About the Collections

The James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center (the Center) is devoted to collecting, preserving, and providing access to material on all aspects of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experience. The collection is national and international in scope though its primary focus is Northern California. The Center also mounts exhibits and sponsors programs, often in collaboration with other library departments, as well as with community organizations and individuals.

Our audience is anyone seeking information about the GLBT experience. So we acquire material for the adult, teen, and children's collections as appropriate. Most of our collection is in English. There is also material in other languages, especially when it represents work that is important to have in its original language and/or it has not been translated into English. General works on GLBT topics in other languages may also be found in the International Center.

The Center actively collects materials in a variety of formats including books, periodicals and serials, directories, manuscripts, photographs, films, video- and audio- recordings (music and spoken word). Some archival collections contain other formats such as matchbooks, buttons, T-shirts, posters, bar cards, trophies and flyers.


The Center collects published fiction and non-fiction materials covering all aspects of the GLBT experience such as AIDS, women's rights, feminism, transgender issues and bisexuality. We pay particular attention to collecting materials that document the experience of people of color, the disabled, youth, the elderly, and other groups often marginalized within the GLBT community.

The Center maintains a circulating collection of GLBT titles and an

extensive reference collection of novels, poetry, and drama, as well as

GLBT-centered literary criticism, bibliographies and other guides to the literature. Pulp paperback fiction, historically important in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, is one special reference collection. The Eureka Valley Branch maintains a large circulating collection of GLBT interest materials.


Magazines and newspapers are an important source for news and events,

historical perspectives on how and what events were reported around the

world, timely cultural and literary analyses, and many other topics. The bulk of the library's holdings are in the Magazine and Newspaper Center on the Main Library's 5th floor, and a small selection of current GLBT magazines are available in the Gay and Lesbian Center. Using the library's electronic resources, you can search the SFPL Periodical Holdings to locate what we have and where it is.

Many of these titles are short-lived, irregularly produced, and/or

haphazardly distributed and most GLBT publications are not indexed.

Alternative Print Index (in paper form) has been indexing a few GLBT-related titles for some years and EbscoHost (online) indexes The Advocate, Journal of Homosexuality, and Lesbian News (with full text in some cases) but not retrospectively. Other indexing services like GenderWatch and Contemporary Women's Issues may pick-up queer-related stories but smaller and/or regional publications remain unindexed leaving a wealth of important information virtually inaccessible. Search the Library's collection of online resources by visiting SFPL eLibrary.

Audiovisual Materials

The Center's noncirculating collection of GLBT-related audiovisual formats include film, video, LPs, cassettes, and compact discs. This material is available through the San Francisco History Center on the Main Library's 6th floor. The video collection includes a broad range of films, including documentaries, feature films, shorts, and television programs depicting the GLBT community. A special emphasis is placed on films distributed by Frameline, as well as the works of Bay Area film makers This growing collection includes audiobooks (often read by the author), feature films, documentaries, and comedy and musical recordings by historical and contemporary artists. There may be circulating copies of these materials in the library's collection.

Archival Materials

The Center collects unpublished materials such as personal papers, organizational records, flyers and other important documents chronicling the history of the GLBT community in Northern California. Selected collections of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society are currently housed in the San Francisco History Center to facilitate public access and research use.

An excellent resource to assist researchers is the New York Public Library, Gay and Lesbian Studies: A Research Guide

Other Materials & Locations of Interest

You may find more materials of gay and lesbian interest in these locations:

In addition, the Gay and Lesbian Collection at the Eureka Valley Branch serves the neighborhood and the city as a circulating collection of gay and lesbian-interest materials.

Remember: If you don't find what you are looking for, ask a library staff memberfor assistance.

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