In celebration of June, LGBT Pride Month. . .
Following their mission of providing communities with access to all points of view, libraries and archives have been at the forefront of documenting, collecting, and providing access to LGBT history and culture. While much of this work has been in the print environment, institutions are promoting wider access to this material through digitization and open online access. Not unexpectedly the larger coastal city institutions have blazed the path to online collections, for example, the New York Public Library’s LGBT and HIV/AIDS Activist Collections and San Francisco’s GLBT Historical Archive’s online radio show archive, Gayback Machine.
Collections of LGBT material certainly exist between the coasts, often cared for by individuals with a passion for ensuring the longevity of a history not always (or at least not historically sought and collected) in traditional city or state archives. The Chris Gonazlez Library & Archives in Indianapolis, Indiana is one such labor of love. The core of the collection was donated by long time Indianapolis native Michael Bohr and is now supported by the nonprofit, Indy Pride. While the library is open to the public and provides access to a variety of LGBT related materials including fiction, nonfiction, media, and historic primary resource material, resource constraints limit the number of public open hours. It was with this in mind that IUPUI University Library partnered with the Chris Gonzalez Library & Archives and the Kinsey Institute Library to digitized and provide open, public access to the full text of Indianapolis LGBT newsletters from 1966-1991. The collection gives evidence to the early, vibrant, and active LGBT culture outside America’s larger cities.