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"Alltså man vill ju kunna identifiera sig": Lesbiska och queera biblioteksanvändares levda erfarenheter av folkbibliotek

Holmlund, Ida LU and Falck, Matilda LU (2016) ABMM54 20161
Division of ALM
Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences
Abstract
This master's thesis presents a qualitative analysis of nine interviews with public library users who identify as dyke, lesbian, or queer. The study focuses on the participants' lived experiences of public libraries and aim to investigate the library's role in the exploration and practice of a queer or lesbian sexual identity. In what ways does the library contribute to and/or obstruct such a practice? The material is analyzed through a theoretic framework of queer theory, using a postmodern concept of identity as something socially constructed, inconstant and flexible over time. The theoretical framework also consists of the notion of safe spaces, as conceptualized in gender studies, and the interdisciplinary concept needs.

The overall... (More)
This master's thesis presents a qualitative analysis of nine interviews with public library users who identify as dyke, lesbian, or queer. The study focuses on the participants' lived experiences of public libraries and aim to investigate the library's role in the exploration and practice of a queer or lesbian sexual identity. In what ways does the library contribute to and/or obstruct such a practice? The material is analyzed through a theoretic framework of queer theory, using a postmodern concept of identity as something socially constructed, inconstant and flexible over time. The theoretical framework also consists of the notion of safe spaces, as conceptualized in gender studies, and the interdisciplinary concept needs.

The overall conclusion is that the library has an important role in the process of exploring and practicing a queer or lesbian sexual identity. The most prominent and recurring function is explicitly connected to fiction and concerns different needs of identification. These needs – sometimes parallel and sometimes intertwined – are expressed as recognition, representation, acknowledgment, and the sense of community. During an explorative period in life the need for acknowledgment is particularly prominent, while in a more stable period, the importance of representation is emphasized. For all participants the experience of being part of a community has been crucial when it comes to the exploration and practice of their sexual identity. Also in this respect, the library has been significant. Not as a place for meetings or hangouts, but as a provider of culture. In conversations with the participants a distinct canon of common references emerges. Knowing certain books or movies and being able to refer to them is not only a way to identify with the fictional characters but also with other queer and lesbian readers. Taking part of a lesbian or queer cultural production is to be part of a community.

As for the participants' perceptions of the library's ability to contribute to or hinder the exploration and practice of their sexual identity, it is primarily dependent upon the level of accessibility and provision of this mentioned queer and lesbian cultural production. Several of the participants are experiencing difficulties in finding materials with lesbian or queer themes. In some cases, this is due to poor exposure and classification of the material, in other cases it is related to unsatisfactory meetings with librarians. Another crucial aspect is the importance of anonymity and discretion that in different periods have been important to the participants. In particularly sensitive periods the need for anonymity has been great and sometimes decisive in determining whether they have been given access to the materials they wanted. (Less)
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author
Holmlund, Ida LU and Falck, Matilda LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
”It’s like, you want to be able to relate”: Lesbian and queer library users' lived experiences of public libraries
course
ABMM54 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
recognition, representation, identification, lived experience, needs, queer theory, queer, dyke, lesbian, sexual identity, Library and information studies, public libraries, anonymity, availability, LGBTQ, folkbibliotek, biblioteks -och informationsvetenskap, sexuell identitet, queerteori, HBTQ
language
Swedish
id
8876555
date added to LUP
2016-06-09 15:19:57
date last changed
2016-06-09 15:19:57
@misc{8876555,
  abstract     = {This master's thesis presents a qualitative analysis of nine interviews with public library users who identify as dyke, lesbian, or queer. The study focuses on the participants' lived experiences of public libraries and aim to investigate the library's role in the exploration and practice of a queer or lesbian sexual identity. In what ways does the library contribute to and/or obstruct such a practice? The material is analyzed through a theoretic framework of queer theory, using a postmodern concept of identity as something socially constructed, inconstant and flexible over time. The theoretical framework also consists of the notion of safe spaces, as conceptualized in gender studies, and the interdisciplinary concept needs.

The overall conclusion is that the library has an important role in the process of exploring and practicing a queer or lesbian sexual identity. The most prominent and recurring function is explicitly connected to fiction and concerns different needs of identification. These needs – sometimes parallel and sometimes intertwined – are expressed as recognition, representation, acknowledgment, and the sense of community. During an explorative period in life the need for acknowledgment is particularly prominent, while in a more stable period, the importance of representation is emphasized. For all participants the experience of being part of a community has been crucial when it comes to the exploration and practice of their sexual identity. Also in this respect, the library has been significant. Not as a place for meetings or hangouts, but as a provider of culture. In conversations with the participants a distinct canon of common references emerges. Knowing certain books or movies and being able to refer to them is not only a way to identify with the fictional characters but also with other queer and lesbian readers. Taking part of a lesbian or queer cultural production is to be part of a community.

As for the participants' perceptions of the library's ability to contribute to or hinder the exploration and practice of their sexual identity, it is primarily dependent upon the level of accessibility and provision of this mentioned queer and lesbian cultural production. Several of the participants are experiencing difficulties in finding materials with lesbian or queer themes. In some cases, this is due to poor exposure and classification of the material, in other cases it is related to unsatisfactory meetings with librarians. Another crucial aspect is the importance of anonymity and discretion that in different periods have been important to the participants. In particularly sensitive periods the need for anonymity has been great and sometimes decisive in determining whether they have been given access to the materials they wanted.},
  author       = {Holmlund, Ida and Falck, Matilda},
  keyword      = {recognition,representation,identification,lived experience,needs,queer theory,queer,dyke,lesbian,sexual identity,Library and information studies,public libraries,anonymity,availability,LGBTQ,folkbibliotek,biblioteks -och informationsvetenskap,sexuell identitet,queerteori,HBTQ},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {"Alltså man vill ju kunna identifiera sig": Lesbiska och queera biblioteksanvändares levda erfarenheter av folkbibliotek},
  year         = {2016},
}