Diversity & Outreach Columns ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services

21Apr/15Off

Do you roll out the rainbow carpet for your LGBTQ patrons?

GLBTRT_logo_CMYKPicture a gay youth entering his local library.  Having managed to find a call number for a book on homosexuality, he’s memorized the shelf he needs. He’s walked by it multiple times, trying not to get caught looking for the ‘gay books’.

Sure, he could look online at the plethora of information across the web, but having been confronted by family members who noticed his surfing over his shoulder, he’s wary of repeating the same experience with strangers. And he certainly doesn’t know if he can trust the librarians to help.

When he finally has the chance to examine the books, there are two, and only one even attempts to provide a balanced view on current stances around gay issues.

Does this sound like it could happen at your library? Maybe something similar? Is your library prepared to support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer or Questioning patrons in your communities? On your campuses? In your school hallways?

Check out the following 5 reasons you might want to check out “Rolling out the Rainbow Carpet”

  1. Fantastic engaging keynote speakers

We are excited to have 2 fantastic keynotes joining us to get us energized. Wick Thomas, a 2014 ALA Mover and Shaker will be joining us, as well as Marcus Ewert, author of Stonewall Honor Book, 10,000 dresses.

  1. Ideas and guidance from successful experts on the ground.

Speakers representing academic, school, and public libraries, covering key areas of LGBTQ library service from programming, to collections, to outreach. A little something for everyone!

  1. A chance to network and connect

You’ll be with colleagues across institutions, organizations, geographies and responsibilities who are eager to discuss these issues and work on solutions!

  1. Kick off your San Francisco Pride weekend!

This year ALA annual is taking place at the same time as San Francisco Pride. Come learn with us and then take some time out to check out the local festivities. Maybe you’ll get an idea for your library and the local pride events back home!

  1. Get the chance to make change

What you learn could make the difference between someone experiencing the above scenario and a positive experience and lasting relationship with your library.

So come Join the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) as it hosts its first-ever preconference highlighting library services to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans* and queer/questioning community.  The preconference, entitled “Rolling out the Rainbow Carpet: Serving LGBTQ Communities” will be held Friday, June 26, 2015 from 8:30am-12:00pm during ALA’s Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Registration is $100 for ALA members, $125 for non-members. GLBTRT members, ALA Division members, and students are eligible for a reduced registration fee of $75.

For more information, and to register, please visit www.alaannual.org. Registration code: GLB1

Featured Speakers

Marcus Ewert

MarcusEwertMarcus is a jack of all trades writer extraordinaire. Raised in a blue bubble of Atlanta, Marcus was always attracted to all things creative. This attraction led to a colorful collection of film appearances and literary debuts, and even relationships with Burroughs and Ginsberg! His journey has eventually led him to his current home in San Francisco.

You may know him as author of Stonewall Honor Book, 10 000 Dresses, or you may be eagerly anticipating his next bibliographic work of magic in MUMMY CAT (illustrated by Lisa Brown and due out July 2015), but regardless we’re happy to have him joining us to share his insights!

Wick Thomas

WickThomasWick Thomas is the Teen Services Librarian for the Plaza Library in Kansas City, MO. Wick is a prominent activist in Kansas City and has mentored dozens of young activists through EQUAL’s Phoenix Leadership Program. Wick works inside and outside of the library to help young people feel powerful and has received awards from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, The National LGBTQ Task Force, and the City of Kansas City, MO for their tireless intersectional justice work. Wick has recently been spearheading the Save MO Libraries campaign to restore funding to Missouri Libraries.

Donna Braquet

DonnaBraquetDonna Braquet is Associate Professor and Biology Librarian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Since joining the faculty in 2004, Braquet has been instrumental in making progress for LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff on campus.  She was one of the founding members of the first advisory committee on campus in 2007--The Chancellor's Commission for LGBT People.   She also was the founding director of the OUTreach: LGBT & Ally Resource Center in 2010, which she continues to direct to this day.  In 2013 Braquet was offered a dual position appointment between the University Libraries and The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and works as the Vice Chancellor's special assistant.  In addition to these roles, Braquet also served on the Faculty Senate's Benefits and Professional Development Committee in which she lead the body to pass several resolutions calling for equal benefits for same-sex partners and spouses.  Braquet is excited to expand her career path into what she coins 'the higher ed trifecta'—part librarian, part faculty member, and part student affairs professional.

