Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

TinyCat’s June Library of the Month: The Nancy & Joe McDonald Rainbow Library

TinyCat’s Library of the Month is the Nancy & Joe McDonald Rainbow Library based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The library’s namesake, Nancy, is past National President of PFLAG and current President of PFLAG Tulsa. I had the pleasure of learning more about the library from Library Director Michelle Simmons, who was kind enough to answer my questions this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa, OK

The Nancy & Joe McDonald Rainbow Library was started by Nancy McDonald to provide a place for her daughter to be able to find LGBT resources after she “came out.” Since Nancy began her equal rights work, the library has grown from a place that houses a smattering of books to a collection of almost 4,000 volumes. In the past year, and especially the past few months, the library has gone from being a more passive resource on the second floor of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, to an active voice in creating and preserving access to 2SLGBTQIAA+ materials to the greater community.

Can you tell us more about how your library supports the community?

I love getting to bring books to different groups of people that would otherwise not know of the library’s existence. Or, if they did know, didn’t have easy access to it physically. I’ve connected with a local—and one of the few remaining—GSAs (Genders & Sexualities Alliances), and I bring an assortment of books for them to check out every couple of weeks. Another amazing event was the Banned Book service at All Souls Unitarian Church last year. A record number of people attended that service, and the library was set up right outside the entry doors. So every single person who attended that service had the opportunity to learn about the library.

That’s great exposure! Speaking of your library, what are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I love some of the older gems, for example: And God Bless Uncle Harry and His Roommate Jack Who We Are Not Supposed to Talk About and Lesbian Etiquette. As far as books that impacted me personally, Stone Butch Blues ranks at the top. 

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We are needing to remove all the labels on the books and relabel them. There have been a few cataloging systems put into place over the years, and we are wanting to standardize and modernize it, as well as make it look uniform and professional. Peeling labels off of 3,000 books takes a lot of time, and since we are 100% volunteer-run (including myself), it is taking a very long time. However, once we are done, it will be so much easier to label books for different locations as we open them up and keep track of what we have. 

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat?

100% the online capability for us. Before, people would have to come into the Center and go upstairs to find things in the library. Now they can search from their own devices. What would help us out a lot is the ability to modify genres and add our own. We are relying on tags and collections to sort books by age range, interest, and segment of the community; and honestly, it’s a little overwhelming.

That’s great feedback, thanks. You can already edit your own Genres on LibraryThing itself, and I’m hoping that we can soon bring individual Genres through TinyCat as well. If you want to add brand new Genres, please let us know what you’re looking for on Talk!

Want to learn more about the Nancy & Joe McDonald Rainbow Library?

Visit their website at and explore their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat


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