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


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.


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.