Welcome to Lavender Menace Queer Books Archive & Blog

Visit our friendly community archive to browse our growing collection of queer books. We’re open every Tuesday and Thursday between 11am and 4pm or join us every second and fourth Sunday between 1pm and 4pm for our Sunday Social Book Café.

National Lottery Heritage Fund

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We’re thrilled to announce that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded the archive £148,250 for our three year Community Project – Space for Our Stories. We will expand our existing programme of author events, hold classes and book groups, and run a living memory project with elderly LGBT people on the way books changed their lives in earlier, more difficult times. Meanwhile we will continue to collect and conserve disappearing LGBT books. Thank you too all lottery players, who have made it possible for us to do the things we’ve talked about and hoped for since we decided to begin the archive four years ago.

Watch the official video released by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to mark the awarding of the grant.

We’re delighted to be able to welcome you to the achive where you can browse our ever-increasing collection of LGBT+ books, select from our range of exclusively commissioned merchandise by Kate Charlesworth and from a range of new titles supplied by Lighthouse Bookshop, all to help us raise funds. Or just come by for a chat and a cuppa.

We’re open every Tuesday and Thursday between 11am and 4pm or join us every second and fourth Sunday between 1pm and 4pm for our Sunday Social Book Café.

Growing a queer LGBT+ Books Archive

Logo: Lavender Menace Queer and LGBT+ Books Archive Eye

We grew out of Lavender Menace which first opened as a lesbian and gay bookshop in Edinburgh in 1982. Founded by Sigrid Nielsen and Bob Orr, the name was revived in 2019, as part of the Stonewall 50 celebrations. You can find more about us here.

We are now open as a queer events space and reading every Tuesday and Thursday between 11am and 4pm. We based in St Margaret’s House, 151 London Road, Edinburgh, EH7 6AE. Find out how to get to us and the space’s accessibility information. Come and visit us to see our collection of over 1000 titles as they gradually catalogued and shelved. We are also selling new queer books supplied by Lighthouse Bookshop and our ever expanding range of Queer Writer postcards, bookmarks and postcards. See the range available on our shopping page.

Queer LGBT+ books archive blog

We have been blogging about the books in our growing archive since May 2020. And we invite you to comment. Tell us about your queer library. And take part in readers’ conversations. None of this would have been possible when we opened the shop in the 1980s. We also post regularly on our social media.

How to get involved

We are encouraging you to record your own collection of your own queer LGBT+ books and share it with us.

And if you’re interested in volunteering with us, please do get in touch. We have a team of 12 very enthusiastic volunteers working on various projects such as cataloguing the book collection, learning about book conservation, posting on our social media and website, running bookstalls and working together to make our events so successful.

Somewhere for Us

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We have been contributing to our own pages and now a regular article in the amazing Somewhere: For Us magazine now well on to being a queer LGBT+ sensation. The articles we write reflect what it was like to run Lavender Menace and West & Wilde Bookshops in the 1980s and 1990s. We also feature reviews of books from our collection by guest reviewers.

Image: Collage of archive books and material