4 Holiday Titles to Get You in the Spirit

With Thanksgiving past, marking the official start of the holiday season, we have put on display some of our favorite holiday titles that will make visions of sugar-plums dance in your head!

1453802630.01._SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_Christmas in Graymoor Mansion
by Mark A. Roeder
Written by Bloomington resident, Christmas in Graymoor Mansion tells the story of friends and family who gather in stately Graymoor Mansion to celebrate the holiday season, but a blizzard traps them in the massive Victorian home Christmas Eve and all of Christmas Day. To entertain themselves, the guests take turns sharing their Christmas memories and special holiday stories. Join Sean, his family, and friends in their Christmas celebration. There’s plenty of food, including wonderful desserts, Christmas cookies, and steaming hot cocoa to go with this set of Christmas tales. This is a collection of previously unpublished Christmas tales to be read year after year.

51j2QPiSLhL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A Little Fruitcake: A Childhood in Holidays
by David Valdes Greenwood
Ah, the sweet memories of Christmas. Gifts under the tree. Cookies for Santa. And, of course, the annual fruitcake. For young David Valdes Greenwood, the indomitable “little fruitcake” at the center of these tales, nothing is sweeter than the promise of the holidays. A modern-day Tiny Tim, he holds fast to his ideal of what Christmas should be, despite the huge odds against him: Sub-zero Maine winters. A host of eccentric relatives. And his constant foil: a frugal, God-fearing Grammy who seems determined to bring an end to all his fun. A book that’s “fa-la-la-licious” (Louisville Courier Journal) and filled with funny, charming Yuletide memories (from building a Lego® manger to hunting for the perfect Christmas tree), A Little Fruitcake will inspire even the biggest Grinches around.

51yQgQ8RDUL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_The Christmas Truck
by J. B. Blankenship, illustrated by Cassandre Bolan
Authored by a former GLBT office intern, if you are in need of Christmas cheer or have some cheer to spare, here is a book to warm your heart, a gift for friends to share. So settle in and know, my friend, before you turn the page, that this is a story for everyone: for friends of every age.
When celebrating a special Christmas tradition things go awry. Papa, Dad, their amazing kid, and one fabulous grandmother work together and implement a plan to save Christmas for a child they have never met. It’s a story where joy is found in giving and selfless acts unite families.

MV5BNzc5MTM5Mjc0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzI0MTcxMw@@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_Make the Yuletide Gay (2009)
Olaf “Gunn” Gunnunderson, an out-and-proud gay college student, crawls back into the closet to survive the holidays with his family. He keeps his cool as his quirky Midwestern-hearted parents try to set him up with his high school sweetheart, Abby. But when his boyfriend, Nathan, shows up at their doorstep unannounced, Gunn must put on a charade to keep the relationship a secret. With pressure mounting from all sides, will Gunn come out before the truth does?

All About the “Lammys”

Lambda Literary AwardJust two days ago, the Lambda Literary Foundation announced its winners for the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Award. Lambda Literary Awards were instituted in 1988 and are awarded to published works from the United States published the year current to the award that celebrate or explore LGBT themes. The program has grown from 14 awards in earlier years to 22 awards today! Categories include Humor, Romance, Biography, Mystery, Graphic Novel, and more!

This month in celebration we are highlight some of our favorite Lammy winners from previous years, so stop by and check out our new displays.  But here’s a quick sneak peak for your enjoyment:

Holding Still for as Long as Possible by Zoe Whittall

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Another Country by Scott Herring

Flight of Aquavit


The Dyke & The Dybbuk

You can search our collection of Lammy award winners in our catalog.

For more information on the Lambda Literary Foundation and their awards, be sure to check out their website, and for the list of the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners click here.

On Display: Matthew Shepard

matthew shepardIn anticipation of Judy Shepard’s October 22nd visit to Indiana University to present “The Meaning of Matthew,” the GLBTSSS Library has on display some items in our collection that celebrate the life and legacy of Matthew Shepard.

Stop by and see how this young man continues to inspire acts of courage and how his legacy resonates with all those who fight for equality.

Season’s Readings!

Final papers. Family dinners. Tests. Holiday parties. Presentations. Concerts. Group project meetings.

This time of the year, everyone’s schedule seems like it is full to bursting, and stress levels are on the rise. It might seem like you don’t have time, but consider kicking back with a book for a half hour one night in to take a break from studying (or from your family)!

