With the change of season and the lovely sprinkling of extra days off, I thought it a great time to let you know of at least a few things we’re currently working on and what you can look forward to in the coming months from the GLBTRT Executive Board.
The explosion in books with queer content in recent years has of course been wonderful. But it also means the workload for our five book committees, Over the Rainbow, Rainbow, Stonewall – Barbara Gittings Literature, Stonewall – Israel Fishman Nonfiction, and Stonewall – Children and Young Adult, has been increasing steadily. It’s important to me that all committees and volunteers enjoy what they’re doing and don’t feel overwhelmingly stressed out about their work. The GLBTRT Bylaws need to be updated anyway, so I initiated an online conversation with the above committees’ chairs and the board that began with a review and update of their committee pages, including an increase in the number of committee members, and is now about how we can make
adjustments to their workflow. This discussion has been incredibly useful so far, and it continues. Thank you to the committee chairs for their feedback, especially at a time when
they’re still trying to review as many titles as possible.
We’ll be working with the Bylaws Committee on a draft of suggested changes to our bylaws in the coming weeks, so look out for a draft of the proposed changes at least thirty days before the
ballot. For future reference, any changes to the GLBTRT Bylaws may be proposed by the Executive Board or by a GLBTRT member at a membership meeting and require a simple
majority vote by the membership in the Spring ballot during ALA elections.
I want to thank all the GLBTRT members who have responded so enthusiastically to the call for volunteers for the book committees. I’ve had a large response from people wanting to volunteer,
especially for the two youth committees, and have been doing my best to include you all. I’m happy to report all five committees will have at least two more committee members than they did
this year, part of our discussions around how to improve the workflow of the committees. I hope this expansion and the decision to make Over the Rainbow and Rainbow virtual committees will
help accommodate the number of GLBTRT volunteers wanting to participate.
The Midwinter Meeting will once again be happening in Seattle and I’m incredibly happy to be chairing the GLBTRT there. It was at Midwinter 2013 in Seattle that I began stalking keenly
following the GLBTRT, as well as Council and anything else within ALA I was interested in learning about. It was pretty daunting, walking into the GLBTRT Executive Board meeting,
where I knew no one. I do remember I sat at the same table as Anne Moore. Anne probably won’t remember, but I already thought she was pretty badass then. I also attended what must
have been an all-committee meeting where I thought, newbie that I was, people would also be talking, but it was really a space for GLBTRT committees to have more face-to-face time
together. I guess I looked pretty clueless by the door, trying to decide where to sit, because a really nice guy came up to me, introduced himself, and explained what was going on. Not only
that, he asked me if I had any questions about the GLBTRT, and proceeded to answer every one without judgement, using his laptop to demonstrate where to find more information on the
GLBTRT pages and how. That was David Vess, Chair of the GLBTRT that year. That’s the kind of person he is.
We’ll be hosting the first GLBTRT 101 of the year in Seattle, an information session for anyone interested in finding out more about the GLBTRT. Everyone’s welcome. We’ll start with some
basics, but the bulk of the session will be dedicated to fielding your questions about anything GLBTRT-related. Want to get more involved, but curious about what Stonewall committee
members really do? Have a seat and chat with a former chair or member. Curious about the work of the Executive Board? Talk to me or another member of the board. Any other committee
or liaison duties? We have you covered. We’ll also be hosting another GLBTRT 101 in DC at Annual. I hope these sessions will be useful for any new or returning GLBTRT members, and for
anyone considering membership in the GLBTRT.
We’re also scheduled to have a GLBTRT social on Sunday, January 27th, officially from 6-8 p.m., but we always tend to stay a bit longer. I’m currently working on finalizing the venue in
Seattle and will share that with you and have the scheduler updated as soon as possible.
We’re still accepting nominations for our three GLBTRT Awards: the Larry Romans Mentorship Award, the Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence in Service to the GLBT Community, and the
GLBTRT Award for Political Activism through December 10; links to submit can be found toward the bottom of each award page.
In late 2016, the GLBTRT Executive Board began discussions regarding whether the name Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) is still an accurate reflection
of our membership. The GLBTRT Executive Board had a conversation about this at their meeting during the 2017 Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, and gathered several possible names
from an online discussion on the listserv. A series of in-person dot tests using those names were held at our executive board and membership meetings, and at the social during the Annual
Conference that year. An additional survey with the top five names was sent out via the listserv in May 2018 and the results were discussed at the Executive Board meeting during the Annual
Conference. The name that received the most dots by GLBTRT membership who responded was Rainbow Round Table. After so much discussion the last two years, it’s time to put it to a
vote. The Executive Board voted at its meeting October 2018 to put forward another name for voting, also in the dot test, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Round Table.
So make sure your membership is up to date in the Spring and be sure to vote for one of the two names. The GLBTRT has undergone several name changes during its existence. It’s time
for one more.
Finally, I wanted to remind you of one more deadline. If you’re interested in running for the GLBTRT Executive Board, now is the time to submit a nomination, on behalf of yourself or
someone else! Being on the GLBTRT board these last few years has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me, and if you have any questions or have been wondering whether
you should run, please, get in touch! I’ll be happy to discuss all the ins and outs. Find out more about the Executive Board and submit a nomination by February 1, 2019. I would love to see
some energetic, motivated people run and keep making the GLBTRT ever more inclusive, visible, engaged, and relevant.
There are a few more items I could include here, but this letter is long enough as is! I did want to thank the Program Planning Committee for their amazing work so far. The ALA conference
restructure included a more limited number of time slots and rooms for meetings, as well as a new jury-based method of selecting a smaller number of programs for the Annual conference
(doing away with programs entirely for Midwinter Meetings, though this doesn’t include committee meetings, news you can use, or information sessions, like GLBTRT 101, for
example). The deadlines for submitting programs for Annual 2020 began this past August and concluded in November, meaning, the Program Planning Committee, soon after beginning their
terms after Annual, had to hit the ground running to create these proposals. Thank you Ahliah, Allan, Cynthia, Heather, Megan, Thomas, Whitney, and committee chair Ash, for being so on
As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, need any guidance, have any suggestions, or simply want to talk about something. It’s been my absolute pleasure to
be your chair so far and I look forward to seeing at least some of you in Seattle.
Ana Elisa de Campos Salles