The American Library Association (ALA) is kicking off GLBT Book Month as of June 2015, a celebration of the literature dedicated to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. This month long event will promote a nationwide celebration of the writings and authors who are a reflection of the LGBT community and its experiences. Although this celebration was originally established in the early 1990s as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, June 2015 will mark the first time this event has been held under the endorsement of the ALA. Under the ALA, the event has been officially renamed as GLBT Book Month.
The original event and celebration was established by The Publishing Triangle. The month of June was chosen to honor LGBT literature in honor of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 in New York City. This resistance to harassment by the police was what jump started the gay pride movement in the United States.
Now, GLBT Book Month is being coordinated through the ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, as well as the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table. Courtney Young, the president of the ALA, said that The Publishing Triangle had the presence of mind to create the event approximately a quarter of a century ago and now it is the honor the ALA to continue this significant observance. Young also said that the ALA was appreciative of not only the brave first steps, but also the historic work taken by the publishers and authors to bring recognition to GLBT literature over the past 50 years.
In order to help libraries across the country celebrate and mark the special occasion in the month of June, the ALA has launched a GLBT Book Month resource center online. This resource center will include downloadable materials and even tip sheets. There are also bookmarks and posters available for purchase, which will highlight Gayle E. Pitman’s This Day in June, which was illustrated by Krystna Litten. Pitman’s work is all about gay pride and is the Stonewall Book Award, Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award winner in 2015.
GLBT Book Month will include a number of events and celebrations that will all culminate at the ALA’s Annual Conference for 2015 that takes place in San Francisco. The conference itself will start with Roberta Kaplan, a litigator and adjunct professor who helped in overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), speaking at the Opening General Session. The Annual Conference will also include sessions on how to curate GLBT activism history, use of materials supporting GLBT in libraries, the Stonewall Book Awards program and a number of other events and conferences themselves.
The month of June will be a celebration as GLBT Book Month will highlight a number of books and authors, as well as programs to bring a deeper awareness to recognizing the writings of the LGBT community. With the ALA taking this celebration under its wing, this is an event that will include not only bookstores, but also libraries, publishers and other book lovers.
By Kimberley Spinney
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Photo Courtesy of Ted Eytan’s Fickr Page – Creative Commons License