Meet Isaiah West! An RT Member Profile

By A. Faulkner

What is your role in the GLBTRT? 

I mostly just follow along with the discussion through the listserv at the moment, but I do hope to become more involved as my time with the GLBTRT increases.

What does the GLBTRT mean to you?

The GLBTRT is an asset and tool when developing programming, initiatives, booklists, bibliographies, and community relationships. It allows me to converse and discuss the issues that arise within the LGBTQ+ community, how it affects me as a gay librarian, and how we as librarians can make a difference in the communities we serve.

Are you involved in ALA in other ways?

I am a vocal and involved member of YALSA and am currently serving on the District Days Taskforce. I am also a member of PLA and am currently involved in the Inclusive Internship Initiative (iii), where I am mentoring 2 teens in the hopes of getting them more interested in library services.

What professional work do you perform?

I am the Teen Services Coordinator for the Alexandria Library in Alexandria, VA. The majority of my work involves being out in the community and building relationships with teens and teen organizations around the Alexandria area.

What would you like to share about your personal life?

My partner and I have one cat: Mervin. I am currently obsessed with Overwatch (ps4). I love art and design, and I am constantly looking for ways to redecorate my entire house.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the support system that I have built around myself. I have always prided myself on being a pretty good judge of character, but after reflection, I am going to pat myself on the back again. My family, which I could not choose, are the most caring, loving, and respectful people that I know, but my chosen family, AKA my friends, are some of the best human beings on this planet. They are powerful, outspoken, beautiful, generous, respectful, and adaptive, and I am lucky enough to say that I know them.

Who inspires you?

This is a tough question. I feel like it changes daily. One of my biggest inspirations at the moment is Dan Savage. I guess he could be considered old news, but I have been listening to his podcast more and more lately. His unabashed passion and his inclusive voice makes me want to do more every time I hear him speak.

What are your goals? (Professional and/or personal.)

Personally, I wouldn’t mind that American dream: nice home, lovely husband, and 2.5 children running amok, but I also would love to continue traveling the world and not worry about being rooted to one location for too long. As far as my professional goals, I am still torn between two paths as well. I love my work in public service, and I would love to see myself rise to become a director of a library system. I would also love to help train the next generation of librarians at a university.

What do you think (or predict) is the future of libraries?

I can see the trends of today continue. Libraries will become a little less about large collections and readers advisory, and they will become a thriving hub of community engagement. I do not think traditional library services will ever die, but I do think they will eventually become a faint whisper in the responsibilities of a librarian.

In what direction would you like the GLBTRT to move in the future?

I would like to see more sponsored events by the GLBTRT at ALA and other divisions’ conferences. I know we do a fair amount of work, and we show up for ALA Annual and Midwinter, but ALA has 11 other divisions with LGBTQ+ librarians and needs. It would be great to reach some of those groups as well, especially since they sometimes do not attend Annual and Midwinter.

If you could be transported into the fictional world of any book, where would you go?

Cop out answer: Hogwarts. I do have to say that I did grow up with Harry Potter, and Hermione Granger was one of the biggest crushes I ever had on a book character as a preteen.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

 One More Flannel Shirt

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?

Un-Break My heart by Toni Braxton. I can’t say it is especially uplifting, but it is the only song I could 100% commit to.

If you could have a dinner party with 5 culturally or historically significant figures, living or dead, who would you invite?

This one is going to a giant mixed bag of comedy, politics, and activists, but here we go: Tina Fey, Emma Watson, George Takei, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Dan Savage. I think they have probably all had dinner together already, so maybe I can just get an invite next time?

What is the meaning of life?

Ha! I am not qualified to tell you this. For me, the meaning of life is to find as much good food, coffee, beer, and wine as possible.



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