Tami Albin

TamiAlbinTami Albin is an Associate Librarian at the University of Kansas in the Center for Faculty/Staff Initiatives and Engagement. She is also the Director of “Under the Rainbow: Oral Histories of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People in Kansas.” She received her M.L.I.S. from the University of Western Ontario and her B.A.H. in Sociology and Women Studies from Trent University. She is presently working on a manuscript based on her oral history project, “Under the Rainbow.” Other areas of interest include cryptozoology, parapsychology, dinosaurs, and talking about her cats non-stop. Basically, she is a six year old boy.

 

Jessica Zaker

JessicaZakerJessica Zaker is the Central branch manager for the Sacramento Public Library and head coach of the Sac City Rollers roller derby league. She has been offering queer programming in Sacramento for the last 5 years and loves David Levithan so fervently, she has a word her gave her tattooed behind her ear.

 

 

Karen Sundheim

KarenSundheimKaren Sundheim has been the Program Manager for the James C. Hormel LGBT Center of San Francisco Public Library since early 2008. She is responsible for developing book, movie and archival collections on LGBT history and culture. She also creates programs and exhibitions to provide education on LGBT culture to the community. From 1999 – 2008 she was the manager of the Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library of San Francisco Public Library.

 

 

Bleue Benton

BleueBentonBleue Benton, Oak Park Public Library's collection manager for ten years, created the Transgender Resource Collection in 2007. Now semi-retired, she continues to curate this collection and keeps working to become a better trans ally.

 

 

 

Martin Garnar

MartinGarnarMartin Garnar is the head of reference and instruction for the Dayton Memorial Library at Regis University (Denver, CO), where he holds the rank of Professor of Library Science.  Since 2005, he has taught professional principles and ethical issues for the University of Denver's LIS program, where he also teaches library instruction.  Martin is both the co-chair of and the GLBTRT liaison to the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.  At Regis, he has served as the faculty advisor to the Gender & Sexuality Alliance student group and co-teaches an acting class in the diversity core.  A frequent speaker at state, regional, and national events, Martin's presentations combine expertise, practical advice, and a healthy dash of humor.

Robert B. Ridinger

RobertBRidingerRobert B. Ridinger is a full professor in the University Libraries at Northern Illinois University and has been engaged in collecting, preserving and writing about the histories of the LGBT community and their primary sources since the 1980s. His publications range from The ADVOCATE Index, 1967-1982 and the anthology Speaking for Our Lives: Historic Speeches and Rhetoric for Gay and Lesbian Rights, 1892-2000 ( Haworth )  to the 2014 article Tracking the Rainbow: Recent Trends in LGBT Reference and Collection Development in Reference Reviews.  At NIU, he serves on the Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
Joy Millam

JoyMillamAs a Teacher Librarian at Valencia (CA) High School, Joy’s primary purpose is to support her students and staff; which means making sure that every student can find books and resources in her library with characters that they can relate to and connect. The library is truly a sanctuary for all kids and it is one of the main tenets of her mission to make sure that her library is a place where all students feel welcome and safe. Joy has served in many YALSA capacities, including Quick Picks, and the Printz and Nonfiction Award committees.

About GLBTRT

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association is committed to serving the information needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender professional library community and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender information and access needs of individuals at large. GLBTRT is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of the American Library Association and democratic institutions.  The GLBTRT was founded in 1970 and is the world’s oldest professional organization for GLBT people.

 

