By Erin Berman
Thank you for your continued support of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT)! Your membership has played a vital role in supporting the Round Table’s mission. Now more than ever we need to be visible, to promote that libraries are open to all, and to work to ensure that all libraries have GLBTQ materials.
I’d like to challenge all the members of the GLBTRT to raise at least $5,000 in 2015! You can do this right now by visiting the ALA’s website. Choose to make your donation to Emerging Leaders, Stonewall, or the General Fund for projects like the “June is GLBT Book Month” initiative!
In order to provide these stellar services to our GLBTQ community we need to continue to raise money to support next year’s Emerging Leader, to keep the Stonewall Books Awards endowment strong, and get seed money to continue our advocacy work.
Your donations have also allowed for another successful year of the Stonewall Book Awards. Since 1971 the awards have been presented to authors who have excelled in writing GLBTQ books for adults, children, and teens. Last year the GLBTRT awarded five authors with $1,000 to recognize their works.
As well, the Rainbow Book List Committee created a stellar Rainbow Book List, recommending GLBTQ fiction and nonfiction titles for young readers from birth through age 18. As you all know, having this resource available to librarians and the public can make a huge difference in a young person’s life, giving them books with characters they can identify with. The Over the Rainbow Book List Committee created a similar list highlighting adult materials.
This year the GLBTRT is sponsoring its first Emerging Leader using the donations you’ve provided. The Emerging Leaders program “is a leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity.” I was an Emerging Leader in the class of 2014 and it was a life changing experience. It’s given me the opportunity to become involved with the GLBTRT and make new connections which are helping me serve my library community.
We are well on our way to our $5,000 goal already. At the end of 2014, Bill Cohen, publisher and owner of Harrington Park Press, donated $1,000 which is being put towards the new “June is GLBT Book Month” initiative. Ann Symons and Robert Newlen will each donate up to $500 in matching funds for the Emerging Leaders, and I raised over $600 in a bake sale. With your donations we’re sure to go well over $5,000 this coming year.
So, how can you help continue the services that the GLBTRT provides and expand upon them in the future?
- Make a tax deductible donation to ALA’s GLBTRT. We are encouraging members to designate their donation to the General Fund. Money donated here will enable the GLBTRT to spend the money where it’s most needed, including advocacy work, and more. You could also designate your donation to the Emerging Leaders Fund to match Ann and Robert’s generous donations.
- Add the GLBTRT to your will/estate as a planned gift. It’s never too early to start thinking about what will happen to our estates when we pass away. Learn more about planned giving through ALA’s Development Office.
- Throw a fundraiser party. Invite friends and co-workers to a fundraiser party at a local pub or diner. Turn your social networking into a celebration of GLBTQ literature with book readings or watch one of your favorite GLBTQ movies together. Ask attendees to pitch in a couple of dollars to help the round table. Take it to another level by offering raffle tickets for handmade gifts or invite people to create artwork that can be auctioned off at your event with proceeds going to support the GLBTRT.
- Have a bake sale. This is one that I personally took up and it was a huge success! Whip up brownies and cookies and sell them off to friends, family, and coworkers. Collect the money and donate the funds to the round table.
- Write letters to people in the community who you think might be interested in supporting the round table. Hand written letters to community leaders or local businesses asking for their support can often go a long way. Make sure to let them know that their donation is tax deductible and ALA will send a thank you letter with tax information to them.
- Renew your GLBTRT membership. Your membership dues help make all of these programs happen.
There are lots of ways that you can help raise funds for and support the GLBTRT besides just opening up your own pocket book! Even something as simple as posting this link (http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/
GLBTRT Fundraising Chair