To celebrate Pride Month, Aesop has opened a Queer Library to run until the end of this week (27 June) at three of its North American locations: Aesop Bleecker Street (New York City), Aesop West 3rd Street (Los Angeles), and Aesop Queen Street West (Toronto).

For the event, each of the stores has cleared shelves of Aesop products and replaced them with books written by LGBTQIA+ authors from around the world.

aesop los angles store queer library with books by LGBTQIA+ authors piled up

The selection was composed by Aesop’s North American retail and office teams who were asked to choose their favourite queer titles. More than 3,000 volumes of their selected titles were purchased from Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto, the world’s longest surviving LGBTQIA+ bookstore, and Women & Children First in Chicago.

The collection also features almost 2,500 books from Penguin Random House, among them works by Bryan Washington and Ocean Vuong.

Other writers included in the library, which spans 150 titles, with a focus on BIPOC authors and on the trans community, are Akwaeke Emezi, Brandon Taylor, and Samantha Irby. 

aesop los angles store queer library with books by LGBTQIA+ authors on shelves

Visitors to the participating Aesop stores will be able to take home one book of their choice, thanks to this initiative that aims to encourage thoughtful engagement with LGBTQIA+ voices.

As some corporations come under fire for capitalising on Pride by using the rainbow logo, for example, without making any meaningful impact, Aesop’s initiative seems a more considered approach to celebrating Pride Month, making the work of LGBTQIA+ thinkers accessible in a manner that does not offer a direct monetary benefit to the company. 

aesop los angles store queer library with books by LGBTQIA+ authors on shelves

Those who can’t make it to the three Aesop locations can find a list of independent bookstores that boast extensive collections of queer writing on Aesop’s website, along with the full catalogue of the Queer Library titles and playlists from musical artists Chrysanthe Tan and Beverly Glenn-Copeland. §