your library” window clings were placed at each library branch and given to members of the community—particularly to partnering GLBTQIA organizations. The Library created a poster series throughout the libraries shot by a local lesbian photographer using library enthusiasts from the Vespertine Circus, Sac City Rollers roller derby team, and others to promote the “You Belong @ Your Library” message. Bus ads featuring a rainbow of library patrons and promoting the inclusiveness of the public library were also part of the campaign. There is a vibrant GLBTQIA community in Sacramento—it is time to welcome them to their library. The message of belonging is applicable to anyone in the community as Sacramento Public Library strives to serve all.

Progress

Our desired outcomes include increased attendance at GLBT programs, increased the circulation of the library’s GLBT materials and increased awareness in the community of all the library has to offer. We want to position the library in the GLBT community of Sacramento as a safe and welcoming place. We’ve made connections with local organizations like the Gay and Lesbian Center, Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, Rainbow Pages, OutWord magazine, and the Lavender Library in addition to national organizations like COLAGE, PFLAG, GLSEN, It Gets Better project, and more. We have already had significant media attention from local news outlets like the Sacramento Bee, Capital Public Radio, Sacramento News and Review and national social media outlets like Queerlandia blog, GSA Network and more. We also intend to include GLBT holidays in the regular programming calendars for Sacramento Public Library: events like Gay Pride month, National Coming Out Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance and more. Success was judged according to the number of attendees during the program series and their enjoyment of the programs. Feedback surveys were available at each event in the series. Each evaluation method will allow those who answer to provide feedback about the quality of the programming, the method by which they learned of the events, and what impact they believe the library’s GLBTQIA programming has on the value they see in the library. Evaluations will also be sent to community and national partners to determine whether or not those groups do indeed feel more welcome at the library after this programming effort. This survey will also be made available at the library’s yearly outreach presence at Sacramento’s Pride Festival. Combined results of all the feedback, polls, and surveys will be taken into account when planning future library programming for this audience.