Spectrum Center donates books to public library

By BYNUM GUSTAFSON,

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But with the number of books recently donated to the Hattiesburg Public Library, The Spectrum Center hopes to paint a clearer picture of the LGBTQ+ community for everyone.

Recently, The Spectrum Center expanded the Hattiesburg Public Library’s catalog by introducing a wide array of literature regarding LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and other) topics with hopes to give the general public a better understanding of and normalizing the LGBTQ+ community.

“We donated these books because libraries have a hard time keeping books related to LGBT topics, and people are often afraid to check out these books for fear of being stigmatized by library staff,” said Taylor Vines, one of many who works to better The Spectrum Center. “Having these books in the library means 

that our local library is committed to serving everyone in its community: including LGBTQ+ folks.”

Some of the books donated include: "Stonewall" by David Carter, "Dispatches from Lesbian America" by Cheela Romain Smith, "The Disappearing L" by Bonnie Morris, and "When Sex Changed" by Layne Parish Craig and "Men Like That" by John Howard – a series of interviews with gay and bisexual men in Mississippi.

What began as a group of LGBTQ+ people and their friends in 2014, The Spectrum Center has now grown to be a prominent resource and advocate for any and all LGBTQ+ members of community, not only in Hattiesburg, but across the whole state.

“As of today, we are still the only LGBTQ+ community center in the state to actually have a building,” said Vines.

The Spectrum’s generous donation  coincided with a prominent time of celebration and pride in the LGBTQ+ community.

Though many may not be aware, for decades, June has been officially declared as “LGBQ+ Pride Month” across the globe. The month was eventually chosen so as to commemorate the New York City Stonewall Riots that took place in June 1969.

Since then, organizations have been working to better educate their communities by spreading awareness through different events throughout the month. The Spectrum Center will be joining in the festivities by putting on four more events to finish out the month.

Other than the pride month merriment, The Spectrum Center also offers other services year round, including but not exclusively: free monthly HIV testing on the last Monday of each month, support groups for transgender and gender non-conforming people on the first Monday of each month and various other social functions and support groups.

“The Spectrum Center is always looking for volunteers and ideas for monthly programming or special events,” said Vines. “If anyone wants to volunteer or offer their ideas, we encourage them to fill out our volunteer forms on our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.”

The Spectrum Center is located on South 25th Avenue, right behind Walgreens and Planet Fitness. For more information on The Spectrum Center or volunteering, you can visit their Facebook or Twitter page