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Librarians of San Diego: Allies in Advocacy, a Chat with Misty Jones San Diego Public Library Director

By JP Emerson

I am the City Librarian and Director for the San Diego Library. I have been at SDPL for 12 years and started my library career in South Carolina, first at Greenville County Library and then Charleston County Library. I feel very privileged to have this position and to be able to lead such a phenomenal organization. I believe that libraries are the great equalizer, always inclusive, never exclusive, and I strive to make sure that philosophy is represented in everything we do from services to programs to policies and procedures. 

Can you tell us about the work the library does to be inclusive and a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community? 

There are a number of initiatives that SDPL has to ensure that the LGBTQ+ community feels welcome and included at the library. We have a wonderful partnership with SD PRIDE and through that partnership we have an annual Pride Library Card contest, host the Lit Café at the Pride Festival and, of course, march in the Pride Parade. We host several Pride and Drag Queen Storytime’s throughout the year and also provide access to resources such as the Archives of Sexuality and Gender and the Lambda Archives of San Diego. We prove connections to resources and other organizations, provide book recommendations and most of all, provide a supportive atmosphere where everyone is celebrated. 

What does being a community ally mean to you?

Being an ally means listening and working with the LGBTQ+ community to provide the services and resources that are needed and desired. It also means providing a safe and welcoming space where people feel accepted, heard and valued. 

You’re feeling on the San Diego Public Library being name an inaugural luminaries awardee? 

I am so excited for this award and feel it is a reflection that we are getting it right. I am really excited for the staff. The LGBTQ+ committee that has worked so hard over the years to create meaningful, impactful programming and services. 

What are hopes for the future of the LGBTQ+ community? 

I am hopeful that we will continue to build a world where everyone can live authentically and safely, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The library can play a part in this by continuing to spread the message of inclusivity, acceptance and respect.  

How can people connect with the library? 

First, I hope that everyone will use their local library, attend programs, checkout materials and use our services. You can also support us by joining the Friends of the Library and supporting the Library Foundation SD. These support of these two organizations are the reason why we can provide programs like Drag Queen Storytime, Lit Café and the Pride library cards. 

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