Anti-Bullying Week – what can libraries do?

Make a noise about bullying. Anti-bullying week 2015

This post is part of a series of blogs we are publishing about the role of libraries in times of crisis. Other blogs in the series include The role of libraries in times of crisis and Welcoming Refugees to the UK (and to Libraries).

Bullying – for all kinds of reasons – is rife in society, and in schools: the 2014 research from respectme, Bullying in Scotland 2014, for example, reports that:

  • “30% of children surveyed reported that they had been bullied in the last school year. Of these, 60% happened offline, 21% happened  both on and off line and 19% took place online only;
  • 92% of the children and young people reporting bullying said they knew the person bullying them (92% for offline bulling and 91% for online bullying).”

However, a major target for bullying is people who identify as (or are assumed to be) queer [1], and this is the focus for this blogpost.

Bullying of children and young people who identify as (or are assumed to be) queer

Research with young queer people reveals alarmingly high rates of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. The Youth Chances survey[2] found that 74% of young queer people had experienced name-calling, 45% had experienced harassment or threats and 23% had suffered physical assault. One respondent commented:

“In year 11, before I had come to terms with things myself, I was tricked into coming out to someone and was severely bullied, it meant that I had lots of time off school and avoided contact with other students at breaks, including eating my lunch in the toilets on my own for fear of being verbally abused by fellow students. I gave up at school at this point. I did well on my GCSEs but never fulfilled my full potential because I hated every minute of being there.” (Gay man from London, 22, METRO Youth Chances, 2014, p.8)

Ofsted inspections consider levels of prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying, and schools are required to provide records of instances of homophobic bullying. A “what works” report from the Government Equalities Office published in 2014 suggested four broad approaches to tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying:

  • “Preventative or proactive approaches focusing on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying within the whole curriculum and within the wider community.
  • Interactive, discursive and reflexive teaching by teachers or external providers that stood alone or was part of a wider ‘whole school’ approach.
  • Playground or school life approaches aimed at addressing HBT bullying language or behaviour where and as it happened in or around the school.
  • Reactive and supportive approaches focused on dealing with bullying after it had happened. Either through:
    • Recording of incidents, sanctions for the perpetrator and restorative justice after the event.
    • Supporting pupils who have been bullied and signposting young people questioning their sexual orientation or gender-identity to other resources where such support was beyond the expertise of ordinary teaching staff.” (p.18)

Introduction to Anti-Bullying Week

Anti-bullying week 2015 runs from 16-20 November.

It is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, in conjunction with a range of other organisations, such as BullyingUK, Actionwork, and Stonewall who are using their No Bystanders campaign (also via Twitter) to highlight how we should all get involved to stop bullying.

The key aims of the week are:

  • To empower children and young people to make a noise about bullying – whether it is happening to them or to someone else, face to face or online;
  • To help parents and carers have conversations with their children about bullying – both as a way of preventing bullying, and to help children who are worried about bullying;
  • To encourage ‘talking schools’ where all children and young people are given a safe space to discuss bullying and other issues that affect their lives, and are supported to report all forms of bullying;
  • To equip teachers to respond effectively when children tell them they’re being bullied; and
  • To raise awareness of the impact of bullying on children’s lives if they don’t tell anyone it’s happening – or if they are not given appropriate support – with a focus on the impact on mental health.

So what can libraries do?

A ‘whole-school’ approach must include the library, and there are a number of areas in which libraries are particularly well-placed to contribute, as we discuss below.

“Schools need to provide safe and secure environments where students are able to explore issues of sexuality and gender identity without fear of reprisals. Teenagers have enough pressures on them today without the added stress that being queer can bring and in a bullying, homophobic environment they are unlikely to learn, achieve or develop their full potential. A whole-school approach is needed with strong anti-bullying and anti-homophobia policies, as well as support strategies. The school library has an enormous role to play in this agenda by providing a safe space and a wide range of accessible resources, both of which need to be openly promoted.” Barbara Band – Immediate Past President of CILIP and Head of Library & Resources, The Emmbrook School, Berkshire

John has written elsewhere  about how badly he was bullied at school, and the respite from this that the school library offered, thanks to a sympathetic teacher-librarian – this is a really significant area of provision, but one that is frequently overlooked. Public libraries can also work to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for young queer people.

However, the research evidence suggests that school and public library provision for young queer people has historically been poor (Bridge, 2010; Chapman, 2013; Chapman and Wright, 2008; Walker, 2013). Many young people do not even consider looking for resources in the school library, either through fear or through an assumption that the library will not have anything useful (Walker, 2013)

We recently ran a workshop at the YLG/CDEG Conference in Glasgow together, “LGBTQIA* library provision for children & young people”, where the participants identified key barriers to providing library & information services for children and young people who identify as queer. These included:

  • Staff attitudes
  • Parents’ attitudes
  • Behaviour/language that goes unchallenged
  • Lack of visibility of queer library materials
  • If you identify as non-gender-conforming, how would you find our services?

