"Where are all the girls who like girls?": An Exploratory Study of LGBTQ+ Information Behaviors at Two Single-Sex HBCUs, 2018

AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library Staff Publications
"Where are all the girls who like girls?": An Exploratory Study of LGBTQ+ Information Behaviors at Two Single-Sex HBCUs, 2018
de la Cruz, Justin
Winfrey, Amy
Date of Original:
Library science
United States, Georgia, Fulton County, Atlanta, 33.749, -84.38798
conference proceedings
At the Atlanta University Center (AUC), we are in a unique position to research the information behaviors of LGBTQ+ students attending single-sex Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Morehouse, established as a mens college in 1867, and Spelman, founded as a womens college in 1881, continue to consider biological sex as a criterion for enrollment, which makes being a "Morehouse Man" and a "Spelman Woman" a defining part of their students experience in higher education. With these labels ingrained into the campus culture, the question of how they affect students in the LGBTQ+ community must be answered. Conversations on the LGBTQ+ experience usually take an all-encompassing approach.The reality is that this lifestyle is not a one size fits all experience: there are innumerable segments of this community that each have their own unique issues and concerns. Libraries, both academic and public, have always sought out ways to meet the needs of their patrons, but according to Bruce Allen Carter (2013) there is a lack of research on the information needs of LGBTQ+ African American college students because the literature largely focuses on students at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). Recent student demonstrations on both campuses have confirmed the need for a more open dialogue regarding LGBTQ+ issues: one Morehouse student discussed instances of sexual assault he endured in the dormitories, while Spelman students received hate mail that spurred the creation of the #SpelSafe movement. In addition to student demonstrations,there have been recent efforts on our campuses to provide new resources for LGBTQ+ students, including a reading room (Safe Space) at Morehouse and a Pride Week at Spelman. As librarian practitioner-researchers, we are interested in researching the information needs of LGBTQ+ students on our campuses to see if the library can play a bigger role in helping them meet their educational goals.
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