Western Libraries and Bellingham Pride 2017
Western Libraries’ staff, friends, and family came together in celebration of “Bellingham Pride” on Sunday, July 9. Since 2013, participating in Pride has grown into an annual tradition that many library employees look forward to and enjoy. For the past couple of years, Western Libraries has also walked in the parade and shared a festival table with members of the Bellingham Public Library and the Whatcom County Library System.
"I really do look forward to this every year," said Western Libraries staff member Amy Sedovic. "It is such a family-friendly event and a wonderful way to connect with the wider Bellingham community as a whole. And the cheers of, 'we love our libraries!' from friends and neighbors along the parade route is very hopeful and heartwarming." Sedovic explained how libraries are seen as “open, welcoming, and affirming places,” and that she feels honored to be a part of that tradition.
As explained by the American Library Association, libraries can serve LGBTQ people by ensuring that they are represented in library collections. Additionally, as a population frequently subjected to discrimination and harassment, LGBTQ people can benefit from access to information and the sense of community libraries provide.
“I was really excited that the libraries were going to table at Pride,” said Emma Winningham, who began working at Western Libraries a little under a year ago. "I knew I had to sign up to be there! It was a great opportunity to connect with our broader community and show that we can work together to support each other.”
Librarian Rebecca Marrall explained that she looks forward to the festival every year because of the chance to connect with the community and raise awareness about the Libraries’ historical and archival collections that feature regional LGBTQ narratives. A poster featuring some of these collections was on display and served as a popular conversation piece at the festival.
“The Heritage Resources poster was a big hit,” said librarian Sylvia Tag. “Lots of folks commented on the amazing history within our region and community around LGBTQ organizations, artists, and activists as displayed on the poster.”
Western Libraries anticipates increased WWU participation in the Bellingham Pride events as enthusiasm for such an important and significant celebration grows, and they invite anyone interested to join them next year.
For more information about the LGBTQ Archival and primary source materials at Western Libraries, contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.