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Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) is part of the American Library Association and is dedicated to serving and meeting the information needs of LGBT individuals.[1] The Round Table also serves library professionals who are LGBT. One of the core value's of the ALA is to reflect the diversity of the United States by "providing a full spectrum of resources and services to the communities [they] serve."[2]

The GLBTRT provides an online toolkit for library professionals who want to promote or display LGBT materials. The toolkit also explains how to deal with complaints from the public.[3]

In 1970, the GLBTRT was formed. It was originally called the Task Force on Gay Liberation, and it was formed within the American Library Association. It is the oldest LGBT professional organization in the United States. Barbara Gittings became its coordinator in 1971.

In the early 1970s, the GLBTRT (then called the Task Force on Gay Liberation) campaigned to have books about the gay liberation movement at the Library of Congress reclassified from HQ 71–471 (“Abnormal Sexual Relations, Including Sexual Crimes”). In 1972, after receiving a letter requesting the reclassification, the Library of Congress agreed to make the shift, reclassifying those books into a newly created category, HQ 76.5 (“Homosexuality, Lesbianism—Gay Liberation Movement, Homophile Movement”).

In 1971 the GLBTRT created the first award for GLBT books, the Stonewall Book Award, which celebrates books of exceptional merit that relate to LGBT issues.[4] Patience and Sarah by Alma Routsong (pen name Isabel Miller) was the first winner.[4]

In 1992, American Libraries published a photo of the GLBTRT (then called the Gay and Lesbian Task Force) on the cover of its July/August issue, drawing both criticism and praise from the library world. Some commenters called the cover “in poor taste” and accused American Libraries of “glorifying homosexuality,” while others were supportive of the move. Christine Williams, who wrote an essay about the controversy surrounding the cover, concluded that in the mid-90s, the library world was “not an especially welcoming place to gays and lesbians."

In 2010, the GLBTRT announced a new committee, the Over the Rainbow Committee.[5] This committee annually compiles a bibliography of books that show the GLBT community in a favorable light and reflects the interests of adults. The bibliographies provide guidance to libraries in the selection of positive GLBT materials.The bibliographies are split by age with the Rainbow Book List providing material for children and teens, and the Over the Rainbow Book List supplying titles for adults.[6]

In 2015, ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and the GLBTRT assumed oversight of GBLT Book month which occurs annually in June.[7] Their efforts to increase visibility of GLBT material included promoting the Rainbow Books and the Over the Rainbow Books lists, marketing on social media using a specific hashtag, and providing resources for libraries to participate in GLBT Book month.

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