The times that are the most hectic are those where we need to step back and take a breath; we need to get away from email and chatting, put down your phone, and give your eyes a break from the computer screen after a long day. So cozy up on the couch next to a real or imaginary fire, and take some time for yourself with one of our staff’s favorites!

Carol: Stone Butch Blues, by Leslie Fielding

Stone Butch Blues
One of the most frequently checked out books in our library!










Doug: Openly Bob, by Bob Smith

Openly Bob
I laughed out loud while reading it one summer! ~Doug
















XanderMe: Stories of My Life, by Katharine Hepburn

Me: Stories of My Life
I didn’t have a choice! ~Xander














JeffreyCall Me by Your Name, by Andre Aciman

Call Me by Your Name












KatieThe Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

Picture of Dorian Gray
I get the chills every time I read it! Perfect for a dark and stormy night. ~Katie














Out of town? Ask your local librarian for a suggestion!

Happy holidays!

Dangerous Reading

Banned Books Week is here again! 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the Freedom to Read movement.

Why does it matter?

The US Constitution not only supports the right to free speech, it also promotes freedom of access to information. Organizations (especially libraries, whose primary mission it is to support lifelong learning and provide access to information) that seek to censor certain materials from their surrounding communities are not just withholding information, but are actively damaging the quality of information being provided. An informed population is a critically thinking population. Without the ability to read and think about all aspects of themes addressed in literature (themes which stem from real life), there is necessarily a decline in the critical analysis skills of a population.

In 2010, a school district in California withdrew Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary from their schools after a parent complained that their child had come across the term “oral sex.” Yes, the dictionary contains vulgar terms; it is meant to reflect the vocabulary used by the surrounding culture, a valuable reference resource. Removing an upper-reading-level dictionary from schools inhibits the expansion of the vocabulary of the students (not to mention working towards the utterly ridiculous goal of suppression of personal intellectual exploration).

Some of the most frequently banned books are children’s books, often banned for gay-positive content or ideas deemed too complex to be suitable for children. But as Margaret Mead said, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”  Limiting a child’s ability to explore their world and engage with new ideas is socially destructive. If someone does not learn to reason and in youth, they will not be a reasonable person in adulthood. A large population of adults that do not have critical thinking skills is a society that will not be successful or easy to live in–especially for minority groups.

The ALA keeps track of the most frequently banned books each decade, and also posts an annual list of banned and challenged books.

The stories behind banned and challenged books are not always negative, however. In 2005, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas–a prestigious private school–retained their right to keep Annie Proulx’s novel Brokeback Mountain on their suggested optional reading list for senior-level English and in their library. Despite facing rage from the surrounding majority conservative community, and the withdrawal of approximately $3 million dollars in funding for a new building, the school board voted to keep the book on the reading list. This victory for intellectual freedom shows that even in the face of extreme pressure, school boards and other committees need not submit to censorship.

With most public libraries holding to some variation of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ (IFLA’s) guidelines on collection development, US libraries are privileged to provide access to banned and challenged books throughout the country.

What will you do with this privilege? Take the plunge into some of the best literature ever written: visit your local library and find a banned book to read.

If you’re in the Bloomington area, visit the GLBT Library to find new favorite! Just look for the  , or browse our banned books display.

Back to College

With the new semester starting up next week, now is a good time to take a look at some books on LGBT college life.  Whether you’re a freshman just starting off or a more experienced Indiana University Student, below are some resources that may be of use to you. Stop by the GLBT Student Services Office to see these items and more on display!

 Straight and Gay Talk from IU Students: A 23 minute long DVD recording of a student panel discussion on GLBT – Straight relations and concerns, responding to street interviews with IU students

[DOC STRA 2008]


 The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life 

by John Baez, Jennifer Howd, Rachel Pepper and the Staff of the Princeton Review         [5.340 PRIga 2008]



By Harlen Cohen     [5.540 COHna 2009]



directed by Jeremy Simmons     [DOC TRAN 2005]

An eight episode DVD documentary focusing on the lives of four transgender college students.


edited by Shane L. Windmeyer and Pamela W. Freeman    

[5.546 WINse 2000]


edited by Shane L. Windmeyer     [5.544 WINbr 2005]



If you’re new to IU, a listing of LGBT related campus groups and offices is available at the GLBT Office’s IU Community page.  For keeping up with the latest happenings, the IUB GLBT News and Events page is a great place to start.

Some more helpful websites are listed below.

