By A. Faulkner
What is your role in the GLBTRT?
Director-at-large on the Executive Board for three years.
What does the GLBTRT mean to you?
The GLBTRT is my home in ALA, along with the Spectrum Scholars. So to me, it means a welcoming place for people like me and our allies, who might need help serving the needs of our queer library users. It’s also a great place to be involved within ALA for our members who want to play a more active role. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have made some great friendships as a result of being involved in the GLBTRT, too.
Are you involved in ALA in other ways?
Yes! I just started my first term as Councilor-at-large, am an inaugural member of LITA’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, am an Emerging Leader member guide for the Emerging Leaders working on the GLBTRT’s digital archive, and am on the Spectrum Advisory Committee for the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services.
What professional work do you perform?
I’m a Senior Librarian at the Palo Alto City Library in Palo Alto, California.
What would you like to share about your personal life?
I moved from DC to California for work six months ago and, thanks to the great work atmosphere I’m now in, I finally have the headspace to focus on my personal life! I never realized how much a stressful work environment was getting in the way until it was over. So happy that’s done :)
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud to be the person I am: loyal, kind, generous, trustworthy, dependable, independent, self-reliant. I’m proud of where I’ve been and things I’ve done. Of not having been afraid to follow my instincts and go for experiences that spoke to me. The last several years there have been less of these, but I began changing that last year, and am definitely back on track. Again, headspace.
I’m also proud to be a person who isn’t easily led. By that I mean I’m happy to listen to backstories and gossip, but I ultimately make my own decision, about people, places, etc.
Who inspires you?
My mom inspires me a lot. She was such an amazing mother to me. I’m a pretty unusual person in general and whenever I think of my mom, I’m always really grateful for how she just gave me the space to be the person I am. We were very close and I could always tell when she was trying hard not to say or do anything to overstep or influence me and just let me figure the world out. If I wanted to talk about it she was also always there. She was never judgmental about my interests, what I wanted to do, what I wanted to wear. And she always let me know how much she loved me, was proud of me, and admired me for doing whatever it was I was doing, like going on archaeological digs in the eastern Mediterranean or pursuing a master’s degree in London. She continues to inspire me to keep being the person I am and is a source of emulation in terms of how I treat others, especially those more vulnerable than I.
I also find archaeologists, or any scientist, really, who dedicate their careers to one site or one area of research truly inspiring. It’s an intellectual obsession that really turns into love and admiration for something. One can hear the excitement and love in their voices when they talk about their work.
What are your goals? (Professional and/or personal.)
My professional goals are to keep learning and evolving as a public librarian and hopefully to move up into management soon.
My personal goal is to put myself out there more. Find the right girl and settle down :)
What do you think (or predict) is the future of libraries?
No earth-shattering predictions here, but I do think libraries will have to continue to make themselves visible and relevant, especially nowadays, where so many of us are already asked to justify our work. Libraries will continue to move beyond their walls, will aim to establish themselves as the tried and true resource in all media, and will remain one of the very few places where people in danger of being left behind in terms of education, technology, and self-improvement won’t be.
In what direction would you like the GLBTRT to move in the future?
Ever more diverse, inclusive, and expansive are the key words. The GLBTRT seemed very clicky to me when I first got involved. I’m not easily intimidated so I simply kept showing up to meetings; after a couple of times showing up, people started talking to me. I understand it can take a lot for people to be proactive, step outside of themselves, and say they want to be involved – I’m sure it can be daunting even for some people already involved in the GLBTRT – but it’s the executive board and committees who need to be more proactive about reaching out to our membership and to potential new members to let them know what we do for them. More importantly, we need to ask them what they would like to see us doing and how we can be in better touch with them.
And we definitely need to do a better job of reaching out through different channels, not just our own or the usual ones. Sponsoring and working with Emerging Leaders and being in touch with and inviting the Spectrum Scholars to socials and to get more involved in the RT is a great start. We need to be reaching out to state library association memberships as well as ALA divisions, affiliates, other round tables, committees, etc. I like to think the GLBTRT is no longer as clicky as I once found it, but I know that’s not true for a lot of our members, or those debating whether to become members or get more involved. I think we’re better than we were, but better is not good enough.
In order to help with all of the above, I would love to see the GLBTRT become ever more efficient, transparent, and communicative. The board is working on this and is working with our many committees to make sure they feel supported, especially when the chairs and members are transitioning.
So basically we need to keep making sure our current membership is heard, that those of our membership who are involved feel supported, and we need to always be recruiting new and more diverse members. Remaining the way we are or were is not an option and it’s not reflective of our membership, our reason for being.
If you could be transported into the fictional world of any book, where would you go?
I’m more curious about historical settings than fictional ones. I think it would be really cool to check out ancient Greece or Japan, imperial Russia, Moorish Spain and North Africa, Ottoman Turkey and the Balkans, to name a few.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
I’m not clever enough for this question, but in truth, I wouldn’t write one!
If you could only choose one song to play every time you entered a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What a tough question! I’m frankly worried that whatever I pick I’ll get sick of hearing it after a week, but if we can suspend belief, then a great entrance song would be “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by the Darkness. And from the beginning, because that opening guitar riff is fun and energizing! If you’ve never seen the video for this song, do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to check out what is arguably one of the campiest rock videos ever.
If you could have a dinner party with 5 culturally or historically significant figures, living or dead, who would you invite?
Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Nikos Kazantzakis, Leonardo Da Vinci, Alexander Hamilton, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
What is the meaning of life?
Find your happiness whatever it may be as long as you don’t hurt anyone while seeking it, and always grow: in wisdom, knowledge, experience, and your circle of loved ones.