Who We Are

Out On The Shelves is a non-profit, community library built and cared for by volunteers, librarians, and librarians-in-training who are committed to anti-oppressive social justice work. Although we are located on UBC’s West Point Grey campus, we are not officially affiliated with UBC or its libraries. We are a public library, all are welcome!

Our Space

Our address is Room 2112, 6133 University BLVD, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Territory. We are located on the second floor on the Nest (the student union building) on the UBC West Point Grey campus on Musqueam territory. Our library is nestled into the Resource Groups area. To find us, take the stairs or elevator up to the second floor from the main level of the Nest. From there, head straight down the hallway directly in front of you. Watch for signs for “Resource Groups.” Near the end of the hall, a doorway for the main Resource Groups door (room 2102) will be on your right. Go through the door and then head straight down the hall to room 2112. That’s us!


Accessibility information: (Partial template used with thanks from RAMP)

  • The size of our space in total is approximately 12.5 x 25 feet. The doorway is 89cm wide, as is a space immediately after the doorway between a desk and a bookcase. The room is filled with stacks on the edges, with various distances between them, ranging from 116cm to 77cm. The width of the centre of the room between the stacks on the edges is 128cm and 190cm at different points.  Whenever the library is open it is staffed with a volunteer whose job is to assist patrons. If for any reason you cannot reach a book or DVD that you want, the volunteer is there to get it for you, no questions asked.
  • The Nest has single stall, gender neutral bathrooms available on each floor, including the second floor where we are located. Unfortunately these are not fully accessible as they don’t have push buttons. We are talking to folks to try to get this fixed! There are accessible stalls in the gender marked shared space bathrooms.
  • The Nest building is accessible for folks with mobility aids, with wheelchair accessible paths marked, no steps to enter the building from the east side, a ramp on the west side of the building, automatic doors on every side, and elevators.
  • Room signs and elevator buttons in the Nest are provided in braille; there are also audible signals in the elevator.
  • There is ample space just outside the library to park mobility scooters and walkers if you wish!
  • UBC is very accessible both by public transit and bike, and the Nest is close to the bus loop. Route numbers that go to UBC are: 4, 42, 44, 10, 17, 480, 258, 9, 25, 33, 41, 43, 49, 99, and 84. There are multiple options for bike lockups at various doorways into the Nest.
  • Unfortunately the Nest building as a whole does not have a scent policy, so we cannot guarantee the building is scent free or scent reduced. We do encourage you to come to the library scent reduced or scent free if you are able. For more info on going scent free and reducing scents, check this out.
  • Out On The Shelves is open and welcoming to children! We have a small picture book selection as well as some middle grade and YA books that we are working to expand.


Out On The Shelves aims to foster a free, accessible, and safe space for LGBT2QIA+ people and their allies to discover and share stories and resources centering on LGBT2QIA+ experiences. We understand that LGBT2QIA+ people stand at the intersection of multiple communities and identities, and we seek to empower and support them by providing access to materials that reflect their realities.


  • Accessibility: We seek to create a library space that is accessible for people of all abilities.
  • Anti-oppression and Social Justice: We are committed to a broad anti-oppression framework. We are an anti-racist, feminist, decolonizing, body-positive, and anti-ableist space.
  • Canadian content: We support LGBT2QIA+ writers, artists, and publishers producing creative work in Canada.
  • Decolonization: We acknowledge that this library operates on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam people, and we are committed to examining how our actions and systems may reproduce colonialist ways of knowing, doing as much as we possibly can to transform these practices, and supporting Indigenous writers and readers.
  • Education: We aim to provide opportunities for learning and growing to LGBT2QIA+ individuals and allies.
  • Intersectionality: We recognize and affirm the unique histories and experiences of LGBT2QIA+ people with different backgrounds and identities, including Indigenous people and people of colour.
  • Privacy: We are committed to protecting the privacy of our patrons’ information.
  • Own Voices: We believe in prioritizing the voices of LGBT2QIA+ individuals writing, creating, and reflecting their own experiences.

Our History

Out On The Shelves has been serving Vancouver’s LGBT2QIA+ community since the early 1980s. The library has taken many forms over the years, but has always been a volunteer-run organization dedicated to making queer books accessible, and celebrating queer stories.

The name Out On The Shelves was donated in 1983 by librarians Mary Murphy, Neil Richards, and Ron Jaremko of Saskatoon, who compiled  a bibliography of current gay and lesbian fiction titles “Out on the Shelves: a Gay and Lesbian Fiction List,” which was published by the Canadian Library Association (two editions) and distributed throughout Canada, the states and Britain.

The Out On The Shelves Oral History Project took place in 2016-2017 and was headed by David Gill. Its purpose is to help patrons and new volunteers understand the history of the library, especially its recent transitions.

All the materials within this project are meant for personal use only. If you would like to use any of the materials for other purposes (e.g. research) please contact the Coordinators of Out On The Shelves first.