When he was coming out, Glenn Grossman went hunting for books and magazines about people who'd been there and done that, "personal stories," he says. Later, he wanted to read more widely about gay history, politics and society.
Now Grossman--who's a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill's School of Public Health--is working to create a resource center at UNC that would be a "comprehensive archive" of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer life. Supporters are seeking donations of books, periodicals, videos--everything from scholarly journals to pop culture mags--to get an LGBTQ library started.
The idea came out of a report issued earlier this year by a provost's planning committee on the "LGBTQ climate" at UNC-Chapel Hill. The committee found that while the atmosphere for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer folk has improved in the last decade, more needs to be done to end the isolation often experienced by LBGTQ students and faculty.
The report found UNC-Chapel Hill lags behind some of the country's other leading public universities in not having a resource center dedicated to gay life. Many private universities (including Duke) have them. Grossman, who served on the committee, says an LGBTQ resource library at UNC would help the university fulfill its public service goals.
"One of the missions of the university is to extend information to the citizens of North Carolina," he says. "An LGBTQ library would be open to everyone. We'd collaborate with off-campus organizations. It could have a dramatic effect on the whole state."
Supporters are hoping such arguments will persuade university officials to come up with the modest funding needed for the library. Plans are to have the center up and running by the fall. White Rabbit bookstore in Raleigh and Cameron's in Chapel Hill have agreed to be drop-off points for donated books, movies and magazines. For more information, email Grossman at firstname.lastname@example.org.