  • CAMPUS PRIDE: news and info on LGBT college life and leadership
  • LAMBDA 10: a variety of articles and resources for the LGBTA Greek community

A Midsummer Night’s Read

Come in and check out the library’s new book display, “A Midsummer Night’s Read”! Inspired by the magic and fantasy of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, these books were chosen as relaxing reading for a balmy day.  The following is just a selection of what’s available at the library.

 Were the World Mine  [WERE 2009]While rehearsing for a high school production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Timothy discovers a secret love potion that begins to turn the residents of his conservative town lesbian and gay in this award winning movie musical.
 Myths and Magic: Legends of Love Anthology
edited by Anne Regan  [9.604 DREmy 2010]A collection of retold myths, legends, and fairy tales that focus on gay romance.
 Fairy Tales : Traditional Stories Retold for Gay Men
by Peter Cashorali  [9.504 CASfa 1995]This retelling of tales includes such classics as Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, The Frog King, and The Ugly Duckling.
 Wisewomen and Boggy-boos
by Jessica Salmonson & Jules Faye
[8.006 SALwi 1992]A dictionary of Lesbian Fairy Lore
 Venus as a Boy
by Luke Sutherland  [9.402 SUTve 2004]While turning into gold, a young bisexual Londoner relates the story of his unusual life.
 The Dyke and  the Dybbuk
by Ellen Galford   [9.406 GALdy 1994]A soul-stealing demon tries to track down a taxi driving lesbian film critic in this comedic tale that contains elements of medieval Jewish folklore.

Interested in finding more GLBT fantasy books? The GLBT Fantasy Fiction Resources blog has lots of great information and book reviews.  This is also a good place to find reviews on GLBT science fiction as well.

Celebrating the Rainbow

“There’s an old saying among flag makers: A true flag can never be designed, but is torn from the soul of a people.” ~ Gilbert Baker*

Rainbow Books Poster in Wells Library Lobby
Rainbow Books Poster in Wells Library Lobby

Through the end of May, the GLBT Library will be celebrating the Rainbow Flag with a colorful display in the Wells Library Lobby.

In 1978, Gilbert Baker hand-dyed and sewed fabric to create the first Rainbow Flag for that year’s Gay Freedom Day Parade (now known as San Francisco Pride). While his original eight colors have been reduced to six (the original flag included pink and turquoise, while indigo has been replaced with royal blue), the flag has become an enduring symbol of gay pride.

The striped flag has had something of a checkered history. The article “Rainbow Banners and Gay Politics” in the North American Vexillological** Association newsletter discusses some of the political controversy surrounding the inclusion of Rainbow Flag banners during the 1979 Gay Freedom Day Parade (the same year that Harvey Milk, a friend of Baker, was murdered). To learn even more about flags and logos used by the LGBTQA community check out this Wikipedia article on LGBT symbols.

Baker discusses his creation in the video below, made by In the Life Media.


* Metro Weekly, 10/18/2007 http://metroweekly.com/feature/?ak=3031
** Vexillology = the study of flags http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vexillology


Should we judge books by their covers?

handwritten, anonymous note complaining about library displayThis week a handwritten note appeared in our library’s display of new books. The note says, “I wish there were more non-sexualized images of women displayed here…”

I want to start by apologizing to the person who wrote this note. I regret that our display caused any discomfort. The last thing that we want to do is alienate those visiting our library or make anyone feel that they are being misrepresented. We pride ourselves on collecting books that celebrate the diversity of gender expression and lift up the communities we serve. I’m very grateful that one of our visitors cared about our mission and expressed concern about a possible issue.

I also want to make it clear that cover images do not play a role in decisions about which books get added to our collection and they were not a consideration when creating the display, which is meant to show off our new acquisitions. The question this note brings up, however, is whether or not we should judge books by their cover. Should we avoid buying books with covers that seem to go against the values of the GLBT Student Support Services Office? Should we avoid putting potentially offensive covers on display? Do we have to combat every potentially harmful image with one that expresses an opposite viewpoint?

To begin to answer those questions we must consider the purpose of book covers. Publishers use them primarily as marketing tools that represent the contents of books and appeal to their target audience. Authors rarely get a say in their cover art [read one author’s discussion about the depiction of race on the cover of her book at http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2009/07/23/aint-that-a-shame/] and publishers face pressures from the booksellers who buy their books and from the sensibilities of the book buyers [Publisher’s Weekly on how the events of September 11, 2001 impacted cover design: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/print/20060821/4646-some-covers-speak-too-loudly-for-their-words-.html ]. Covers’ styles are strongly influenced by genre [view a flickr collection of gay and lesbian pulp book covers at http://www.flickr.com/photos/hangfirebooks/sets/72157601656991552/] and even national tastes [The Millions’ comparison of US and UK covers for the same books: http://www.themillions.com/2012/02/judging-books-by-their-covers-u-s-vs-u-k-3.html].

