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May 07, 2021, 08:30 PM

TRANSforming Libraries

A talk by Ellen MacInnis and Jill Rothstein
New York Public Library & New York Public Library

Speaker expertise

Ellen is a Senior Librarian in the children's department of Bronx Library center and has worked at NYPL for the past 5 years. TRANSform NYPL is an outgrowth of their interest and dedication to improving trans and gender-nonconforming library services for both patrons and staff.

TRANSform is an initiative originally facilitated by an NYPL Innovation Project grant in 2018. Its primary goal has been to raise staff competencies to better serve transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) patrons. Our first resources for both staff and patrons launched during June 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. This included an NYC-related community resource guide; a TGNC programmer’s handbook along with templates for ready-to-go programs; staff training; TGNC author visits; and an ever-expanding list of TGNC topics and authors within the NYPL collection. With the 2020 pandemic keeping library staff fully or partially at home, TRANSform dedicated more time to updating resources (this time for the 51st anniversary of Stonewall) and expanding our staff support through more trainings and TGNC-themed readers advisory presentations. As we look ahead to 2021, we are growing our community of TGNC staff and allies and working to preserve our collection materials masterlist in a more readily-accessible format.

This initiative has also given us a focus over the last several months as public librarianship as we know it has been turned on its head. Our sense of community and purpose has helped turn a challenging year into one with its own share of successes and joys. We’d like to share our story with ULU and suggest ways of duplicating what we’ve accomplished in other NYC libraries.

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