Group hopes LGBT library moves to permanent home

Andrew Schiller


QLF is trying to move the LGBT library, currently housed in Merrill Hall, to the 12th floor of the University Library.

Credit: Adam Griffiths

Like a Leebrick student’s room, it’s cramped. It shares a small room with a desk, a computer, a chair and two filing cabinets where the only decoration is the gay pride flag hanging on the wall.

Kent State’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender library is a “hodge-podge of books collected from faculty donations,” said Daniel Nadon, co-coordinator for the LGBT studies minor. “Some of the materials are dated. Others are very up-to-date.”

The LGBT library is five or six years old and is located in Merrill Hall, Room 201, he said.

Bob Johnson, when he was the LGBT studies coordinator, made arrangements to have the room dedicated to the students in the LGBT minor and the faculty who were teaching the classes, Nadon said.

“I think it has the potential to grow, but not within that space,” he said.

Nadon said he guessed the collection – which doesn’t quite fill up two glass cabinets – has about 100 to 200 volumes.

“There are a lot of people who say they’d like to bring in books to donate, and with a small amount of administrative help, it could be turned into an actual lending library,” he said.

Nadon said the sociology department has been very helpful, but there are still difficulties.

“It’s not very user-friendly because you have to arrange a schedule around me or the sociology department,” he said.

“They’ve been so gracious to let us stay, but they need that office space for their new faculty, so I’m not sure how long they’re going to be able to accommodate us.

“If it was moved (to) some place where there was more space and some more administration, I’m sure the volumes would explode,” Nadon said. “There would be a lot more books. It would certainly serve the students in a better way, and that’s what they’re there for.”

Josh Sebrasky, president of the Queer Liberation Front, said the LGBT library has come up at both meetings QLF had with President Lester Lefton.

“We’re temporarily trying to get it to the special reserves on the 12th floor of the library, … to have a safe place for it, because it’s under threat of being thrown out of Merrill Hall,” Sebrasky said.

It would be best to house the LGBT library in an LGBT resource center, Sebrasky said, but a location hasn’t been chosen for the center and “the university’s putting up a stink for that.”

“We’re like the only public university in Ohio that doesn’t have one,” he said. “We applied for office space, and if we can’t put it in the library, we’ll put it in our office for now.”

Sociology department chair Richard Serpe said the department is still committed to housing the LGBT library.

“We’re willing to continue to do that, without any limits,” Serpe said. “We don’t have any desire to ask LGBT to move, … but we would certainly understand (that) a more central location might be (more) effective.”

Contact libraries and information reporter Andrew Schiller at [email protected].