Haruki Murakami once wrote, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” If you’ve ever been to a branch of the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL), you’ll know they encourage readers to explore different authors and perspectives not always seen on bestseller lists or celebrity book clubs. Their yearly Reading Challenges, events, and programs promote diversity and inclusion, and the Towson Library continues this with their new LGBTQ book club beginning March 26th.
“BCPL as a system has a goal to cultivate a connected, inclusive community,” says Rhiannon Harlow, a Towson branch librarian and organizer of the club. “If you look at the ALA website, they categorize the LGBTQ community as an underrepresented group. I didn’t see a lot of library outreach to the community, so I wanted to help fill that gap both personally and for the system.”
Right now, the Towson Library has a LGBTQ meet-up for teens where they can have a safe and inviting space to meet people. Harlow hopes the book club will achieve similar success for adults. “I hope people will get a sense of community,” says Harlow. “I hope they find a safe space to share their stories and connect with stories. Being part of the LGBTQ community, you have to search for content. It isn’t something that is always readily available. I’m hoping that people will be able to connect with other people and the stories we’re discussing.”
The book club will be on the last Tuesday of every month from 7 to 8 pm at the Towson Library (320 York Road Towson). Harlow has chosen the first three books: Time Was by Ian McDonald (March), Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala (April), and Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride (May). Harlow says that future books will be chosen based on the group’s interests. No prior sign up is required, and while attendees are encouraged to have a library card, it is not required. For more information, visit bcpl.info or call the Towson Library at 410-887-6100.
- "Brynn Devereaux is a freelance writer for Baltimore OUTloud. As an arts writer, she enjoys exploring the local arts scene and bringing attention to new books and authors. Brynn is a Scranton expat and a Towson University graduate."