Public library and private space: Homeless queer youth navigating information access and identity in Toronto

WALSH, Benjamin (2018) Public library and private space: Homeless queer youth navigating information access and identity in Toronto. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 114 - Metropolitan Libraries.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2144
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Public library and private space: Homeless queer youth navigating information access and identity in Toronto

This paper will examine the public library as an important space where homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, two-spirit, and/or queer youth seek shelter and information, but also as a place that challenges the endless work youth undertake to quietly pass as “not homeless.” A description of their information practice will include a discussion of their perception that public library use signifies a failure on their part and will introduce the adaptive efforts youth undertake to create or gain entry into information space that either very publicly refutes their homeless identity or very privately allows them to pass unnoticed. As public libraries in large urban areas respond to the needs of homeless youth, it is important to ask how queer members of that population can be better supported through staff training and the strategic design and/or deployment of library services and space.

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