We need to work hard to overcome these barriers. Here, we offer some suggestions on how school and public libraries can contribute to challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, and creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment.

  • Display posters and other information material to create a welcome for queer young people – posters such as Stonewall’s “Get over it!” series, those available from BullyingUK for Anti-Bullying Week, Northern Ireland’s “End Bullying Now!”, leaflets & posters from the Welsh Government, and, as noted above, resources from Scotland’s respectme.
  • School and public libraries often provide a safe space for queer young people, even if we never realise it (Bridge, 2010; Walker, 2013). This can be further developed by putting up a ‘safe space’ sign and ensuring that any homophobic, biphobic and transphobic behaviour or language is challenged and dealt with.
  • The Government Equalities Office report, discussed above, recommends signposting young people to appropriate websites or local support groups (p.65). This is an obvious role for the library! At the end of this blog post, we have provided a (non-exhaustive) list of websites and organisations that may be useful to young people; however, you will also wish to seek out local groups that can provide face-to-face support and community.
  • Online communities and information can be a lifeline for young queer people. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that internet filters do not block access to LGBTQ* websites. Unfortunately, filtering software (particularly keyword filtering) often blocks access to legitimate and important information sources, while failing to block those considered undesirable.
  • We also need to make sure that we source, purchase, display and signpost materials to support queer children and young people and their families. The Government Equalities Office recommends that this should include appropriate “self-help” materials for young queer people who are being bullied or who want to explore their own sexuality or gender identity (p.65). However, young queer people also have many other information needs, including fiction that reflects their lives; sexual health information; political information; queer history; and queer community information (Walker, 2013; Bridge, 2010). Displays of these materials send a positive message and help to ‘usualise’ queer people and issues, as well as helping young people to find the materials.
  • There is more about this – and recommended lists of titles – available in Liz’s previous blogpost, “Improving LGBTQ* provision in your library: why and how to do it”.
  • Remember that young people may not always wish to ask a librarian for information relating to being queer. Resources, whether online or in hard copy, should be easy to find without having to ask a staff member for help.
  • Research shows that homophobic bullying often starts from a very young age. Many LGBTQ* people become aware of their sexuality or gender identity before they reach the teenage years, and an increasing number of children are growing up in families with LGBTQ* parents. Thus, it is essential for primary schools as well as secondary schools to provide positive images of LGBTQ* people and families.
  • School libraries could also have a role to play in helping teachers – who may not necessarily be aware of queer issues – to find resources to use in making their lessons more inclusive.

For young people, being bullied is one of the severest crises they face. By intervening, as we have suggested here, libraries can again demonstrate their key role in times of crisis, offering information, support, a place to be welcome and to be oneself, and a place of safety.

Useful websites and organisations – for young people

Useful websites and organisations – for teachers and librarians

Further reading – for teachers and librarians

Sally Bridge (2010). No place on the shelves? Are Northern Ireland’s school libraries addressing the information needs of their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students? Aberystwyth: Aberystwyth University.

Elizabeth L Chapman (2013) “No more controversial than a gardening display? Provision of LGBT-related fiction to children and young people in UK public libraries.” Library Trends, 61(3), 542-568.

Elizabeth L Chapman and Caroline Wright(2008) “Provision of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans materials for young people in UK public and secondary school libraries.” In Sarah McNicol (ed.) Forbidden Fruit: the censorship of literature and information for young people. Boca Raton, Florida, BrownWalker Press.

Renée DePalma andElizabeth Atkinson (eds) (2008) Invisible boundaries: addressing sexualities equality in children’s worlds. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.

Renée DePalma andElizabeth Atkinson (eds) (2009) Interrogating heteronormativity in primary schools: The No Outsiders Project. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.

April Guasp (2012) The school report: the experiences of gay young people in Britain’s schools in 2012. London: Stonewall.

April Guasp, Gavin Ellison and Tasha Satara (2014) The teachers’ report: homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools in 2014. London: Stonewall.

LGBT Youth Scotland (2012) Life in Scotland for LGBT young people – education report.

METRO Youth Chances. (2014). Youth Chances summary of first findings: the experiences of LGBTQ young people in England.

National Union of Teachers (2014) Breaking the mould: gender stereotypes

No Outsiders Project Team (2010) Undoing homophobia in primary schools. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.

