When you walk into any of the Library, Museums and Press locations across campus, we want you to feel welcome, seen and supported.
In addition to spaces like the Reflection Room and the Lactation Room that acknowledge too-often marginalized groups in academia, we are proud to support the University of Delaware’s queer community with the “Open Space” study room located on the second floor of Morris Library.
Created in partnership with the Queer and Trans Graduate Student Union (QTGSU) and UD’s Graduate Diversity Program, the Open Space is a reservable study room that has been carefully, intentionally and brightly decorated to honor and celebrate the many types of queerness.
The QTGSU outfitted the space with flags and books from the queer and feminist thrift shop and bookstore Philly Aids Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room. Inside the study room, you’ll find flags highlighting different genders and sexualities, including the bisexuality flag, non-binary flag, trans flag and more. You’ll also find queer-themed stickers and a sign that reads, “Everyone is welcome here.” The bookshelf is stocked with titles on queer history and theory. If you have a book you’d like to share, QTGSU welcomes your contribution to grow the collection.
The room and its glass walls ensure that even those who may not have occasion to use the room can see what it celebrates and recognize the space of positivity.
“If you’ve walked by the space or seen it, it’s clear that it’s a space intended for the queer community,” said Jose Falla, co-chair of QTGSU and a doctoral student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Visibility is one of the things that has catapulted all sorts of rights throughout history, so I think it’s important to have this space in the library, where a lot of people go and where it ties into the academic element on campus.”
Anthony Sigman-Lowery, co-chair of QTGSU and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, agrees on the value of the library space. “A lot of times queer students in graduate school are invisible,” he explained. “We’re not thought of necessarily in academia and class spaces. There are assumptions of the heteronormativity, and so I think having a space specifically for grad students that says, ‘Yes, queer academics are here. We exist,’ is really important.”
“The UD Library, Museums and Press is dedicated to fostering an academic environment that is accessible, flexible and inclusive in nature,” said Trevor A. Dawes, vice provost for libraries and museums and May Morris University Librarian. “We were thrilled when members of the Queer and Trans Graduate Student Union reached out to us in search of a space on campus and within Morris Library to connect and study. The Library, a boundary-spanning organization, belongs to the entire Blue Hen Community and its spaces should reflect the true diversity of our community.”
The Queer and Trans Graduate Student Union was founded in 2021 as a space for queer and questioning graduate students to come together to discuss gender and sexuality as well their lives and experiences as graduate students. The group hosts a variety of events for its members to meet and engage with one another and works to improve queer and trans life at the University.