19Oct/10Off

Library service to LGBTQ @ University of Michigan

I went to college at 17, knowing with little uncertainty that I would graduate with a dual bachelor's-master's in civil and environmental engineering, go to law school, and then practice environmental law and policy, before running for congress at 25, senate at 30, and president at 35. A few funny things happened during my first semester on campus, and my life plan didn't quite work out that way; instead, I got active in campus, state, and national LGBT politics and activism, before becoming disillusioned with the failures of organization-based social movements. I was about to finish my undergrad (in Sociology and Math) when I discovered, quite by chance, the field(s?) of information and library science via the website of the University of Michigan School of Information. Three and a half years later, here I am: finishing a degree that I sometimes wish was an MLS (and is instead an MSI) and bursting with ideas of how to integrate librarianship into organized activism, in order to cut costs and optimize outcomes by developing and executing more efficient programs based on better-researched information (whew...still working on the short version of that one).
From September 2009 to August 2010, I worked at the University of Michigan Spectrum Center [link: http://spectrumcenter.umich.edu] (est. 1971) as an intern in their library. Named after Spectrum Center co-founder Jim Toy, the collection was 2,000 volumes strong, had been weeded once (for duplicates) in institutional memory, had no designated budget, no library-trained staff, and yet circulated items regularly. At the time I began my exploratory internship, cataloging staff from the UM Library [link: http://lib.umich.edu] were beginning the implementation phase of a project 3 years in the making—adding holdings records for each of our books in the MLibrary back-end database and OPAC. Having facilitated coming-out and speaker's bureau programs as a volunteer for the Spectrum Center since 2005, I felt confident that I knew the users reasonably well, so I set about getting to know the collection itself—a task made easy by the mass-reshelving precipitated by the cataloging project.
During the first four months of my work, I talked with staff and student-users of the space and collection to figure out what were the current library practices and where they were breaking down; from this, I designed several projects to rectify, or at least ameliorate (I hoped) the problems. During the remaining eight months of my internship, I worked with the UM Library's subject specialist in LGBTQ & Women's Studies [link: http://lib.umich.edu/users/stricklb]to get the projects rolling—writing a collection development policy, doing internal cataloging and classification to aid user discovery of materials without librarian mediation, evaluating circulation processes, and, my favorite, identifying what modes of practice for public services (reference and instruction) best fit the needs of the Jim Toy Library's users.
I found that reference in a student affairs office takes two major forms: information & referral from the front desk (walk-in and phone) and in-depth research and readers' advisory in the collection space. I was pleased to find that reference interactions worked very similarly to the way they do in the academic library settings I was accustomed to—in particular, patrons are often shy about asking questions, even when the information-helper (librarian or other staff) are present and clearly not doing anything important, and when they do ask, patrons ask the question they think they should, instead of the one they actually want an answer for. I noticed that basic relationship-building with patrons (starting with a simple, "Hi! How are ya?") increased their likelihood of asking a question, and standard reference interview techniques helped us find appropriate information quickly and efficiently—all good news in uncharted territory!
Besides the methods of librarianship working well in the new environment, I also noticed that the reach of our work expands far beyond the range of our intended user population (another commonality with academic and public libraries). When one of the Spectrum Center's staff vacationed in Texas over the summer, she met the friend of a friend who had a depressed and closeted gay nephew in a small-town Tennessee high school. Working with a student volunteer on the task of finding resources for the teen, our office in Michigan was able to research and aggregate locally accessible books and organizations (including a –thankfully—nearby PFLAG chapter [link: http://www.pflag.org]) for the Tennessee teen.
The exploratory work I did in my internship solidified my hunch that adding organized information practices to the exiting work that campus LGBT resource centers do can augment the support the centers provide without substantially altering the infrastructure of these offices. There are scores of LGBT resource centers on college campuses throughout the world today, dozens of library and information schools, and hundreds of academic libraries. Collaborations among these three types of organizations can emerge anywhere the three convene, improving the quality of life for queer students everywhere and making quicker work of the our duty as citizens and librarians to promote and foment equality and access for all people.

Submitted by Anand Kalra, University of Michigan

I went to college at 17, knowing with little uncertainty that I would graduate with a dual bachelor's-master's in civil and environmental engineering, go to law school, and then practice environmental law and policy, before running for congress at 25, senate at 30, and president at 35. A few funny things happened during my first semester on campus, and my life plan didn't quite work out that way; instead, I got active in campus, state, and national LGBT politics and activism, before becoming disillusioned with the failures of organization-based social movements. I was about to finish my undergrad (in Sociology and Math) when I discovered, quite by chance, the field(s?) of information and library science via the website of the University of Michigan School of Information. Three and a half years later, here I am: finishing a degree that I sometimes wish was an MLS (and is instead an MSI) and bursting with ideas of how to integrate librarianship into organized activism, in order to cut costs and optimize outcomes by developing and executing more efficient programs based on better-researched information (whew...still working on the short version of that one).

From September 2009 to August 2010, I worked at the University of Michigan Spectrum Center (est. 1971) as an intern in their library. Named after Spectrum Center co-founder Jim Toy, the collection was 2,000 volumes strong, had been weeded once (for duplicates) in institutional memory, had no designated budget, no library-trained staff, and yet circulated items regularly. At the time I began my exploratory internship, cataloging staff from the UM Library were beginning the implementation phase of a project 3 years in the making—adding holdings records for each of our books in the MLibrary back-end database and OPAC. Having facilitated coming-out and speaker's bureau programs as a volunteer for the Spectrum Center since 2005, I felt confident that I knew the users reasonably well, so I set about getting to know the collection itself—a task made easy by the mass-reshelving precipitated by the cataloging project.

