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Trans* Collections: Background

Background

In an attempt to better diversify LSU Library's collections, the Collections Taskforce of LSU Libraries' Diversity Committee took up the project of identifying collections by and about underrepresented groups, developing a procedure for conducting gap analyses with diversity as the focus, and making suggestions for filling the gaps. This project was conducted through several phases from 2019-2021.

  • Phase 1: Literature Review
  • Phase 2: Identifying Target Collections
    • We identified several areas of potential focus: African-American Studies, Transgender Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Disability Studies.
    • We identified Library of Congress subject headings for these areas and pulled reports from Workflows of our current collections under those subject headings. Of those reports, our collections on the subject of transgender people were smallest. As such, we chose this area for our pilot project. For the purposes of this project, we chose to focus on books, periodicals, and films by and/or about transgender, non-binary, and intersex people.
  • Phase 3:  Identifying Bibliographies
    • We searched for existing core title lists, bibliographies, and book awards to compare with our existing holdings and identify gaps in our collection. Of those we found, we chose to compare with the following lists:
      • American Library Association Stonewall Awards (only focusing on the trans* titles, based on affiliated subject headings)
      • American Library Association Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Roundtable TRANScending Identities Bibliography
      • Association of College & Research Libraries Women & Gender Studies Section Transgender/Gender-Nonconforming Core Books List
  • Phase 4: Analysis
    • We identified titles owned and not owned by the Libraries from those lists and pulled ISBNs and other relevant metadata into a spreadsheet.
  • Phase 6: Faculty Feedback
    • We created a survey to solicit additional feedback and suggestions from LSU faculty, which was sent out by LSU Libraries' subject specialists in Spring 2020.
  • Phase 7: Final Steps
    • We created a link in the catalog to the items in the Libraries' collections found on the lists to allow for quick access to these materials.
    • We curated links to stream available films from these lists.
    • We prioritized the list of items from these lists that the Libraries' did not already own and sent the list to the Associate Dean of Public Services & Collections for future acquisition. Priority was given to faculty suggestions and most recent publications first.
    • We collected several Library of Congress subject headings, provided here to make all of LSU Libraries' trans* collections more discoverable.

Lists We Consulted

Librarians worldwide have pledged to amplify transgender voices and curate bibliographies that are relevant to trans communities and their allies. At the start of the project, LSU Libraries owned 137 of 322 titles from the following lists and commits to growing its trans-focused collections. It should be noted that these lists also include older books which may use language that is outdated or potentially offensive.

Faculty Survey

In order to gain insight into faculty thoughts on the importance of trans* collections, the taskforce created a short survey.  It consisted of four questions: 

  • Is this topic important to you, your research, or your discipline?
  • What courses and/or research needs would be supported by improving our collections on this topic?
  • Please list any titles (books/journals/films/etc, primary or secondary) related to the topic in your discipline and feel free to rank according to how useful/important you feel this would be for LSU Libraries’ collections. We are especially interested in more recent works, but all are useful.
  • If there are any trans* authors in your discipline whose work we should consider seeking out, please share.

The taskforce received 42 responses to this survey.

In response to the question on the topic's importance, 19 participants (approximately 42%) replied Not Important.  Of the remaining 28 respondents (57%), 14 chose 'Somewhat Important' or 'Very Important.'  10 chose 'Moderately Important' or 'Important.'

There were 27 responses to the second question ranging from a specific course to general descriptions of a course or discipline that could potentially benefit from more of this topic content, to not applicable.

Nine responses listed at least one title that would be useful to include in this collection.  Two responses listed over 10 titles.

7 respondents suggested at least one author, with 6 respondents listing multiple authors.

Suggestions

We recommend:

  • Purchasing titles found in this analysis that are not already owned by the Libraries
  • Regularly replicating these efforts to find newer works by and about transgender people
  • Repeating this project for other diversity-related topics using relevant bibliographies and awards lists and soliciting feedback from the campus community

The Taskforce

This guide was compiled by the 2020-2021 Diversity Committee Collections Taskforce. Our members are:

  • Leah Powell Duncan, Digital Collections Librarian
  • Marty Miller, Art and Design Librarian
  • Jennifer Mitchell, former Head of Archival Processing, 2019-2020 member
  • Brittany O'Neill, Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian, Chair
  • Michael Russo, Collection Analysis Librarian
  • Zach Tompkins, University Archivist

We would also like to thank Dave Comeaux and Allen LeBlanc for their help on this project.

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