Ottawa Trans Library

Ottawa Public Library, Rideau Branch.

Covid-19 has sidelined this aspirational project for the time being. I am, however, still adding to the collection and when we get this damn pandemic under control perhaps I’ll be able to get it out of my basement in 2021.

A library is more than just a place for learning. It is a community builder. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg observed in his book Palaces for the People that from ancient times, oppressed people – women, slaves, ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, the working class and the like – have built special places and institutions where they can assemble to make sense of and plan responses to their situation, free from surveillance by the dominant group.

As a former librarian, I don’t need to be sold on the value of libraries. I still hope when this pandemic is finally over, this project can get off the ground.

“Destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: it is sentencing it to seem as if it never lived.” (From The Library Book, by Susan Orlean.)

The aim of this project is to assemble a large collection of historical, important and not-so-important works on trans issues and people. I am interested in acquiring even transphobic titles. (Know thine enemy.) If you have a collection of trans books or periodicals gathering dust in your basement that you would consider deaccessioning (that’s a respectful term for “getting rid of”), please get in touch with me. I’ll list the complete collection on this website. It’s not a proper library catalogue, but if you are looking for a particular title, the search function will let you know if we have it. It’s also fun to browse sometimes.

Here are the catalogues for the ambitiously named Ottawa Trans Library. This does not represent all the books in the library, only those added to the catalogue thus far. Titles will be added regularly.

Library catalogue by title A to Z

Library catalogue N to Z

Library catalogue by author

Library catalogue of periodicals

Library catalogue audio-visual material