Kansas LGBTQ+ Leadership Symposium Presentations

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Wednesday, October 12th
9:00 AM

Welcome and Keynote: The Power of Being

Brandon West, Project Q&A

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

The power of Being plays a crucial role in our work as librarians and an even more critical role as community leaders—every time we choose to "be," we make a choice that has ripple effects. Whether you choose to be afraid, be visible, or be a leader, our actions shape our community. Drawing on personal experiences, Brandon West tells his Story of Being, which led to him becoming a Queer activist librarian, and founder of the leading nonprofit organization working to educate, empower and raise visibility for the over 2.9 Million LGBTQIA+ individuals who call rural America home.

10:00 AM

The Rainbow Read-In: A Place to Build Community

Elizabeth Johnson, University of Missouri-Kansas City

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

The UMKC University Libraries held the second Rainbow Read-In (RRI) virtually in June 2022. Readers presented either their own works if they identify as LGBTQIA+ or works written by LGBTQIA+ authors. Nine participants presented and sixty people attended. Our first Rainbow Read-In included ten presenters and forty attendees in 2021.

The goal of this presentation is to share how we created a safe space to showcase works from within the queer community. The objectives of this program are to discuss the origins of the RRI, the formation of the committee, lessons learned, short- and long-term goals, potential areas for improvement, and examples of the range of queer voices represented.

New events usually take time to become established, but our event had a head start. UMKC University Libraries hosted the first African American Read-In (AARI) in 2009. As the co-chair of the AARI committee for six years and the creator of the RRI, this presentation will address how the AARI served as a foundation and inspiration for creating a safe and supportive environment for building community for the RRI.

We created the transformative program that we wanted to attend. The initial success of this innovative event proves that, as a bunch of library nerds, if you build it, they will come.

11:00 AM

Small steps, big impact: How one library introduced LGBTQ+ programming in a small conservative community

Mikaela Neubauer, Brookings Public Library

11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

The last several years have seen community backlash against LGBTQ+-centered events, displays, and literature in libraries. This precedent can make it intimidating to introduce LGBTQ+ programming, especially in towns with conservative populations. However, there are methods that can help organizations find support and get residents comfortable with LGBTQ+ programming. The Brookings Public Library in Brookings, SD began the process of integrating LGBTQ+-centered events into their programming by bringing their community to the forefront.

In 2021, Brookings residents were invited to learn, speak, and be involved in LGBTQ+ issues at the BPL’s “Building Inclusive Spaces with our LGBTQ+ Community” panel discussion, which featured LGBTQ+ community leaders, local advocates, and allies. By providing educational resources and queer perspectives, this panel brought residents together to work towards the common goals of educating themselves and collaborating with their queer neighbors to promote inclusivity in their city and state.

This presentation will outline examples and impacts of the programs introduced by the Brookings Public Library to serve as a framework for participants interested in implementing LGBTQ+ programming at their own organizations. It will cover methods of easing LGBTQ+ programming into a reluctant community, such as pursuing local partnerships, tailoring programs to community needs, and mitigating the potential for conflict and harm. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of further program ideas and an overview of important resources to turn to when planning LGBTQ+-centered events.

11:45 AM

Lunch Break

Fort Hays State University

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Take a break and we'll see you back at 1 p.m.

1:00 PM

Transgender Children’s Books in the Public Library

Tom R. Taylor, Andover Public Library

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

In 2019-2020 the Andover Public Library received book challenges on three books in the children’s collection featuring transgender main characters, George by Alex Gino, Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart and I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings. The Library Board rejected the challenges and the books remain in the children’s collections. This presentation will share the story of the challenges and all that transpired, including media attention and a protest. It will demonstrate how the director and the library board rejected the book challenges. This specific example demonstrates some of the best practices for facing book challenges on LGBTQ content.

2:00 PM

Documenting the Kansas LGBTQ+ Digital Presence: A new initiative by the Kansas Archive-It Consortium (KAIC)

Mary Elizabeth Downing-Turner, Fort Hays State University
Michael Church, Kansas State Historical Society
Crystal Hutchinson, Fort Hays State University

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

The Kansas Archive-It Consortium (KAIC) is a statewide organization with members from the Kansas Historical Society, FHSU, ESU, KSU, KU, WSU, and Washburn. Since 2017, KAIC has worked to preserve and make accessible web content that aligns with each member’s collecting areas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, members of KAIC worked together to collectively preserve relevant web content. This initiative demonstrated that KAIC could effectively work together on joint projects. In January 2022, KAIC members approved an initiative to actively collect web content relevant to the LGBTQ+ community within Kansas for the purpose of preserving digital ephemera of the LGBTQ+ experience within the state. This presentation will:

-Discuss the necessity for this type of initiative.

- Identify the scope of the collections.

- Examine challenges for collecting and authoritative methods for presenting these collections.

- Call for members of the Kansas LGBTQ+ community to identify and nominate web content to be preserved as part of this initiative.

3:00 PM

Revealing a Community's Heritage: the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America

Stuart Hinds, University of Missouri - Kansas City

3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

The Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA) was founded in 2009 to collect, preserve, and make accessible the documents and artifacts that reflect the histories of the LGBTQ communities in the Kansas City region. Originally a partnership between the University of Missouri – Kansas City Special Collections and Archives Division, the Kansas City Museum, and the Jackson County Historical Society, by 2014 two of the partners retreated from the project and it has been solely an initiative at UMKC since. GLAMA has been wildly successful in many respects – response from community donors; interest on the part of student, faculty, and community researchers; and uncovering a previously hidden history of the region. This presentation will focus on the evolution of GLAMA, resources available to users, and public-facing projects that have emerged from the collections.

4:00 PM

GLSEN Rainbow Library

Will Rapp, GLSEN Kansas

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM

GLSEN Kansas, as a part of a national network works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. GLSEN believes that every student has the right to a safe, supportive, and LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 education. Our research and experience has shown that there are four major ways that schools can cultivate a safe and supportive environment for all of their students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression: developing supportive educators, advocating for comprehensive inclusive policies, providing inclusive curriculum and supporting student led GSAs.

The GLSEN Rainbow Library was started as a chapter project of GLSEN Connecticut, and has grown into a nationwide program in just a few years. GLSEN's Rainbow Library is a program that sends LGBTQ+ affirming K-12 text sets to schools across select states - for free! GLSEN also provides a number of supports for Rainbow Library recipients to help recipients fight book bans and censorship. This session will share the details of the program and provide details on supports available to librarians and school staff.