Pride Library

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Pride Library
JamesinLibrary2.jpg
Interior of the Pride Library.
Type located in D.B. Weldon Library at The University of Western Ontario,
Established 1997
Collection
Items collected books, videocassettes, DVDs, slides of paintings and posters; periodicals; and community magazines.
Size 6000 items
Criteria for collection by and about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and other queer folk.
Website Pride Library Website
Pride Library history discussion on Queer Review.
Continued discussion on Pride Library.

The Pride Library is a collection of books, periodicals, and audio-visual resources by and about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and other queer folk. Located in the D.B. Weldon Library at The University of Western Ontario, the Pride Library is the first official queer resource center at a Canadian university. Since its founding in the Faculty of Arts in the late 1990s, The Pride Library has grown rapidly with the support of donors, volunteers, faculty, and administrators at The University of Western Ontario.

The Pride Library collection consists of over 6000 catalogued items: scholarly books; popular novels; videocassettes and DVDs of queer documentaries and feature films; slides of paintings and posters by queer artists; academic periodicals; and community magazines. Over 15 languages are represented in the collection. Subjects include the Gay Liberation Movement, gay and lesbian literary history, coming out, women's health and safety, homophobia, bisexuality, trans life, pornography, censorship, and same-sex marriage. Also included in the collection are early sexology works, homophobic classics, and queer pulps from the 1950s and 1960s.

Special collections include the Hudler Archives and the Burroughs Collection. The Hudler Archives is named after Richard Hudler, a local activist who served as president of the Homophile Association of London Ontario (HALO) from 1981 to 1995. The archives include the HALO community records, Hudler's personal papers, literary manuscripts, newspaper clippings, legal files, photographs documenting queer social history in London, and the catalogues of the Visual AIDS poster exhibition from 1988 through 1995. Exhibits of archival materials (Body Politic covers, HALO files, and Visual AIDS posters) can be viewed online at the library website. The William S. Burroughs Collection—Burroughs, celebrated for being both subversive and surreal, is the author of Naked Lunch (1959) and Queer (1985)—includes fictional works as well as autobiographies, essays, and interviews.

The Pride Library was founded by Professor James Miller in his office in the Tower of University College in 1997. In the summer of 2005 it was relocated on the main floor of the Weldon Library at the heart of the campus and officially reopened on February 14, 2006. Every aspect of the library was carefully designed and chosen to reflect its unique mandate and to welcome visitors into a distinctively queer space.

  • The walls are painted ‘Orchid Bouquet,’ a queer shade of The University of Western Ontario's official purple
  • Artistic depictions of historic figures (Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde) highlight the importance of queer contributions to cultural history
  • A giant Q serving as a window frame was originally a table-top on the set of the first queer television show in Ontario, The Q Files, hosted by the out lesbian broadcastor and author Irshad Manji
  • The Pride Library stained glass window in the entrance displays the Pride Library logo (a set of vertically standing books, each in a different colour of the rainbow) supported by the HALO logo in the form of a bookend. London artist Lynette Richards designed and constructed the window

Much of the Library's success is due to generous support from volunteers and donors. Volunteers offer reference services to visitors and assist in maintaining and organizing the collection. Businesses, organizations, and individuals have all helped the collection grow through donations. Notable donors include:

  • Glad Day Bookshop (Toronto)
  • Canadian Lesbian Fiction Addicts, an online community of fiction readers, writers, and publishers
  • Martin Padgett and Ken Heard, who donated queer materials from their 90 shelf metres of books
  • Nairne Holtz, a fiction writer and creator of an annotated bibliography of Canadian literature with lesbian content
  • The University Students’ Council of The University of Western Ontario
  • Mike Niederman, local collector of works by William S. Burroughs

The University of Western Ontario has been supportive in a variety of ways. A donation of $50,000 from the university administration in the spring of 2006 covered the renovation of the new space and the conversion of the catalogued books into a circulating collection. The University has also donated the space where the library is located, and included Pride materials in its online public access catalogue. In this way, resources are made accessible to students and non-students alike.

The Pride Library, Artist: Lynette Richards.

Stained Glass[edit]

The front of the D.B. Weldon Library's Pride Library at the University of Western Ontario is decorated with a beautiful stained-glass window. The window, designed and constructed by London, Ontario artist Lynette Richards, consists of the Pride Library logo amid a list of some of history's most influential homo-, bi-, and trans-sexual authors. The Pride Library logo contains a series of shelved books, coloured with the spectrum of the rainbow, supported by the logo of the now disbanded HALO (Homophile Association of London Ontario), which has made significant contributions to the Pride Library.

Names[edit]

The Pride Library stained-glass window celebrates and commemorates 135 influential gay and lesbian authors. Listed in chronological order, the names include:

External links[edit]