Queer library set to open in Montgomery County

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The opening of a new queer library in Hatboro, Pa. on May 4 will mark another step in the increasing LGBTQ visibility in this Montgomery County suburban community. 

The queer library is a project of the SAGA Community Center, an all-volunteer LGBTQ social services organization.

SAGA, which was founded in February 2017, is hosted by Love In Action United Church of Christ, which has given over space to the group as well as has provided logistical and moral support to the nascent organization.

The opening of the new library will be a major step forward in the expansions of LGBTQ services offered by SAGA, according Jennifer Angelina Petro, a SAGA spokesperson. “The library has been a dream of ours for a long time,” said Petro. “I know it’s small, right now, a single wall of books, but it’s a start and it’s growing.”

Petro said that the genesis of the library came from her SAGA colleague Niki Kulp, who one day simply said, “I’d like a queer library.” And while it’s taken some time for it to come to fruition, the library is now a reality.

The library has been stocked primarily through donations from private collections. Petro admitted that a fair percentage of the initial collection came from her own personal library. Nevertheless, she is proud of the diverse collection they’ve been able to pull together.

“We have books from all kinds of various categories,” she said. “We have books on history and health, and even including queer religion and spirituality. One thing we have to be cautious about though: We have to remember that we’re housed in a church. While Love In Action is very supportive of our work, they’re still a church. We have to be very cautious about, let’s say — adult material.”

Petro is also proud of the level of support SAGA and its new library is garnering from the mainstream suburban and local government. “The mayor [of Hatboro] is planning on attending our grand opening.”

When SAGA first began providing its services a little over two years ago, attendance was understandably sparse. But as word has gotten around, LGBTQ suburbanites “have been coming out of the woodwork,” as Petro put it.  SAGA is still a small operation and is still only open one night a week. But in that one night, the group works hard at the task of “queering-up the burbs” with such things as activity nights and support groups. All events are held at the church at 350 S. York Rd., Hatboro.

Hopefully the opening of the library will spur additional interest and growth, enabling SAGA to expand its services — and its hours. 

“We want to be a resource in the suburbs for LGBTQ people, in the way William Way Community Center is for city dwellers,” Petro said.

The grand opening for the SAGA Community Center’s queer library will be May 4, from noon to 3 p.m. at 350 S. York Road, Hatboro. For more information, call 215-675-8808, or visit sagahatboro.com. n