This research employs socio-cultural approaches to LIS in examining the information practices of cultural outsiders – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals. It explores how insider/outsider status is assigned within LGBTQ+ communities and its impact on members’ information practices. Chatman (1999) defines community as a “world in which ways of looking at things are in accordance with agreed-upon standards” and suggests the potential of community in fostering one’s sense of self (p. 211). However, the functions of community can also yield negative outcomes by limiting possibilities and perspectives of what constitutes legitimate information and information practices (Chatman, 1999). Along with examining the multivalent influences of community on the information practices of LGBTQ+ individuals, this research also explores implications for the social responsibility of libraries in fostering communities inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals. The study addresses the following research questions:
RQ1. What are the information practices of LGBTQ+ individuals within communities?
RQ2. How do insider/outsider dynamics affect LGBTQ+ information practices within communities?
RQ3. Based on the effect of insider/outsider community dynamics on the information practices of LGBTQ+ individuals, how can libraries promote inclusivity as socially responsible institutions?