The Rainbow shelf in Nöykkiö library

Nöykkiö Library has a Rainbow shelf (Sateenkaarihylly). To this shelf we have collected LGBTQI* materials from the general library collection.

With the Rainbow shelves we want to send the message that libraries are open for all including people from the sexual and gender minorities. For years the LGBTQI materials have been a highly sought after part of our collections and now we have decided to collect some of them together as an easily located collection. At the same time, we want to lower the threshold to these materials as many customers may find it hard to approach the staff to request LGBTQI materials.

Additionally we want to give the majority population an opportunity to get a peak to a different reality. Knowledge often increases empathy and understanding.

Through their history libraries have had special collections on subjects deemed as important. The role of libraries in society is to be an open place free of discrimination and a promoter of diversity. The Rainbow shelves are our gentle and undramatic way to work against homophobia and transphobia as well as to dismantle taboos and prejudice. 

The materials collected to the Rainbow shelf are materials that already belong to our general collections. They include both fiction and nonfiction as well as comics and movies. We also aim to offer materials for all age groups - adults, youth, children, and families. The collection in the Rainbow shelf will vary depending on the materials returned to the library. To find more LGBTQI materials you can search Helmet library database with the keyword “sateenkaarihylly". You can limit the search by language from the sidebar. If a LGBTQI material that you would like to loan is not part of the library collection, you can make an acquisition request.

Also other Helmet-libraries have Rainbow shelves. The first Rainbow shelf in Finland was founded in Kallio library in the beginning of 2015. Prior to that similar shelfs had been founded in other Nordic countries.

* LGBTQI is an abbreviation of first letters names of groups of gender and sexual minorities (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans people, intersex people, queer). The abbreviation has different versions depending on which group it is referring to. Read more about the terminology: An Ally’s guide to terminology - Talking About LGBT People & Equality (GLAAD)