ALA Banned Books Week: September 18-24

Anyone who follows the news (and how can you avoid it these days?) knows that the movement to ban books is growing. September 18 – 24 is the 40th annual Banned Books Week. According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) website, Banned Books Week “celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.” The theme for Banned Books Week 2022 is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” By bringing attention to book challenges happening across the United States, Banned Books Week highlights the harms of censorship.

The ALA’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021 (available at McGill)

Book challenges occur for numerous reasons but frequent complaints are that a book is sexually explicit, contains offensive language, or is inappropriate for its intended age group. One of the most targeted books of 2021 was Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir about sexual identity, “Gender Queer.” Most of the recent book challenges target YA books with LGBTQ+ characters, according to the ALA. In their statement on the widespread efforts to censor books in U.S. schools and libraries, they write:

In recent months, a few organizations have advanced the proposition that the voices of the marginalized have no place on library shelves. To this end they have launched campaigns demanding the censorship of books and resources that mirror the lives of those who are gay, queer, or transgender, or that tell the stories of persons who are Black, Indigenous or persons of color. Falsely claiming that these works are subversive, immoral, or worse, these groups induce elected and non-elected officials to abandon constitutional principles, ignore the rule of law, and disregard individual rights to promote government censorship of library collections. Some of these groups even resort to intimidation and threats to achieve their ends, targeting the safety and livelihoods of library workers, educators, and board members who have dedicated themselves to public service, to informing our communities, and educating our youth. 

ALA strongly condemns these acts of censorship and intimidation.

“ALA Statement on Book Censorship”, American Library Association, November 29, 2021.

Historically, many books now considered classics were challenged, including school curriculum mainstays such as The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men. Book bans may seem like a uniquely American problem, but they happen in Canada too. Here is a list compiled by the CBC of 12 Canadian books that have been challenged, and where to find them at McGill. This is why Canadian libraries have their own version of Banned Books Week, the Freedom to Read Week in February.

Queer History Month – A Redpath Exhibition

The Humanities and Social Sciences Library would like to wish the McGill University Community a Happy 2021 Queer History Month. Every year in Canada, the month of October is observed as a time to reflect and learn about LGBTQ+ history and culture.  This year’s Queer History Month theme is “Coming Together”.  

For the 2021 Queer History Month, the Humanities and Social Sciences Library would like to showcase the diversity of Queer resources you have available to you for teaching, learning and research purposes both online (see online exhibit) and in physical format. Visit the Queer History Month Calendar to learn more about the various programming during the month of October. 

Under the care the Liaison Librarian for LGBTQ+ Studies, the McGill Library has been able to acquire access to valuable digital archives such as to the Archives of Human Sexuality and Gender, Alexander Street Press’ LGBT Thought and Culture, and Adam Matthew’s Defining Gender. These primary source digital archives provide you with access to historical newspapers and newspaper clippings, personal journals, photographs, magazines and more!  

Discover Queer McGill’s History 

A small search for “Gay McGill”, present day Queer McGill, in the Archives of Human Sexuality and Gender reveals numerous digitized documents that help us relive Queer McGill’s history as one of the first and most influential LGBTQ+ organizations at McGill, in Québec, and in Canada. Learn about the 1974 Gay McGill Civil Rights Public Foruman article published in The Gay Times. Rediscover the 1979, 1981 and 1988  Gai(e) Danse posters for the dances Queer McGill held on campus. Read what quite possibly might be the first mention of Queer McGill (formally Gay McGill) in the July-August edition of Body Politic (Toronto, Ontario). If you find any other interesting historical things about McGill and its Queer Community, let us know in the comments!  

Scholarly Articles Databases 

In addition to these primary source treasure troves, you will also find important databases for scholarly publications, like the Gender Watch and Gender Studies Database. These two databases provide access to journals that published scholarly articles on gender and sexuality studies.  

Physical Redpath Display 

Finally, we invite you to look at the physical display located in the main hallway of the Redpath Library Building. You’ll see a selection of novels, encyclopedia, and essays on various aspects of Queer Studies. Note that this is only a small fraction of the available print resources we have at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. If there is a specific title on display that you would like to borrow, please contact  

Living Queer Collection 

Our libraries are for everyone and open to all. We like to extend this philosophy to our collection management practices. In this spirit, if you have purchase suggestions that you believe we should add to the McGill Library, please reach out to the Liaison Librarian for LGBTQ+. Our collection is constantly growing, and the best way to strengthen it is collaboratively.  

Happy Queer History Month to all and feel free to reach out to Michael David MILLER, Liaison Librarian for LGBTQ+ Studies for any questions, comments or suggestions. 

A special thank you to our staff who helped assemble the physical and virtual displays. 

  • Vanja Lugonjic, HSSL Outreach Assistant 
  • Kristen Goodall, Library Assistant 

Joyeux mois des fiertés québécoises | Happy Québec Pride Month !

[English Follows Below]

Le Québec fête sa fierté LGBTQ+ et nous aussi ! #FiertéBiblio

L’août marque le mois des fiertés québécoises qui se déroule dans trois de nos villes du Québec :

Des ressources LGBTQ+ en masse à la biblio !

McGill University Library Pride photo 2016

En plus d’aller fêter notre fierté partout au Québec, le saviez-vous que la Bibliothèque des sciences humaines et sociales de l’Université McGill contient des ressources LGBTQ+ en masse ?

Voici quelques ressources vedettes pour commencer vos aventures dans les ressources LGBTQ+ fournies par votre bibliothèque préférée :

#FiertéLecture | Pavillon de la Bibliothèque Redpath

#FiertéLecture – exposition vivante

#FiertéLecture tout le mois d’août à la biblio (Pavillon Redpath de la bibliothèque)

Pendant le mois d’août, nous vous invitons également de venir consulter et emprunter des livres de notre exposition vivante Fierté Lecture | Pride Reading dans le pavillon Redpath de la Bibliothèque des sciences humaines et sociales à droit de l’exposition Summer Reading.

Au fur à mesure le mois d’août, je remplacerai les titres empruntés avec d’autres titres LGBTQ+ . Je vous ai également fait une  liste WorldCat avec une sélection de livres physiques, livres numériques, bases de données et films LGBTQ+ que vous pouvez également consulter et emprunter.

Si vous avez des questions, suggestions ou soucis, n’hésitez pas à me contacter, M.

Michael David MILLER (, Bibliothécaire en études LGBTQ+ à la Bibliothèque des sciences humaines et sociales.

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