LGBTQ+ Resources in the Libraries

The hours, access, and services provided by the Office of the GWS Librarian have changed due to COVID-19. Please see our Accessing the Office of the GWSL for more information.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries are committed to building a preeminent, world-class collection that documents, preserves, and celebrates LGTBQ+ histories, lives, and culture. We seek to develop unique, comprehensive LGBTQ+ collections, archives, and services that support teaching, learning, and research for diverse global audiences, from scholars to activists.

Areas of special focus include the development of:

  • LGBTQ+ collections that support the current research, scholarship, and learning of faculty and students at UW-Madison and throughout the world;
  • Existing collections of distinction, including LGBTQ+ literature and poetry;
  • Community-driven archives that document the history of LGBTQ+ individuals and related organizations in the Madison, WI, area; and
  • Collections and resources that reflect, serve, and honor the LGTBQ+ community.

Years of dedication have helped grow our collections, resources, and services. Our strengths include:

Distinctive and Notable Collections

  • The Bemis/Flaherty Collection of Poetry and Fund – This collection of and a sustaining endowment were donated to the Libraries in 1998. The collection of poetry by gay men represents nearly 1,600 authors, including poets from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and modern America. Many of the materials in the collection are limited editions of publications from small presses. The endowment has allowed the Libraries to continue to acquire materials that build upon this unique collection.
  • The James W. Jones Gay and Lesbian Literature Collection and Fund – This collection was donated to the Libraries in 2017. It includes an extensive number of mysteries and other novels with gay protagonists and themes, for which Dr. Jones had an appreciation. The sustaining endowment that accompanied this donation will allow the Libraries to process, preserve and continue to build upon Dr. Jones’ original gift.
  • Gender and Sexuality Campus Center Library – The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center Library is part of the UW Libraries system. Browse the library in the Center or online and use your WiscCard to check out books and DVDs about LGBTQ identity, life, and health.
  • German Gay Periodicals Collection – A collection of German gay and lesbian periodicals including over 200 unique titles. Most of the titles in paper are from circa 1950 to the present. Click here for a list of holdings.
  • Gay Peoples Union Collection – Presents digital copies of primary source materials documenting GPU and Milwaukee’s gay liberation movement.
  • LGBTQ+ Archives (see below)

Books and Journal Databases

The Libraries have developed a collection of LGBTQ+-related books to support teaching and learning. Books can be located by searching the Libraries’ catalog for titles, authors, or relevant keywords. Books are located throughout the UW-Madison Libraries, including The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center Library. The GSCC Library is part of the UW Libraries system. You can browse the library in the Center or online and use your WisCard to check out books and DVDs about LGBTQ+ identity, life, and health.

LGBTQ+ collection development has focused on identifying and filling existing gaps, with a focus on items by and about Black, Indigenous, and other queer people of color; transgender, and gender-nonconforming identities; and intersections of gender and sexuality with other marginalized identities. UW-Madison Libraries also offer access to thousands of monographs, journals, and databases.

The Libraries also have access to hundreds of LGBTQ+ magazines and journals from around the world, including online databases that support teaching and scholarship, such as:

  • Archives of Sexuality & Gender – Facilitates scholarly research in the area of LGBTQ+ history and activism, cultural studies, psychology, sociology, health, political science, policy studies, human rights, gender studies, and more.
  • Gender WatchA gender, women, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) issues database with thousands of English-language full-text articles from over 200 magazines, academic journals, regional publications, and newsletters.
  • LGBT Life with Full Text More than one hundred current or historically significant Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) journals, magazines, and regional newspapers, as well as more than 110 full-text monographs/books, plus indexing of additional books and periodicals.
  • LGBT Thought and CultureAn online resource hosting the key and archival documentation of LGBT political and social movements throughout the 20th century into the present day. The collection includes materials ranging from seminal texts, letters, periodicals, speeches, interviews, and ephemera covering the political evolution of gay rights to memoirs, biographies, poetry, and works of fiction that illuminate the lives of lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual individuals and the community.

UW Archives

The Madison LGBTQ+ Archive contains oral histories, personal papers, photographs, ephemera, and organizational records related to LGBTQ+ life particularly in Madison and Dane Country, from the 1940s to present day, with dedication to representing the most accurate reflection of the community. The project has received funding from the New Harvest Foundation, the George L. Mosse Program in History, and from private donors. The archive includes:

  • Oral History Interviews – Topics include Gay activism, Gay and Lesbian Issues Committee (GLIC), Gay Bars, Gay Law Students Association, Gay Liberation Movement, Gay marriage, Gay movement, Gay Purse of 1962, Gay Rights Activism.
  • Physical Archives – Local LGBT history in the form of pictures, posters, political signs, newspapers, and more. Here’s a summary.
  • Media – A multimedia project that includes memories of organizations, civic actions, cultural spaces, and fights for justice from storytellers ranging from local to national.
  • Nothing to Hide Digitization Project – With a grant from the Evjue Foundation, the Archives will undertake the digitization of 650 hours of videocassette from a long-running local television program, Nothing to Hide, which documented LGBTQ+ life and culture in Madison and beyond from 1981 to 2001.

Other Research Assistance

If you are seeking research assistance regarding LGBTQ+ topics, please contact Karla Strand. You might also find these resources useful:

If you have any questions about this guide, researching LGBTQ+ topics, or accessing resources in this area at the UW, please contact Karla Strand.