Sue Sanders andArthur Sullivan (2014) “The long shadow of Section 28 – the continuing need to challenge homophobia.” Race Equality Teaching, 32 (2), 41-45.

John Vincent (2014) LGBT People and the UK Cultural Sector: the response of libraries, museums, archives and heritage since 1950. Farnham: Ashgate.

Janine Walker (2013) Secondary school library services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) students. Sheffield: University of Sheffield.

Janine Walker and Jo Bates (2015) Developments in LGBT provision in secondary school library services since the abolition of Section 28. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. OA version available here.


Texto original retirado do site Cilip.

VINCENT, John; CHAPMAN, Elizabeth. Anti-Bullying Week – what can libraries do? Cilip: 17 nov. 2015. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 20 nov. 2015.

Publicado em Uncategorized | Deixe um comentário

Refugees Supported by Public Libraries in Europe

Due to the civil war in Syria, its people are leaving in droves and many are now refugees seeking asylum. Despite how difficult it has been for refugees to even be allowed into some countries, public libraries in Europe are on the forefront of making them feel as welcome and safe as possible. From the UK to Norway to Germany, public libraries are ensuring that refugees not only have access to information but also an environment where they can feel supported and empowered. Continuar lendo

Publicado em Uncategorized | Deixe um comentário

The Future Of Libraries Is Collaborative, Robotic, And Participatory

Libraries can survive these times of technological upheaval, but they’re going to have to change—and fast.

To look at the state of many libraries after the recession, facing cuts and closures and fundamental questions about “relevance,” you could be forgiven for being gloomy about their future. But gloomy is not the predominant tone of a terrific new report from Arup, the well-regarded design consultancy. It shows that some libraries, at least, are undergoing a “renaissance,” and that the future could be good for others.

Arup organized workshops in four cities, bringing together a range of people interested in libraries. The report collects ideas from existing projects, as well as ideas for future spaces. There are four main themes, as summarized below. Despite a lack of funding and the threat of online alternatives, “trends shaping the future of libraries have the potential to reshape and reinvigorate the role they play in public, academic and corporate settings,” the report says.

Participatory Knowledge

Libraries have always preserved knowledge. In the past, it was information in books. Now, it needs to be the stuff on DVDs, floppy disks, and zip files we’re currently losing as we change formats (so-called “Bit Rot”). “I think there’s a whole infrastructure that has to be not only created, but invented and sustained in order to make sure the knowledge that we’ve been digitizing is retained and reusable over a long period of time,” says Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, as quoted in the report.

Libraries can exploit online networks to “enable a wider audience to access otherwise hidden archives.” The Library of Congress has used Flickr to post its photo archive online, enlisting volunteers to tag the records, for instance. And libraries can look to participatory funding, like Kickstarter. Last year, Kickstarter said that it had raised $1 billion for libraries and that, between 2013 and 2014, more than 150 library-related projects had been funded on the site.

Enabling Collaboration

As well as being places for personal learning, future libraries will enable more collaborative activity, reflecting the way many organizations innovate and grow these days. “In the emerging knowledge economy, new value is created in highly collaborative environments by using immediately digestible information,” the report says. That means “spaces where meaningful interactions can take place” and more space given over to communication rather than storing books. Future libraries will employ advanced machines, like robots, to collect books and other material from underground or off-site places. The report cites the University of Chicago’s amazing “Librarian Bot” which started retrieving books in 2011.

Flickr user Travis Wise

Community Hubs

Libraries can play new roles in the community. San Francisco Central Library, for example, employs a social worker to look after the city’s large homeless population. “Homeless patrons seeking a shelter find access to information about their rights and necessary legal resources, guided by professionally trained staff,” the report says. The program has housed more than 150 formerly homeless people and allowed another 800 to get social services. “Many libraries will serve disadvantaged communities and they are central to providing equal access regardless of ethnicity, age, gender and sexuality,” the report says.

Seamless Learning

The future library is more interactive, with visitors accessing knowledge using a variety of touch-screen surfaces, augmented reality, and smart devices. “In the future, the boundaries between personal devices and the built environment will blur and physical spaces will be impregnated with new layers of information and content to be activated at users’ disposal,” the report says.

At the same time, the “walls” of libraries are set to expand beyond their physical space to encompass online resources, social media, crowdsourcing and mobile services, opening up collections and services previously hidden from view. And new organizations could act as partners for library distribution, as in the Moscow metro’s virtual library of classical Russian literature.

The big question, of course, is whether libraries will have the resources to do the things they need to do. If they can’t find alternative sources of funding, probably from the private sector, they’re going to be stuck. Crowdfunding and social lending are strong and growing possibilities, as Kickstarter has shown. But, as the report says, they may need to provide “a wider range of public and commercial services” as well.

