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Cataloging Queer Library Issues


For library and archives workers at institutions without a religious affiliation, the parallel world of Catholic librarianship may never surface. Even at Catholic academic institutions, workers in some positions may not fully realize that under the surface, a click or two away from a CFP, are entire Catholic library subject classification schemes, professional organizations, journals, #CatholicTwitter circles, and conferences that prohibit “scandalous” materials -a potentially treacherous sphere to be queer and trans. What does it mean for LGBTQ+ library and archives workers to collect, describe, preserve, and even teach with Catholic materials and collections that silence or condemn us? Is it possible to push toward justice? This lightning talk considers the positionality of maintaining (an) order to a Catholic special collection when your queerness is, according to church authorities in that collection, “intrinsically disordered.” These brief notes on Catholic library camp look at un/intentional queer and transgender iconography, transness as vocation, and how to partake in cafeteria Catholicism when you’re not Catholic but are, literally and entirely by accident, in a seminary cafeteria for a professional meeting. It also reflects on the potential, the rhetoric, and the limits of justice in the intertwined institutions of Catholicism and academia in the U.S., and why it’s important to recognize that, as artist Jonah Welch notes, “outside the church, the night is young.”


The file available for download is a PDF of the slides used in the presentation.

Link to published version