It’s Your Right to be You

LGBTQ in the libraries, Västerbotten, Sweden.

  • LGBTQ certification.
  • The Rainbow Library – The Rainbow Bookshelf.
  • Guide for Working with LGBTQ+ Issues in the Library.
  • Make your own campaign buttons.

It’s your right to be you – The libraries in Västerbotten County

Västerbotten County, Sweden

Västerbotten County, Sweden
There are 271,736 inhabitants in Västerbotten County.
15 municipalities

LGBTQ certification for libraries in Västerbotten, Sweden.

LGBTQ certified business in Västerbotten County

During 2022 the Västerbotten County Library are about to finish a training and development effort in LGBTQ for all the staff in the public-, school-, hospital libraries and the county library in Västerbotten.

To start a process for LGBTQ and reinforce democracy and human rights. 

The purpose of the LGBTQ certification is to begin a structured and long term work with LGBTQ, norms and equality in the library’s activities based on target group, work environment and development.

Education for the Library Staff
– Lectures and discussions about norms and LGBTQ.
– Reading books and watching movies about LGBTQ and writing rekommendations.
– An individual reflection task  about norms and treatment of visitors.
– Conversations about LGBTQ and norms.

Development in the Library
– Create an action plan for continued work with LGBTQ, norms and equality in the library. 
– Make LGBTQ visible.
– The Rainbow Bookshelf.
– Program activities with LGBTQ theme.
– Strive for a a safe welcomming space, without discrimination or intrusion.
– Collaborations with associations and organizations, with knowledge of LGBTQ and norms.
– Inventory the library’s documents and communication.
– What does our work environment look like? Is it possible to be yourself at our workplace?

The LGBTQ certification is an important support for libraries in the work with the democratic mission, human rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The library becomes LGBTQ-certified when it has undergone the entire LGBTQ certification process, which, depending on the activity, is estimated to take 4-6 months.

LGBTQ Diploma
Rainbow cake to celebrate in Åsele
Speech and congrats when Åsele library gets there diplomas

Follow-up and further work
In order to continue to support the work with LGBTQ issues in the library, regular follow-ups are carried out. In addition to this, lectures and newsletters are offered to staff who have participated in LGBTQ training. For newly hired staff, there is the completely web-based training The Second Chance. Both follow-ups and that new staff are offered The second chance is mandatory for the library to retain its LGBTQ diploma.

Collaborations with other associations and organizations, having knowledge of LGBTQ and norms, is a great idea to get quality.

Helena Gard, the public health unit, Region Västerbotten
Training LGBTQ

LGBTQ Diploma Award

On the diploma the library promise to keep a certain standard.

We are an LGBTQ-certified company. This means that we have received training in issues related to sexuality and gender identity as well as living conditions for homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender people and queers.

We strive to be an inclusive activity for everyone regardless of sexuality or gender identity and know that it means more than just being nice. Therefore, we work actively with the issues through continuing education and development work.

We think it is important that everyone’s name and pronoun are respected and that no one gets curious questions, that are not relevant. We have zero tolerance for hatred and oppression such as LGBTQ phobia and report if someone expresses themselves offensively. We apologize if we make mistakes and constantly strive to improve.

The Rainbow Library Profile products

The County Library of Västerbotten (Regionbibliotek Västerbotten) has developed LGBTQ profile products for the libraries.

Cloth bags, roll-ups, supporter flags and campaign buttons
Book marks with the text ’It’s your right to be you’ in different languages and a QR code to

Knowledge and Visibility as Armouries Against Homo- and Transphobia

Almost every library in Västerbotten, Sweden, have there own Rainbow Bookshelf and are making stands against discrimination and phobia towards LGBTQ-people.

The Rainbow Bookshelf at Umeå Public Library. Photo: Anders Magnusson

The Rainbow Book Tower is a great solution for smaller libraries. It’s a permanent media signage, to make the LGBTQ-media visible, the library at Umeå University Hospital

The Rainbow Bookshelf with LGBTQ-media, books, papers, pamphlets and films, in Public Libraries in Västerbotten. 

The Rainbow Bookshelf at Umeå Public Library is for all ages with all sorts of media, mostly in Swedish and English. The media in the shelf are duplicates and are available on regular shelves as well. Umeå Public Library started this shelf in 2012 and has inspired many other libraries to make their own.

The Rainbow Bookshelf, Åsele Public Library
Rainbow bicycle
Rainbow Bookshelf on bicycle, during Pride
Pride (In the name of love)
Rainbow Library, Västerbotten County

The Swedish Network for LGBTQ Issues at Libraries
The network started 2012 and will work to raise the libraries LGBTQ competence. This is part of our assignment to work for human rights and against prejudices and discrimination.

In 2021 the network produced a guide for working with LGBTQ+ Issues in the library. It is free to download.

You have the right to be you – Pins in different language

Arabic (masculine and feminine)
Northern Sami
South Sami

It’s your right to be you – Pins in 16 languages.

Contact information
Christer Edeholt
Library adviser
Regional library Västerbotten

In front of The Rainbow Bookshelf, Umeå Public Library.