LGBT books may move to University Library

Christina Stavale

The Queer Liberation Front is one step closer to moving a set of books about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender topics from an office in Merril Hall to the University Library.

Yesterday, QLF chair Trae Ruscin and co-founder April Templeman met with Barbara Schloman, associate dean of the Library and Media Services, to discuss the possibilities of moving the books.

“Obviously, we’d be interested in reviewing the books,” Schloman said, adding that they can make no decision until the books are evaluated.

The evaluation process involves gauging how many titles there are and whether they or similar books are already included in the library collection.

QLF adviser Dan Nadon said while he’s seen the books housed in Merril Hall, he does not know whether the titles overlap with the books in the library. He estimated that a couple hundred books make up this collection.

Before the books move to the library, they would also have to determine ownership of the books and whether they have permission to move them, Schloman said.

“We don’t know who owns them,” she said, “or who bought them and with what money.”

Last year, QLF began working toward this goal because Nadon informed the group that the books “were in danger of being thrown away or not there anymore,” Ruscin said.

Yesterday’s meeting was a step in the right direction, he added.

“It’s a good start to what we’re doing,” Ruscin said. “It got the ball rolling.”

One concern the group has with moving the books to the library is the possibility of books being defaced. Ruscin said in the past, people have written derogatory terms and put hateful bookmarks in some of the LGBT books the library already houses.

Two possible solutions include putting the books in the special collections section where students would be required to show their ID to look at a book, or putting them with other at-risk books in the library’s basement.

But even if the books end up in the main circulation area, Templeman said, the main thing is that “they’re there, they’re safe and they’re accessible to students.”

Nadon said the book collection started as what they hoped would be a growing resource collection.

“What came to pass was that we moved outside the realm of sociology,” he said. “Space was finite, and the collection stopped.”

Currently, the books are locked up in the office, and students who want to look at them must get in touch with a secretary.

“It’s a big project to get to those books,” Templeman said.

Nadon said he ultimately hopes the books will be moved to a place where the collection can grow, and where students can go to read the books without going out of their way.

“It’s a greater issue than just those books,” he said. “My hope is that we will have some sort of space where you can go and read them.”

Ruscin said he was pleased with the turnout of the yesterday’s meeting.

“They were receptive,” he said. “They really want to get as many books in circulation as we can.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].