Leah Perry deposited The City and the Country: How Do Public Libraries and Specialist Information Services Differ in their LGBTQ+ Information and Service Provision in Rural versus Urban Areas of England? in the group CityLIS on Humanities Commons 11 months, 1 week ago
Public libraries, while providing a standardised general service, are often tailored to the communities they serve. This relies on the visibility and understanding of social groups within the local population. Across the country, the social, cultural, political, and historical local contexts influence the size and/or prominence of the LGBTQ+ community, and subsequently how they are served in public services. This project implemented a comparative case study research strategy to examine the differences in LGBTQ+ information and service provision between two contrasting environments: a rural Conservative area and an urban Labour area. Data collection methods comprised of a collection evaluation, interviews, desk research, and physical observation. An examination into specialist LGBTQ+ information services proffered comparison of general rural and urban approaches to LGBTQ+ service provision. The results of this study show that the urban Labour public library authority had a more extensive LGBTQ+ service than the rural Conservative public library authority, the latter having comparatively less holistic strategies which upheld the promotion and visibility of LGBTQ+ materials all year round. Broadly, rural services viewed LGBTQ+ information provision as beneficial to non-LGBTQ+ people and urban services viewed LGBTQ+ information provision primarily as for LGBTQ+ people who have historically been excluded from mainstream services. The rural population were less enthused about LGBTQ+ services offered than the urban population. This project suggests that social, cultural, political, and historical contexts are important but not exclusive factors affecting how LGBTQ+ information and service provision is viewed, actioned, and received.