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Title:Hidden in Plain Sight: Gay and Lesbian Books in Midwestern Public Libraries, 1900���1969
Author(s):Passet, Joanne E.
Subject(s):Main Street Public Library Collections
Abstract:This essay examines the collections of five rural midwestern public libraries to assess the presence of books with gay and lesbian content in the pre-Stonewall era. It considers how reviewers writing for standard library review sources (A.L.A. Catalog, Booklist, and H. W. Wilson’s Fiction Catalog) described these works. Throughout the first six decades of the twentieth century, most gay and lesbian titles remained as closeted in the review sources as did the readers who sought them. Professional training contributed to a librarian’s willingness to consider the purchase of such titles, but larger cultural factors shaped the context in which librarians and reviewers worked. While there may have been some intentional efforts to prevent such works from being reviewed, other factors kept books from the shelves, including the privately printed nature of some works, a library’s practice of purchasing hardcover rather than paperback books, and the invisibility of gay and lesbian content to heterosexual reviewers. Thus, only the most sensational titles or the most innocuous works tended to find their way to the library’s shelves.
Issue Date:2012
Publisher:Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info:In Library Trends 60 (4) Spring 2012: 749–764
Genre:Article
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/31902
ISSN:0024-2594
DOI:10.1353/lib.2012.0010
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-11-21


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