Posted by: Emily | May 13, 2008

First thoughts from GLBT ALMS

I had a marvelous time at the GLBT ALMS conference at CLAGS last weekend. Besides presenting my first-ever conference paper (about intersections of queer pedagogy and library instruction; more on this later), I met some wonderful people, attended some interesting panels, and learned a lot from what other people had to say about both successes and failures. A few highlights:

  • Alana Kumbier’s discussion of what went wrong with a drag king oral history project was very interesting, and brought up the challenges we face when we try to ‘do-for’ communities rather than doing-with or doing-alongside.
  • As usual, Jenna was a pleasure to listen to, and her nuts-and-bolts presentation was entertaining and wonderfully practical. I left thinking I could start a zine collection in my library.
  • Kelly Shortandqueer gave a great presentation about the Denver Zine Library, and spoke to some of the political concerns that he and others brought to that project. DZL has an interesting circulation policy–no fines, and you don’t have to leave identifying information. To check out a zine, you have to visit the Library three times in order to establish some community accountability. This struck me as an interesting solution to the problem of how we can compel people to return materials without fines, although I was left concerned about who would be excluded from a community built this way, e.g., people with mobility problems, people with time commitments that make visiting a library difficult. Having wrestled with many of these and other concerns when setting up a circulating collection at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, it was great to hear about other community libraries grappling with these questions.
  • I also felt like the last queer on earth to hear about QZAP, the Queer Zine Archive Project–downloadable queer zines! Thanks, Laura and Christopher.
  • Mike, KR, Analisa and Ellen presented a panel about taxonomies and folksonomies and whereever the twain shall meet. I am excited to think and talk more about how we can bring these two access strategies together.

And there was plenty more that I’ll post about during the week. And as soon as I figure out how, I’ll post my own piece, along with further reflections on queering library pedagogy.



  1. Emily, this all sounds so interesting, and I can’t wait for you to post your paper here.

    And I’m curious about Alana’s presentation–what *did* go wrong with the drag king oral history project? I am intrigued.

  2. Nothing with ALMS, but where did you find the great pic at the top?

  3. I found the image on a free stock photo site. I cropped it to fit the banner size and played with the color contrast a bit. It is a great pic, no?

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