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Journal cover: Reference Services Review

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Online from: 1973

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Progressive LGBTQ reference: coming out in the 21st century

Document Information:
Title:Progressive LGBTQ reference: coming out in the 21st century
Author(s):Bharat Mehra, (School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA), Donna Braquet, (University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)
Citation:Bharat Mehra, Donna Braquet, (2011) "Progressive LGBTQ reference: coming out in the 21st century", Reference Services Review, Vol. 39 Iss: 3, pp.401 - 422
Keywords:Action research, Bisexuals, Coming out, Gay, Lesbians, LGBTQ, Progressive reference, Qualitative study, Transgender, United States of America, University libraries
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00907321111161403 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present an exploratory practice-based framework that identifies strategic goals, objectives, and activities for each of the five areas of modern-day reference, namely – access to electronic resources, user instruction, library commons, outreach liaison, and virtual reference – with a focus on meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals during the coming out process.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper highlights findings for progressive reference services in the twenty-first century based on qualitative studies and action research conducted by two openly gay library and information science professionals in the University of Tennessee-Knoxville during the period 2005-2011.

Findings – Findings reveal elements of the proposed framework geared towards meeting the needs of LGBTQ patrons during the five phases of coming out – self-recognition, sharing with other LGBTQ people, telling close friends/family, positive self-identification, and integration of LGBTQ identity.

Originality/value – Minimal research has been done involving reference services for LGBTQ patrons. This paper's original value is in its extended vision of traditional reference that focused solely on information provision to a more encompassing conceptualization and implementation that designs, delivers, and assesses reference services in a community engagement context to develop fair and equitable services for LGBTQ patrons.

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