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Pride Month at Kitchener Public Library

Here at Kitchener Public Library we are utterly festooned with rainbows for the month of June to celebrate Pride. Case in point:

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Photo by Sonja Friedrich

Historically libraries have been an important place for LGBTQ+ individuals to find information about coming out, health, family topics and to see themselves reflected in media and books. With the emergence of the internet, the library has evolved into a community space for LGBTQ+ to meet, socialize, create and learn together. A 2017 OutLook Study carried out by the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition found that libraries are one of the places LGBTQ+ people feel safest, with 64% of cisgender people and 57% of trans people reporting they feel safe in the library. This is a huge victory for us, and we are always striving to do better.

Did you know

We offer all-gender, accessible washrooms at all KPL branches. Check out this excellent map of the locations of all the gender neutral washrooms in the Waterloo Region created by SPECTRUM.

Kitchener Public Library is happy to allow trans customers to use their chosen name on their library card. You don’t need to have ID showing the change, just let us know and we’ll update it.

On June 13 KPL held an event called Queer in KW featuring a panel discussion on what it means to be queer in KW (featuring local LGBTQ+ community members and moderated by queer-identified KPL staff), followed by performances by local LGBTQ+ artists. It was a successful, beautiful and positive event, and one which we hope to repeat!

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“If You’re Beautiful and You Know It Shout Hooray!” (photo by Barb Janicek)

 

 

 

This year Kitchener Public Library’s wonderful and creative children’s department  hosted our first (and very successful) Drag Queen Story Time with the incredible Fay Slift and Fluffy Souffle!

Stay tuned for more fabulous story hours in the future.

 

 

Whoever you are, you belong at the library, so come out, come often, and come get yourself some of these Prideful Picks from your friendly neighbourhood Lesbrarians:

 

Or check out the LGBTQ+ Content or YA-LGBTQ tags in our catalogue for more queer content.

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John Waters’ Cry-Baby : a live viewing party at Kitchener Public Library

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Photo of John Waters by Greg Gorman

For a director who has built his career and reputation on being the “King of Bad Taste,” John Waters has surprisingly good (or at least interesting) taste in people. In his book Role Models, Waters gives an expansive survey of his influences, from the good (his love of early gay icons Little Richard and Johnny Mathis), the bad (his 25-year friendship with one of the Manson family murderers) and the ugly (his school librarian telling him he would go to hell if he read Tennessee Williams).

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Amplifying Local Authors

Writing is often a solitary pursuit, and rejections from publishers, emotionally challenging content and the pressure we put on ourselves to succeed can make it a pretty tough slog at the best of times – throw in those long, dark Canadian winters and you’ve got a recipe for too much whiskey and a tear-stained manuscript. Having a community who shares your interests can really help – not only personally, but professionally and creatively.

Kitchener Public Library aims to serve as an amplifier for the creative communities that already exist within our city, and provide them with resources to connect. Over time KPL has blossomed into a space for writers to gain contacts, skills and audiences. Some of the ways we do this are:

We hope local authors think of Kitchener Public Library as a place to create, inspire and connect, and that readers come to us when they want to Read Local.

Check out these great titles from local authors

 

 


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Please read something other than To Kill a Mockingbird

Throughout the month of February we’ve been featuring books about black history, and books, movies and music created by black artists, on our website and on display in our library locations.

Our February Free Flicks included BlacKKKlansman, Sorry to Bother You, and In the Heat of the Night. And we hosted a dance workshop – thank you to our partners, the Afro-Tribal Dancers!

afro dance workshop

As the month draws to a close, we want to share some resources to support you in reading, listening to, and supporting black artists all year long, as well as a few books that may help further your thoughts and conversations about race and racism in this community and in this country.
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Let’s talk about mental wellness

bell lets talk

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day to focus on reducing stigma around mental illness, raise awareness of mental wellness, and raise funds for mental health initiatives.
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Appreciating the Freedom to Read

FTR 2016

“Freedom to read can never be taken for granted. Even in Canada, a free country by world standards, books and magazines are banned at the border. Schools and libraries are regularly asked to remove books and magazines from their shelves. Free expression on the Internet is under attack. Few of these stories make headlines, but they affect the right of Canadians to decide for themselves what they choose to read.”

~ Freedom to Read 2016

February 21 – 27 is Freedom to Read Week, and we’ve got a few things to share with you to mark the occasion.

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85 QUEEN: An Evening with Carrie Snyder

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Carrie Snyder, author of Girl Runner, with the photo of the original “girl runners” who inspired her novel.

girl runnerLast night we welcomed critically acclaimed author Carrie Snyder to the beautiful Reading Lounge at Central Library for a reading and discussion of her 2015 novel,
Girl Runner.

This was the most recent in our 85 QUEEN series, featuring critically acclaimed authors, thought-provoking films, current events, and controversial issues.

Read Girl Runner with your book club

Girl Runner follows Aganetha Smart, an athlete who captured international attention at the 1928 Olympics. Now she’s 104 years old, in a nursing home, with her racing days seemingly forgotten by everyone. It’s a story that travels back to Aganetha’s past, and the challenges women faced as athletes and in general.

The novel has been translated and published in a dozen countries, including Sweden, Poland, Spain, Turkey, and Greece.

“An extraordinary, accomplished novel of love and family: a wonderful story of a free spirit forced to make difficult choices.”  ~ Author Sarah Gruen

Carrie, a runner herself, was inspired by the Matchless Six, a group of Canadian women who participated in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Carrie’s first book of short stories, Hair Hat, was a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Award for Fiction. The Juliet Stories, a novel told through a set of linked stories, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award in 2012 and was named as a top pick of the year by the Globe and Mail. Last year, she published her first children’s book, The Candy Conspiracy.

You can learn more about Carrie on her popular blog, but be warned – you’ll either feel extremely lazy or extremely motivated after reading a few posts.

She’s a mother to four children, owner of two dogs, teacher at the University of Waterloo, a leader of writing workshops, and reads widely and diversely. She also takes beautiful photographs, plays and coaches soccer, swims, and practises yoga.

Carrie Snyder and Leslie GordonLeslie (left) and Carrie

We invited Leslie Gordon to lead the discussion with Carrie. Leslie is familiar to many of you who watched her on CTV as a health and lifestyle reporter for more than a decade. She also served as an editor at Oxygen magazine and has appeared on CNN. She’s now  known as Buff Mom, and is a certified personal trainer, life coach, entrepreneur, and mother.

We think her experience as a journalist – and as a woman who helps other women, and men, achieve their goals – made her the perfect interviewer for this evening’s discussion.

Those who attended were treated to a wide-ranging discussion about the writing process, following your passion, and making tough decisions – as Carrie had to do when she was accepted to midwifery school on the same day she sold her book for publication.

Carrie’s advice for aspiring writers? “Read the things you would like to write … and write like a writer you love to read.”

Thank you to both Carrie Snyder and Leslie Gordon for participating, to all of our attendees, and to the Canada Council for the Arts for its financial support.

Join us for our next 85 QUEEN event, A Morning with Susanna Kearsley. You’re also invited to meet Susanna Kearsley in a small, book club setting at Meet the Author Book Club.

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