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!


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.