Conversation with Trans and Gender Diverse Voices in Libraries editor, Stephen G. Krueger with Aileen Thong

This is the next installment of our Author Interview Series with Library Students where prospective information professionals meet with authors to discuss the research process and engage in a deep dive on important topics of the field from concept to publication. 

Conversation with Trans and Gender Diverse Voices in Libraries editor, Stephen G. Krueger with Aileen Thong

This interview was conducted by Aileen Thong, a dual degree student studying English and American Literature at New York University and Library and Information Science at Long Island University.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Can you summarize the main concepts for this book project?

We put out a call for proposals to trans and gender diverse people who work in library and information science, to students in library and information science, or to those who no longer work within the profession, to write whatever they wanted. The goal of it is to say, “We’re here, we exist, and there are trans people who work in this profession.” A lot of it comes from looking at what’s been published on trans inclusion and library work and how almost none of it acknowledges, let alone centers, that we are in this field. This book is intended to jumpstart that conversation by saying these are the experiences trans people are currently having and have had in this profession, and you can’t ignore that. 

How did you develop the idea for this book project?

There were two driving factors. The first book in the series that it’s in from Library Juice Press is called Out Behind the Desk. It has kind of the same premise in that it’s LGBTQ+ people who work in libraries writing about their experiences on a personal level. That book demonstrated to us that we could do this project and it would be recognized by this press and this series. There’s a reason we specifically wanted to work with this publisher. It was this validation that we could do this kind of project.

The other factor was I published a book in 2019 called Supporting Trans People in Libraries that’s more of a recommended practice. It starts broad with trans 101 and then centers on specific elements of library work. In that book, I reached out to a bunch of trans librarians who I knew and invited them to say whatever they felt was important about being trans in the profession. Those different voices were essential, but they’re not the main point of that book; they’re supplementary. Based on that and seeing how much more there was to say, I wanted to do a project that was solely focused on voices. 

What is it that you intend for audiences to learn from this publication?

I’m glad you said “audiences,” because that’s something we talked about. We’ve got two main audiences. One of them is the people who need it most, who need to see themselves in the profession who simply don’t right now–other trans and gender diverse people in the field, or who want to enter the field, especially library students.

The other audience is everyone in this profession who needs to know that this is a thing, you can’t pretend that we’re not here after reading this book. Something we talked to our authors a lot about was not writing for that second audience. Each author was writing for themselves, so there are other smaller audiences throughout the book. 

Is there anything else that you’d like to add or share with Litwin readers as it relates to your publication?

This book is intended to be a demonstration of the diversity of experiences and perspectives and opinions that trans and gender diverse people have; it’s not intended to be internally consistent. Some of the authors won’t agree with each other, and that’s the point. It’s intended to show all these experiences that you need to realize exist, before you can actually start effectively doing the work of support.