Meet John DeSantis!: An RT member profile by Tess Goldwasser

By Tess Goldwasser

John has been involved with the GLBTRT since 1991, back when it was called the Gay and Lesbian Task Force and marched with them in 1992 at the pride parade in San Francisco. The resulting photo on the cover of American Libraries ignited an ongoing controversy with some ALA members claiming that the cover was highly inappropriate. He served twice on the Stonewall Book Awards committee. Chair for two years in the mid-1990s, he presided over the first Stonewall Book Awards Celebration Breakfast in New York City. He returned as a member in the 2000s and also served for several years as chair of the BAC Breakfast Planning Committee and as emcee.

Professionally John is most proud of his work for the BAC breakfast. He wrote, “It was always very gratifying to have people tell me that this event was the highlight of the conference.” He also regularly participated in the Read Alouds when the Task Force sponsored these popular events.

A catalog librarian and subject bibliographer at Dartmouth College, John has worked there since 1995. In his previous job, he selected LGBT materials and published a bibliography of the library’s extensive LGBT holdings.  He is also in his third term on ALA Council and has just completed his first term as a delegate to OCLC Global Council. John’s aim is to serve a couple more terms on Council as well as a term on the Executive Board. Recently, he served on the jury for the Publishing Triangle Awards.

John and his partner, also a librarian, have been together for 20 years.  They live in a large, old house in rural Vermont, with three pug dogs and seven cats. He maintains close relationships with his four siblings and is interested in gardening, fixing up his house, and all things related to the British monarchy.  With his academic background, he has a strong interest in Slavic languages and Eastern European countries where he frequently travels. A

One of John’s goals is visiting all 10 Canadian provinces and 50 U.S. states. Alaska and Hawaii are among the places yet to go. Another goal is travel to other places he hasn’t been such a Australia, New Zealand, and South America. His favorite city is Las Vegas, location of the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, and he looks forward to returning to this place where he has been many, many times.

John’s passions are food and cooking. He loves eating in restaurants, cooking at home, watching cooking shows on TV, reading cookbooks, and talking about food with friends and family. The animal he chose to be is Zsa Zsa Gabor’s poodle so he “could live a life of relaxation and comfort.”

Guests at his dinner party would be Harvey Milk, Paul Monette, Eartha Kitt, Cher, and Madonna. As John said, “What a party that would be!”


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