Making selections based on cover design would involve making value judgments, something librarians strive to avoid. Our collection development policy states that “[t]he GLBTSSS Library, in accordance with the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement, does not want to restrict the purchase, donation, or circulation of any material due to the viewpoints and messages expressed therein” (http://www.indiana.edu/~glbt/assets/Uploads/Collectiondevelopmentpolicy.pdf) and that statement also applies to the images presented on the cover.

Our library is open to the public and we don’t consider it appropriate or practical to allow one person’s opinion to guide decisions about what stays and goes. If we removed or hid every item that an individual finds offensive we might end up hiding a part of the very community we serve. Take the events in Hillsborough County, Florida for example. One government official was upset by the library’s display for Gay Pride and successfully passed a policy that the Hillsborough County Government abstain from acknowledging, promoting, and participating in any gay pride recognition or events. A transcript of the meeting, including the responses of the public (everyone who spoke opposed the policy) is available online (http://www.htv22.org/htv/caption/download.cfm?file=bc050615.rtf) and the Tampa Bay Times wrote about the story as recently as last year (http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/politifact-florida-gay-pride-ban-is-discriminatory/1153057). Even if we did decide to censor displayed books based on their covers in an attempt to avoid discomforting those who visit our library, how would we decide what is appropriate? Whether or not an image is sexualized or prurient is a subjective matter.

That being said, we strive to be sensitive to our users’ needs and want our library to be as accessible as possible. We have taken this note to heart and will attempt to use our displays to showcase a variety of aesthetics whenever possible because doing so will further our goal of serving the informational and entertainment needs of those who use our library.

Curious about the covers that prompted the note? Images of the books that were on display at the time the note was discovered are provided below so that you can make up your own mind:

*Coincidentally, a documentary about the way that women are portrayed in media is going to be presented tonight, March 28th, at 6:30 in the Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union. If you want to know more about the movie or the impact of sexualized images of women check out their website at www.missrepresentation.org.

New nonfiction at the GLBT Library

Last month was a bit like Christmas around here, with our latest batch of acquisitions arriving and several generous donations. First, we’ll take a look at some of our new nonfiction titles. As always, stop by for more, and stay tuned for our new fiction and DVDs!

 Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience
by Katrina Karkazis
6.009 KARfi 2008

Examines the contemporary controversies over the medical management of intersexuality in the United States from the multiple perspectives of those most intimately involved. This work exposes the contentious disagreements – and all that those debates imply about gender and the changing landscape of intersex management.


 Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism
by Scott Herring
3.250 HERan 2010

Expands the possibilities of queer studies beyond the city limits, investigating the lives of rural queers across the United States, from faeries in the Midwest to lesbian separatist communes on the coast of Northern California.


 Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Life
1.400 PETst 2011

Covers topics ranging from coming out to being out in the workplace; from dealing with the joy and complexity of same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies (including how to propose and write meaningful vows) to handling the legal paperwork every couple needs.


 Queer America: A People’s GLBT History of the United States
by Vicki L. Eaklor
2.640 EAKqu 2008

Focuses on 20th/21st- century U. S. history as it pertains to GLBT history. Major issues and events such as the Stonewall riot, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the military, same-sex marriage, gay rights, gay pride, organizations and alliances, AIDS, and legal battles and court cases are discussed. Also included are sidebars highlighting major debates, legal landmarks and key individuals.


 Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality
by Gayle Salamon
6.008 SALas 2010

Considering questions of transgendered embodiment via phenomenology (Maurice Merleau-Ponty), psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud and Paul Ferdinand Schilder), and queer theory, Salamon advances an alternative theory of normative and non-normative gender, proving the value and vitality of trans experience for thinking about embodiment.


 Just One of the Guys?: Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality
by Kristen Schilt
4.828 SCHju 2010

The fact that men and women continue to receive unequal treatment at work is a point of contention among politicians, the media, and scholars. Common explanations for this disparity range from biological differences between the sexes to the conscious and unconscious biases that guide hiring and promotion decisions. Just One of the Guys? sheds new light on this phenomenon by analyzing the unique experiences of transgender men–people designated female at birth whose gender identity is male–on the job.