Delaware’s LGBTQ+ Community
A Research and Digital Engagement Project
Stories of Delaware’s LGBTQ+ community throughout time will soon have their moment in the spotlight. Over the next year, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (DHCA) will embark on Delaware’s first holistic project to capture those stories and important moments across the state and make them accessible to the public.
“Different people have told different pieces of this story, but it’s not a history that’s been told on any large scale or in any cohesive manner for the entire state,” said Meg Hutchins, project lead and the division’s engagement and collections manager. “This will be an expanded resource, a clearinghouse almost, for this history.”
A small team, led by Hutchins, will spend the coming months gathering key stories and moments in history that matter to Delawareans who identify with the LGBTQ+ community. The project will culminate with an online digital platform that will house the material collected—the cultural information regarding the people, places, and things associated with the queer community. The platform is expected to be accessible to the public in mid-2023 and is itself designed to be easily updated over time.
Professional researcher Carolanne Deal will work directly with members of the community to collect their stories, and DHCA aims to connect closely with community members to ensure a holistic and diverse project outcome. While it will include national context, the project is specifically Delaware-focused. It will be a first-of-its-kind resource that experts hope will pave the way to highlighting other minority communities and overlooked historical stories of Delawareans.
“A big reason we’re doing this work is that the history of the LGBTQ+ community everywhere has had problems with longevity because, when a big part of people’s identities was considered illegal for so long and constantly under threat, it can be difficult to tell those stories because the places and things they connect with tend not to stick around,” Hutchins explained. “We hope to tell a diverse story, so people are represented and see themselves and everybody in the queer community as being a part of this Delaware history and this story.”
To share information that you think will be helpful to the project, contact the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Libraries Expand Telehealth Kiosk Program
In 2021 Delaware became home to the first statewide, library-led telehealth initiative in the country, with placement of telehealth booths in public libraries in Laurel, Milford, and Seaford. (Lewes Library also now has a booth.) From the beginning, there were plans to expand the program, both into additional libraries and into services beyond the “telehealth” implied by the booth’s name.
Types of service expansion plans have long been realized; soon, expansion beyond the four existing sites will be as well, as funding has been secured to install an additional eight booths throughout the state. Each kiosk affords users access to many types of service, including online medical appointments, Zoom meetings with employers or lawyers, job interviews, and even counseling/therapy sessions.
The kiosks are 100 percent soundproof, include air filtration systems, and self-clean using ultraviolet light. Each offers access to free internet and iPad/laptop use. Kiosks are handicap accessible and can fit two to three people at a time.
A library staff person is available to assist users at each site. Use of the kiosks is free. Reservations are required and can be made online at getconnected.delawarelibraries.org or by contacting the individual library. ▼