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Meeting the Information Needs of a Diverse Group through Access and Literacy

Article by Rose M. Jackson, MLIS
Portland State University

In July 2005, Portland State University received an Express Outreach Award to develop a consumer health collection for the clients and staff of Outside In, a social service agency, located less than five blocks from the campus. After several consultations, the clinic staff at Outside In, felt that a targeted collection aimed at the Transgendered Communities would be the best usage of the award. Within the past five years, Outside In medical clinic has experienced a significant increase in the number of gender queer, Transgendered, and questioning youth and homeless people using their services.

Last year, the agency established TiRC:
“The Transgender/Identity Resource Center is the first such program in the state of Oregon. The program provides peer education, counseling, referrals, street and community-based outreach to youth who may otherwise be disconnected from resources due to their gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation, ethnic background, or economic hardships. ”

Trans and/or gender queer youth compose almost 20% of the medical clinics patients. These patients are constantly seeking current, authoritative information on topics such as: hormone therapy, plastic surgery for sex reassignment as well as chest shaping, social support and counselors experienced in working within these communities.

In April 2006, the TiRC Reference Library was launched with a collection of over 400 medical, legal, biographies, autobiographies works as well as a substantial film collection. The material includes a copy of the first major work in English; The Transsexual Phenomenon by Harry Benjamin, published in 1962. The collection is accessible to all. If you have a patron, a service provider, or an organization interested in relevant information about Transgenderism please feel free to refer them to this collection.

TiRC is located at 1030 SW 13th, Portland, Oregon 97201. The TiRC staff are: Christa-Margaret Nelson and Llewyn McCobb, 503-535-3895. For a hardcopy of the collection or the survey instrument used to assess the informational needs of the Transgendered communities, please contact Rose M. Jackson, at email: rosej@pdx.edu, 503-725-3689.

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