My local library offers RSS feeds, including one of just-ordered nonfiction books. I love being able to subscribe to these and see what's being ordered.
Except when I don't: yesterday I saw that the library's ordering two copies of
Nolo's Making It Legal : A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnership and Civil Unions. Two copies. 26 libraries. Not two per library; two, period. In a major library system in a major metropolitan area. Not like gay marriage has been in the news lately or anything. We have 18 copies, for comparison, of Nolo's Patents for Beginners (product description: "Here's the primer every first-time inventor needs"), because there are nine times as many inventors in this metropolitan area as there are gay people interested in their legal rights.
But Emily, you say, Making it Legal is just one book. Surely the library has other books on gay couples' rights. Maybe they're only ordering two because the library already has plenty of resources on the topic!
True. The library system does own a copy of Nolo's 2007 A Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples.
An estimated 450,000 people (from a variety of sources with little discrepancy) attended the Twin Cities Pride Parade & Festival last year. Guess I better get my name on the holds list quick for the new Nolo.
[and yes, I have used official & proper channels before to express my dismay over the library's embarrassing # of GLBTQ-related books and to ask for more copies. A couple times. No dice. ]
One might think the public library would be ashamed at the need for the Quatrefoil Library in St. Paul, a GLBTQ resource outside of the public library system one needs to pay $35/year to use (but which has a decent selection of queer books & periodicals). I know it would be ashamed if such a library was needed for other groups represented by the Diversity Committee--it would be clear that the public library was not doing its job. We should not have to build our own libraries in order to have access to resources about our lives, ourselves, our rights. The next time someone asks me, "Why does there need to be something like Gay Pride? I don't go to a Straight Pride parade," one of my answers will be "We go to know that we exist, because our libraries tell us we don't."