On the main floor of the McLaughlin Library is a display of more than 100 titles – books, graphic novels, documentaries – crossing format, genre and narrative. The variety of resources provides multiple ways for patrons to interact with the information available.
“The library is really central to the student experience,” said Meg Ecclestone, collections and content librarian for social sciences and business.
“Students want to see their stories represented and celebrated,” she said, adding that part of the library’s outreach strategy is to connect with student groups who represent diverse communities.
Pride 2023: We Are Everywhere
Gillian Manford, archival and special collections clerk, co-curated “Pride 2023: We Are Everywhere” with OUTline and the Sexual and Gender Diversity Team at U of G, who work together year-round to build and improve the library’s LGBTQ2IA+ collection.
“We wanted to focus on the trans experience, given where we are right now in terms of human rights,” Manford said of this year’s collection. “We broadened that to include works that explore race, disability and other intersections that can be forgotten sometimes.”
To that end, the collection includes writers and storytellers from across the globe: Canadians such as Samra Habib, Vivek Shraya and Indigiqueer storyteller Joshua Whitehead; and Americans Torrey Peters, Roxane Gay and Matthew Riemer, whose book title, We Are Everywhere, serves as inspiration for the Pride collection’s name.
Johnson, well-known and highly revered within the queer community, is symbolic of that intersectionality and the backlash against the corporate takeover of Pride, Manford said.
“A perfect example of what I wanted to represent,” she said. “Even within the LGBTQ2IA+ community there is diversity, and we need to be recognizing that.”
A Spotlight on Indigenous Women
“Spotlight on Indigenous Women” is a collection of work by female-identified Indigenous writers and storytellers Ecclestone curated with endorsement from Dr. Cara Wehkamp, AVP Indigenous Initiatives, and Natasha Young, manager of the Indigenous Student Centre.
Award-winning works by U of G faculty Dr. Kim Anderson, Dr. Brittany Luby and Dr. Sheri Longboat are among the dozens of selections.
“We’re lucky to have a lot of really generous Indigenous women in our own ranks,” Ecclestone said. “There is such a depth of talent there.”
What distinguishes this year’s collection is that it features works of Indigenous women who have been uniquely impacted by colonialism telling their own stories, Ecclestone said. The books selected move beyond tragic narratives and highlight the expertise, wisdom and strength of myriad First Nations, Métis and Inuit writers.
“Indigenous women have often been marginalized and overlooked in mainstream narratives, including in our own collection,” Ecclestone acknowledged. Increasing the visibility of the stories, struggles and knowledge of Indigenous women is an effort to right that imbalance, she said.
“We have a lot to learn from other people’s experiences,” Manford echoed. “Books are powerful vehicles for learning about people’s stories and building empathy.”
McLaughlin Library is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Visit the library online.