Building Belonging: Transforming Library Services and Spaces for LGBTIQA+ Inclusivity and Diversity at Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Libraries are at the heart of knowledge and learning within educational institutions, embodying principles of access and inclusivity. In today’s evolving academic landscape, it is essential that libraries consider their services, spaces, and practices to ensure they promote not just inclusion, but a sense of belonging for all members of the community.

This presentation will explore how the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Library services, spaces, and staff profile have been strategically aligned to move from inclusion to belonging, with an emphasis on strengthening diversity and inclusion (D&I) priorities specifically for the LGBTIQA+ community. One key aspect of QUT Library’s commitment to D&I is the enhancement of our collections, both physical and digital, by actively collecting and promoting resources that reflect the diverse perspectives and experiences of our university community.

This presentation will discuss QUT Library practices in collection development that have fostered diversity and inclusion. This has involved using curated online collections on LGBTIQA+ material, connecting both the physical and online resources, and initiatives to increases engagement with these recourses. Within the library spaces, the presentation will delve into practical suggestions for increasing the visibility of LGBTIQA+ works, such as utilising dedicated spaces and displays. Strategies for promoting online collections, leveraging digital screens, and partnering with student cohorts will also be discussed. The scope will additionally emphasize the importance of considering intersectional cohorts, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff who also identify as LGBTIQA+. Another focus will explore how QUT library spaces provided vibrant, welcoming, and inclusive environments.

The presentation will explore initiatives such as Queer games nights and thematic events aligned with significant dates, such as Wear It Purple Day, to create a sense of belonging within the QUT Library physical spaces. The question we aim to address is, “How do we continue to build on making our library services and spaces more inclusive?” The presentation will also consider the significance of ally networks and partner support services to drive inclusion to belonging from within the library staff profile. By creating opportunities for ally networking, this aims to cultivate a culture of inclusion and support. To sustain and expand the commitment to LGBTIQA+ inclusivity, the need for dedicated resources for activities, events, and the importance of promoting LGBTIQA+ awareness training will be addressed.

This comprehensive case study will provide an example of better practice for libraries to move beyond inclusion towards fostering a sense of belonging for all individuals, regardless of their cultural backgrounds, gender, sexuality, or disabilities. Through targeted efforts in collection development, spaces, services, and staff diversity, libraries can play an important role in creating truly inclusive and welcoming environments for everyone.

Bruce Munro

Manager, Library Service, QUT

Author Bio

Bruce Munro is currently Manager, Library Service at the Queensland University of Technology. With 19 years’ experience within academic libraries, he has held several roles at institutions in New South Wales and Queensland, with experience in and a passion for client services, supporting learning, teaching, and research excellence, collection management, professional development, and continuous improvement. Bruce has actively contributed to the sector through professional associations such as the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL), Queensland University Libraries Office of Cooperation (QULOC), and ALIA. Recent experience includes membership on the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective Governance Group, the CAUL Building Sustainable Leadership Program, Senior Leader Development and Networking Project, and past Convenor of the QULOC Workforce and Organisational Development Practitioners Group. Bruce’s ALIA contributions include being a founding member of the ALIA Sydney professional networking group in 2011, and as a member of the ALIA NLS (New Librarians Symposium) 2006 conference committee.

He was awarded the ALIA YBP/LINDSAY & Croft Research Award for Collection Services in 2006, co-authoring a paper titled “A Collection of Importance: the role of selection in academic libraries”. The paper was presented in November 2007 at RAILS4 (Research Applications, Information and Library Studies), and published in Australian Academic & Research Libraries 39(3), 2008. Bruce is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion. This can be seen through his experience as a co-facilitator for the LGBTIQA+ Ally Network training and his current membership on the QUT LGBTIQA+ Working Party and the QUT Pride Staff Network Executive Team. A key responsibility of his current role is to ensure that the QUT Library provides a safe and inclusive space for all university communities.