Midwinter Social Reveals Awards, Honors

The GLBTRT Social at conferences is always a time of revelry and a place where members can renew or make new friendships. This year’s event at Mixto Restaurant, next to the iconic bookstore Giovanni’s Room, celebrated several awards. Chair-elect Ann Symons started the proceedings with an ALA award. More about that will be in GLBT News when it is ready for publication. 

Traditionally, the Stonewall awards are all announced at the Social. Because the youth awards are announced at the Monday morning press conference, the Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award had to be kept secret until then. Peter Coyl, however, was able to release the names of the adult literature and non-fiction awards and honor books. 

GIovanni's Room

Ed Hermance, owner and operator of Giovanni’s Room for 38 of its 41 years, received a plaque honoring his service to the LGBT community. With artist Arleen Olshan, he took over the store in 1976, and the two men moved it to 1426 Spruce St. They moved the store to its current location at 345 S. 12th St. in 1979. Although Olshan left the business seven years later, he has remain active as a volunteer. ALA also recognized Hermance with a tribute in ALA Council III three days after the Social. 

For the past several months, Giovanni’s Room has been for sale because of Hermance’s retirement. He called his experience at the bookstore “the job of a lifetime” and said, “I can’t imagine having had another job that would have engaged my skills and interests as much as Giovanni’s Room has. But it is time to find a successor, if there is to be one.” For a period of time, people feared that the bookstore might close, but recent rumors have reported that there is a buyer who will maintain its LGBT focus and add a coffee bar. Giovanni’s Room has been a vital force in LGBT community experience and, hopefully, will continue to be.


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