The Lavender Menace Queer Books Archive (LMQBA) digital catalogue is a labour of love from dozens of volunteers who offered their time, energy, and expertise over the past several years to record LMQBA’s rapidly expanding collection. It feels right to share with you what they think about the project and why it matters to them.
When I joined Lavender Menace I was living in Edinburgh for just over a year and I missed being involved in the queer activism that I was so passionate about in Slovenia. I thought joining as a volunteer would be a great way for me to get to know some interesting people and work with queer archive felt closer to my old home. What I got from working on the catalogue was so much more than that – beside getting to know amazing people and learning from them I got to know much more about the history of the LGBT+ movement and activism in Scotland, had amazing talks about queer authors and book and re-discovered how crucial and unique it is to have access to a queer archive. I enjoyed every minute working on the catalogue and I have so many fond memories of our group work meetings. I hope that people will be as excited to use the catalogue as it was for me to be part of building it.
Tadeja (ona / they, them)
People can use labels to make sense of their identities within society, but one of the fundamental features of queerness (in my opinion at least) is its fluidity and indefinability. This same characteristic turned out to be true of queer books, too, so figuring out a way to order and catalogue them caused a great deal of head-scratching. I think one of my favourite parts of the experience of designing a catalogue system for Lavender Menace was the openness with which our team of volunteers approached the task. Facing difficulties from choosing which categories were worth distinguishing, to figuring out the capabilities of Libib (the cataloguing system we use), to having a productive conversation over the overwhelming sound of drumming from the room next door, I have felt so lucky to work with an incredible and ever-growing group of people who continuously bring both ideas and respect to the table. I am so proud of what we have achieved and hope this catalogue only continues to evolve and grow.