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When was the Bi Pan Library founded?
The library began as a private collection in 2015, transitioning into an unofficial lending library in 2018, and expanding further into a public resource on Instagram and our website in 2020. You can read more about the library’s founding and mission on our About page.
How can I visit the library & how can I borrow a book?
Due to COVID-19, the collection is currently not accepting visitors, and materials are not available for borrowing at this time. When this public health crisis has resolved in the US, the library will once again be available for visitation and borrowing by private appointment.
What genres are included in the library?
The collection includes all genres of books, movies, television, periodicals, podcasts, etc, as long as they are related to bi+ experience and / or created by a bi+ person. You can read further details on our inclusion criteria page.
Do you offer individual book recommendations?
At this time the librarian does not provide individualized book recommendations for pleasure reading. However, if you are a student, teacher, activist, researcher, journalist, organization representative, etc, we would love to be of help. Please read our library services page to see the ways we can help, and get in contact!
How can I support the library?
Thank you so much for your appreciation and encouragement! You can donate a book, donate funds, or learn how to share he library’s resources on our support page.
How can I suggest material for the library?
You can recommend a book, movie, podcast, periodical, zine, or any other type of media via our media suggestion form.
How can I donate a book/etc to the library?
Has the staff read all these books?
Well, no — there are an awful lot of them — but we’ve read a healthy percentage of them, and done significant research into the rest, so we are well prepared to answer questions and recommend titles.
Why is [specific medium/art form] not included?
Without funding or full staff, the library is not able to cover all mediums at this time. Movies, television, and music are high on our list to create directory pages for in the future, but in the meantime we focus on books, podcasts, zines, and periodicals. We do however cover music, movies, and historical or pop culture figures on our Instagram, if you are interested in more audio and visual content. We also welcome friendly suggestions for future resources via our contact form.
How does the Bi Pan Library define “bisexual”, “pansexual”, etc?
The library exists to provide resources for and about all people who are attracted to more than one gender or for whom attraction has nothing to do with gender. There are many words individuals may use to describe these nuanced experiences, such as bisexual or biromantic or bi, pansexual or panromantic or pan, polysexual or polyromantic, omnisexual or omniromantic or omni, sexually fluid or fluid, queer, hetero-flexible or homo-flexible, bi-curious, multisexual, non-monosexual… and more. Many people combine labels, use different labels in different situations, exist in flux between labels, or gradually shift labels over time. The library affirms all these experiences, and is not interested in policing the use or definitions of identity terms. The shorter umbrella term bi+ is used for practical purposes to signal inclusion of all these individual experiences.
Is the library trans / nonbinary / Two Spirit / intersex inclusive?
Yes! The library welcomes work by/about trans, nonbinary, Two Spirit, and intersex people intersecting with bi+ identity. The project was begun by a genderfluid bisexual activist.
Is the library asexual & aromantic inclusive?
Yes! The library welcomes work by/about asexual and aromantic people intersecting with bi+ identity, and embraces the split attraction model.
Does the library collect books by/about historical figures who are only suspected to have been attracted to multiple genders?
Yes! However, it is important to note that the inclusion of public figures merely speculated to be attracted to multiple genders is not an attempt to “claim” them. People of many differing experiences may see themselves reflected in the same historical figure, and this is a beautiful thing. We cannot know for certain how a person from the past would have identified in modern terms, and the Bi Pan Library is not interested in definitively applying labels without consent. We include these figures because Bi+ people deserve to see symbols of their place in history, even when specific cases are uncertain. Bi+ experience was not first conceived in the 70s or the 90s; we have always been here, and it is reasonable and meaningful to recognize ourselves in people who came before us.
Does the Bi Pan Library vet books and other media for positive representation?
Not exactly. The library’s purpose is to prioritize history, research, and access to resources. Outdated, problematic, or triggering material can still be vital to the mapping of bi/pan history and can potentially be useful for activists, historians, authors, journalists, and any curious bi/pan person who is trying to find their place in the world. Knowing how our own community has failed in the past can motivate us to improve our community in the future, and realizing how people outside our community have failed us can motivate us to demand better.
In light of this, library users are encouraged to look into trigger warnings before picking up titles the library points them to, particularly fiction titles. The library does not currently have the resources to provide individualized trigger warnings or any kind of trigger database. However, our catalog pages link to the Goodreads profile for most of our books, and their review section is a great place to term-search for mentions of triggers in books. The library also recommends using the trigger warning database run by book bloggers Fadwa and Laura, and using Does The Dog Die or “parental advisory” content warnings on IMDB for film/tv.