Read the report here.

[Top Photo: Flickr user Daniel Stockman]


Texto original retirado do site Co.EXIST.

SCHILLER, Ben. The Future Of Libraries Is Collaborative, Robotic, And Participatory. Co.EXIST: 24 nov. 2015. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 24 nov. 2015.

Continuar lendo

Publicado em Uncategorized | Deixe um comentário

Campus Libraries Rethink Focus as Materials Go Digital

Sari Feldman, president of the American Library Association, sees a coming transformation of academic libraries thanks to technology. She says they are taking on greater roles in creating teaching materials and scholarship — and preserving tweets as well as books. Continuar lendo

Publicado em Uncategorized | Deixe um comentário

A New Compilation of Research From OCLC Research “The Library in the Life of the User” Published Online

The following compilation of research (226 pages) from OCLC was published today.

From the Publication Announcement:

OCLC Research has published a new compilation, The Library in the Life of the User: Engaging with People Where They Live and Learn, which represents more than a decade of collaborative work studying the information-seeking behaviors of library users.

2015-11-09_13-27-40Compiled and co-authored by Lynn Silipigni Connaway, findings from The Library in the Life of the Userarticulate the need for the design of future library services to be focused on the library user. The compilation is intended to provide a sequential overview of the findings of user behavior research for librarians, information scientists, and library and information science students and researchers as they think about new ways to provide user-centered library services.

“It is important to think of the library in the life of the user instead of the traditional model of the user in the life of the library,” according to Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, OCLC Research and Chief Strategist. The findings in these studies illustrate how some library user behaviors have changed as new technologies emerge, while other behaviors remain constant.

Among the findings:

  • People associate the library with books and do not consider the library in relation to online resources or reference services.
  • People may not think of using libraries to get their information because they do not know that the services exist, and some of the existing services are not familiar or do not fit into their workflows.
  • The context and situation of the information need often dictate how people behave and engage with technology.
  • Engagement and relationship building in both the online and physical environments is important for the development of successful and effective services.

“We have heard from our study participants time and time again that there are more convenient and familiar ways of getting information today than from the traditional library, usually discovered through a Web browser, including freely available resources, such as Wikipedia; human resources; and library resources,” said Connaway.

“We also have learned that the context of the information need influences how and why people engage with technology and make their information choices. Convenience often is the reason expressed for the choices that people make about technology, and about the information and resources they use. Convenient does not necessarily mean simple since individuals constantly are evaluating and assessing the importance and necessity of their information needs.”

“This represents a fluid and ever-changing process, which makes it difficult to identify the one perfect way to provide information and services; making the saying, one size fits none, a reality,” stated Connaway.

The Library in the Life of the User includes a collection of work completed in the OCLC Research user studies theme. It represents more than a decade of work with colleagues from The Ohio State University and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and with Jisc, in collaboration with Oxford University and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

From the Abstract Continuar lendo

Publicado em Uncategorized | Deixe um comentário

The Library’s Global Future

Even as books disappear, libraries are changing the face of international development.

Mmankgodi Community Library, Botswana.
Mmankgodi Community Library in Botswana, where the Gates Foundation has helped create library services designed to encourage small business development.

Photo by Fiona Bradley/Flickr Creative Commons

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. On Thursday, Nov. 12, Future Tense will host an event in Washington, D.C., on the future of the library. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.

Discussions of the future of libraries are often surprisingly nostalgic endeavors, producing laments for vanished card catalogs or shrinking book stacks rather than visions of what might be. Even at their most hopeful, such conversations sometimes lose track of the pragmatic functions that libraries serve. Imagined as unchanging archives, libraries become mere monuments to our analog past. But envisioning them as purely digital spaces also misses the mark, capturing neither what they can be nor the way their patrons use them.

Continuar lendo

Publicado em Uncategorized | Deixe um comentário

O bibliotecário empreendedor: pensando fora da biblioteca

Empreendedor individual

Um novo tipo de empreendedor surge no cenário nacional denominado de empreendedor individual. Uma iniciativa do governo brasileiro cujo objetivo é diminuir a informalidade na atividade empresarial, prover maior arrecadação de impostos, garantir a questão social, ou seja, uma vez formalizados passam a ter direito a auxílios como maternidade (para as mulheres), seguro saúde, aposentadoria, legalidade, possibilidade de comercialização dos produtos para instituições públicas, compras governamentais, além de contar com acesso a linhas de crédito oficiais com juros mais baixos. Continuar lendo

Publicado em Uncategorized | Deixe um comentário