Lighthouse aims to create a respectful, understanding and kind space where all people feel able to discover books and authors, express themselves and ask questions without fear of reprisal or humiliation. As a bookshop we want to be a safe, empowering, welcoming space of discovery for all readers, especially those of us traditionally on the margins. We believe open debate on many things is vital, however having the right format for dialogue on challenging, deeply personal topics is crucial for such discussion. So we do curate our events. Although we do not know or necessarily agree with all the opinions of all our speakers – by offering our bookshop as a platform we are at the very least showing a degree of trust and respect, inevitably giving speakers a certain credibility. We do not take that responsibility lightly and will never knowingly give an unchallenged platform to individuals whose ideas we view as problematic.
- Wheelchair access – We have a portable wheelchair ramp which we are always more than happy to put out (just tap the front window, and we’ll spring into action); we also lay it down the front step an hour before all events. – Our ramp has a 300kg carrying capacity and a usable width 77.5cm, it has a 1:6 ratio, which may not be suitable for all electric wheelchairs (sorry – the pavement is pretty narrow!). – The shop itself is laid out so that a reader in (most) wheelchairs can do a full circuit of the shop. There is at least 90cm+ of navigable space through most of the shop, although the arches into the fiction room only have a width of 77cm.
- Guidance for individuals with visual impairment -Our booksellers are all very happy to give guidance around the shop, read out blurbs and compile as well as walk through recommendations for anyone with a visual impairment. -We do not carry stock of large print books or audio books/CDs but we are always very happy to order these in.
- Sound/Hearing – We don’t play background music throughout the shop, although we sometimes play songs from the till computer, if you prefer silence we are always happy to switch the tunes off! – We do not have a hearing loop for the shop yet, but we are saving our pennies and hope to have something in place by the end of 2018. -None of our staff are proficient with BSL (yet!), we try as a rule to speak clearly and face customers when we are talking to help with speech reading if necessary, and we do keep a whiteboard/whiteboard markers by the till so we can chat in writing – please just let us know what method of communication you prefer and we’ll do our best.
- Seating – We have a window seat in fiction, and a few comfy seats scattered through the shop for anyone who needs a rest.
- Events – We always have seating at events, late comers may need to stand if an event is oversubscribed. If you need to sit, please arrive early, and if you have a preference on where you are seated simply call or email the shop in advance and we’ll do our best to accommodate your needs. Our seats have back support but no armrests. We do have an office chair we are happy to put out, just get in touch in advance and we’ll sort that out. – All speakers use microphones at events with more than 15 guests. – We use the fiction room as a break-out space during events, it’s quiet, with a window for fresh air and a few seats. – We always set aside 10-20 free tickets for events, which anyone can request on a first come, first served basis.
- Toilet – We do have a toilet available to customers, although it is worth noting that it is in the basement of the shop and can only be accessed down a spiral staircase.
A wee tour of the shop
Safe Space PolicyThis document is a guideline, it draws on the policies of others, including Sisters Uncut and the Edinburgh Autonomous Centre, and it should change as we learn and grow. It should tell you what you can expect from Lighthouse and what you commit to as part of our community. We have high expectations of how we behave towards each other in the shop and at our events. We will not wait for issues of harm to happen but will proactively challenge oppression & hierarchy in everything we do. Our bookshop and our events should be inclusive and supportive spaces for all, and in particular women (trans, intersex and cis) and all nonbinary, agender and gender variant people. Self-definition is at the sole discretion of that individual. The Booksellers and volunteers at the Lighthouse form a diverse group, and some of us experience different kinds of oppression & violence at the same time, including racism, disableism, poverty, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, islamophobia and antisemitism, as well as others. These oppressions are not separate from each other which can be exhausting & painful. We want to create a community that recognises and challenges the oppression & exploitation that some of us are harmed by and some of us benefit from. We define the following as abusive behaviours which are not tolerated in the Bookshop: Physical abuse 1.Violence and threat of violence – unless in self-defence. 2.Use of force and threat of force – unless minimal to protect users of the bookshop. 3. Rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment Verbal abuse 4.Personal insults – Insults or aggression towards an individual. 5.Oppressive language –This includes (but is not limited to) any racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or disablist language, including misgendering. The reason for this is not “political correctness” or fear of criticising people’s values. The real problem with such language is that it normalises prejudices and recreates the very hierarchies that we aim to oppose, as well as creating a space that is unwelcoming to anybody outside of a narrow demographic. 7.Verbal Harassment, sexual or otherwise- repeated uninvited personal comments or requests. 8.Verbal abuse in writing – all of the above in written form. We ask the following of all readers, speakers and performers in the Lighthouse:
- Consent; before you touch anyone or discuss sensitive topics ask if they are comfortable with that. Don’t assume your physical & emotional boundaries are the same as other people’s.
- Be aware of your privileges; including less obvious or invisible hierarchies. Think about how your words, opinions and feelings are influenced and who they might exclude or harm.
- Calling out; if you have acted or spoken harmfully, even if unintentionally, someone will bring this up with you. If this happens, listen and reflect on what they are saying even if you think they may be wrong. Don’t try to absolve yourself of responsibility.
- Learning; if you don’t understand something, just ask. You may be directed to a book, website or skillshare to learn more. We are each responsible for our own learning and if we feel able, for sharing it with others.
- Security; please don’t use the names/details of people who have been involved in organising or attending events without their permission. This makes sure that journalists, Police or other unknown people don’t hold information that could put individuals at risk of harm.