Cover image for Daring to find our names : the search for lesbigay library history
Daring to find our names : the search for lesbigay library history
Carmichael, James V., Jr. (James Vinson), 1946-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xiv, 251 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Reading Level:
1480 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z682.4.G39 D37 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Outlines theoretical and methodological problems in documenting lesbigay history generally (and specifically, the history of lesbigay professionals, particularly those in the feminized professions like librarianship). This book will appeal especially to historians of traditionally underrepresented populations (women, Native Americans, African Americans, lesbigays). In particular, chapters on methodological problems in lesbigay research, separatism, and biases created by gender bias will pull together for the first time integrated feminist/radical perspectives on library history. The authors call for more responsible treatment of such subjects as the outing of historical figures, and conversely, a more open approach to research on gender outlaws in the workplace.

Heralds a new era in historical research in which the collective subjective of a particular group of hidden minority voices is given front stage. Leading scholars from a variety of disciplines examine the theoretical and methodological problems of lesbigay history and apply them to librarianship, one of the despised feminine professions. Founders and early leaders of the Task Force for Gay Liberation of the American Library Association, the oldest professionally endorsed gay task force in the world, reflect on their early struggles to gain recognition, and describe how sexism, homophobia, and discrimination have taken a toll in their personal and professional lives.

These stories challenge the notion that libraries have unequivocally defended the intellectual freedom and integrity of all their citizens, and provide a poignant counterpoint to the culture wars and political correctness debates within the lesbigay community. Because of societal taboos, until recently, lesbigay history has been invisible to the majority of its participants. Directors and workers in some of the world's leading gay and lesbian archives also share their experiences in collecting and making acccessible ephemera and other partial historical remains to restore a heritage and identity to lesbigay citizens.

Author Notes

JAMES V. CARMICHAEL is Associate Professor, Department of Library and Information Studies, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. /e

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The papers gathered here stem from a program presented at the 1995 ALA Annual Conference. They address such topics as stereotyping within librarianship, the gay purge at the Library of Congress in the 1950s, and how Liberating Minds (1997), a collection of librarians' coming-out stories, was compiled. Five papers take up the history of what is now called the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Task Force of ALA; four more discuss the role of "lesbigay" (i.e., lesbian, bisexual, and gay male) libraries and archives in preserving "lesbigay" history; and the book's final section presents the experiences of three openly gay librarians.

Library Journal Review

The public library often plays the unacknowledged role of first sanctuary for many a young gay and lesbian person as they struggle to define themselves. So perhaps it is not surprising that the library also becomes an employment opportunity of choice for those same persons later on in life. The strong connection between libraries and sexual minorities forms the crux of this latest collection of essays, edited by an associate professor of library studies at the University of North Carolina. Libraries, however, are not always the bastion of free and independent thought. Local prejudices, as well as the less than tolerant climate of society in general, often color the employment picture for gay and lesbian librarians. Broader in scope than the groundbreaking Liberating Minds (Professional Media, LJ 6/1/97), this volume nevertheless relies on the anecdotal to illustrate the sometimes life-threatening difficulties gay and lesbian library personnel must face. Essays include methodological problems when researching issues of interest to gays and lesbians, a wonderfully intimate and loving story by a University of Alabama professor on her work editing the letters of Southern writer Lillian Smith, as well as an account by famed lesbian activist Barbara Gittings on the founding of the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the American Library Association in 1970. This collection may open some eyes, if not minds, and should be included on any professional shelf. Heavily annotated, it will prove an invaluable resource for future research on the subject as well.¬ĎJeffery Ingram, Newport P.L., OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

James V. Carmichael, Jr.Caitlin Ryan and Judy BradfordChristine L. WilliamsMargaret Rose GladneyLouise S. RobbinsNorman G. KesterBarbara GittingsKay Tobin Lahusen and Barbara GittingsIsrael D. FishmanJanet CooperCal GoughBrenda J. MarstonPolly J. ThistlethwaiteJim KepnerPhil Parkinson and Chris ParkinDonald H. ForbesRichard L. HuffineJohn A. Barnett
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: Makeover Without a Mirror--A Face for Lesbigay Library Historyp. 1
Part 1 Finding Our Names: Theory, Problems, and Context
1. Methodological Issues in Research with Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexualsp. 27
2. A Lesbigay Gender Perplex: Sexual Stereotyping and Professional Ambiguity in Librarianshipp. 37
3. Biographical Research on Lesbigay Subjects: Editing the Letters of Lillian Smithp. 47
4. A Closet Curtained by Circumspection: Doing Research on the McCarthy Era Purge of Gays from the Library of Congressp. 55
5. Queer Histories/Queer Librarians: The Historical Development of a Gay Monographp. 65
Part 2 Telling Our Names: the Pioneers
6. Gays in Library Land: The Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the American Library Association: The First Sixteen Yearsp. 81
7. A Personal Task Force Scrapbook: "Incunabula," 1971-1972 and Afterp. 95
8. Reclaiming a Foundingp. 107
9. Librarians as Cultural Enforcersp. 113
10. The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Task Force of the American Library Association: A Chronology of Activities, 1970-1995p. 121
Part 3 Saving Our Names: Lesbigay Library/Archival Collections
11. Archivists, Activists, and Scholars: Creating a Queer Historyp. 135
12. Building "A Home of Our Own": The Construction of the Lesbian Herstory Archivesp. 153
13. An Accidental Institution: How and Why a Gay and Lesbian Archives?p. 175
14. Safe Harbour: The Origin and Growth of the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealandp. 183
Part 4 Owning Our Names: Gay Graduates
15. Destination Libraryp. 205
16. Social Responsibility and Acceptable Prejudicep. 213
17. Out Publicly: The Professional and Personal of Gay Public Librarianshipp. 217
Indexp. 233
About the Editor and Contributorsp. 247