Serving, reflecting, and welcoming
"Transgender" is an umbrella term that applies to people whose gender identity does not correspond to what society has commonly associated with birth sex. The Oak Park Public Library has created a unique collection to serve transgender people and everyone seeking information, including employers, medical providers, allies, friends, and family. Materials are available to most Illinois library cardholders.
As one of the first public libraries to offer such a collection, Oak Park continues to support a "welcoming destination for people looking for information on transgender issues," said Materials Services Librarian Bleue Benton, who was instrumental in creating the original collection.
"We created this collection out of concern that transgender people were very much an underserved population in public libraries," said Benton. "We believe that the open access environment of a public library offers the best venue for raising community awareness and understanding of gender identity issues, and for serving transgender people."
Learn more about gender identity through this brief introductory video from The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in New York.
Access to the collection
- These materials in the SWAN catalog may be borrowed by most library cardholders in Illinois.
- Selected Titles from the Transgender Resource Collection (PDF)
- LGBTQ Books for Teens (PDF)
- Celebrate and Be Who You Are (PDF)
- $200 Transgender Bookshelf
For libraries and other organizations interested in our work, be sure to visit our Library Toolkit.
Awards, recognitions, and publications
- Gordon M. Conable Award of the Public Library Association
- OPAL award from Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association (OPALGA)
- Designation as an Exemplary Project by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
- Chicago Gender Society Community Partner Award
- Wednesday Journal (PDF)
- Windy City Times
- I Love Libraries.org
- Lambda Literary
- "When Collection Development Leads to Staff Development," in Serving LGBTIQ Library and Archives Users edited by Ellen Greenblatt
- "Crossing Barriers," in Winning Grants by Pamela H. MacKellar and Stephanie K. Gerding