During the first four months of my work, I talked with staff and student-users of the space and collection to figure out what were the current library practices and where they were breaking down; from this, I designed several projects to rectify, or at least ameliorate (I hoped) the problems. During the remaining eight months of my internship, I worked with the UM Library's subject specialist in LGBTQ & Women's Studies to get the projects rolling—writing a collection development policy, doing internal cataloging and classification to aid user discovery of materials without librarian mediation, evaluating circulation processes, and, my favorite, identifying what modes of practice for public services (reference and instruction) best fit the needs of the Jim Toy Library's users.

I found that reference in a student affairs office takes two major forms: information & referral from the front desk (walk-in and phone) and in-depth research and readers' advisory in the collection space. I was pleased to find that reference interactions worked very similarly to the way they do in the academic library settings I was accustomed to—in particular, patrons are often shy about asking questions, even when the information-helper (librarian or other staff) are present and clearly not doing anything important, and when they do ask, patrons ask the question they think they should, instead of the one they actually want an answer for. I noticed that basic relationship-building with patrons (starting with a simple, "Hi! How are ya?") increased their likelihood of asking a question, and standard reference interview techniques helped us find appropriate information quickly and efficiently—all good news in uncharted territory!

Besides the methods of librarianship working well in the new environment, I also noticed that the reach of our work expands far beyond the range of our intended user population (another commonality with academic and public libraries). When one of the Spectrum Center's staff vacationed in Texas over the summer, she met the friend of a friend who had a depressed and closeted gay nephew in a small-town Tennessee high school. Working with a student volunteer on the task of finding resources for the teen, our office in Michigan was able to research and aggregate locally accessible books and organizations (including a –thankfully—nearby PFLAG chapter for the Tennessee teen.

The exploratory work I did in my internship solidified my hunch that adding organized information practices to the exiting work that campus LGBT resource centers do can augment the support the centers provide without substantially altering the infrastructure of these offices. There are scores of LGBT resource centers on college campuses throughout the world today, dozens of library and information schools, and hundreds of academic libraries. Collaborations among these three types of organizations can emerge anywhere the three convene, improving the quality of life for queer students everywhere and making quicker work of the our duty as citizens and librarians to promote and foment equality and access for all people.

12Jul/10Off

ALA GLBTRT 40th anniversary recognized in U.S. House resolution

WASHINGTON – The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) was recognized by a resolution of the United States House of Representatives, congratulating it on its 40th anniversary.

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), the resolution, dated June 23, 2010, recognizes GLBTRT for working to “ensure information and access needs for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals,” as well as seeking to “improve the lives of librarians, archivists, other information specialists, and library users who are part of the GLBT community.”

Additionally, GLBTRT was commended for its efforts to eliminate job discrimination based on sexual orientation, the revision of classification schemes to remove derogatory and hurtful terms, as well as its role in public awareness education, “ensuring unrestricted access to information by or about the GLBT community.”

The GLBTRT is the oldest professional gay rights organization in the United States. For more information about GLBTRT, please visit www.ala.org/glbtrt. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table of the American Library Association is committed to serving the information needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered professional library community, and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered information and access needs of individuals at large. GLBTRT is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of the American Library Association and democratic institutions.

9Jun/10Off

GLBTRT kicks off year-long celebration of 40 years of advocacy, service at ALA Annual Conference

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) will kick off a year-long celebration to mark its 40th anniversary during ALA’s 2010 Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

Since 1970, GLBTRT has served the information needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered professional library community, and the information and access needs of GLBT individuals at large. One of the first professional organizations of its kind, GLBTRT has overseen many milestones, including the establishment of the Stonewall Book Awards in 1971, the first and most enduring award series for GLBT literature.

The celebrations start in 2010 in Washington with a 40th Anniversary Social to be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 27 at the Hotel Monaco (700 F St. NW) and will conclude with the 40th Book Award Gala during ALA’s 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans. Conference attendees and their guests are invited to attend.

Donations to support the Round Table and the 40th Anniversary celebrations will be gratefully accepted.

For more information about GLBTRT 40th Anniversary events, please visit www.ala.org/glbtrt.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association is committed to serving the information needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered professional library community, and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered information and access needs of individuals at large. GLBTRT is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of the American Library Association and democratic institutions.

View an expanded version of this news release on the American Libraries site.