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The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Library display encourages education and awareness through “Queer Lit”

The collection is on view through April
Queer lit display featured in the Gannett Library. Photo: James Hymon
Queer lit display featured in the Gannett Library. Photo: James Hymon

If you’ve wandered through the library in the month, you may have noticed a new display on the left side from the entrance near the help desk.

Designed by Nicole Lawrence, assistant professor of English, the display looks to offer students an opportunity to share their classroom-based learning with the broader campus community.

“Queer literature is important because it reflects the varied experiences of LGBTQ+ people in America,” Lawrence said. “Queer literature also creates opportunities for non-queer and/or questioning readers to learn more about LGBTQ+ history, people and experiences.”

The display includes several books recommended by students that offer different perspectives of LGBTQ+ people in society, a timeline of important events pertaining to LGBTQ+ rights and experiences in America, and several collectible items such as bookmarks.

Interactive features are included, such as a virtual display people can access from their mobile devices, a Spotify playlist for anyone’s listening pleasure and a poll where people could vote on which of the featured books they’ve read.

Eli Wilson, one of the students who contributed to the display, said the interactivity is meant to entice people to learn more about this style of literature.

“The display is meant to be inviting, and having so many elements that are physical and approachable helps make people feel more welcome,” Wilson said. “There’s less of a look-don’t-touch and more of a touch-and-look.”

The purpose of the collection is to promote LGBTQ+ literature and encourage students to take it in. 

Librarian Melissa Lawson assisted in the design of the physical and virtual displays and said projects like this are important to help encourage both expression and participation in students.

“It was great to see not only myself but my colleagues as well light up with pride and excitement as they came in to put up the physical display,” Lawson said. “I am so happy that this project turned out so beautifully and it would be a huge pleasure to do this project during more semesters.”

Based on the student response, the display has been successful not just in teaching others about Queer Lit, but also in bringing the class together.

“I think we all had a great time working on this display,” student Lexi Platts said. “Through this experience, I’ve gotten to know my peers on a deeper level and expand my own knowledge on queer topics through our individual research.”

The display is set to remain in place through April and the virtual display can be accessed anytime through a QR code posted next to the collection.

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