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stonewall-library0Many people don’t know that the largest circulating LGBT library is right here in South Florida. Stonewall Library and Archives has over 20,000 books and 1,000 DVDs, with new titles being added every week. In addition, they have over 60 national and regional periodicals in their John Graves Reading Room.

 

 

stonewall-library1

stonewall-library2

 

Many people don’t know that the largest circulating LGBT library is right here in South Florida. Stonewall Library and Archives has over 20,000 books and 1,000 DVDs, with new titles being added every week. In addition, they have over 60 national and regional periodicals in their John Graves Reading Room.

 

The library was started in 1973 by a group of Florida Atlantic University students who were trading books amongst themselves. They realized that they had hundreds of books and decided to open a library. It eventually became a non-profit organization and soon it became a circulating library, merging with Southern Gay Archives in 1980. For many years, the Stonewall Library & Archives were located at the old location of the GLCC on Andrews Avenue; it moved to its current location at ArtServe on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale last April.

 

stonewall-library3Program Director Jack Rutland said that the new location offers almost double the space and the effect can be seen with their programming, which is attracting many people.

“If you build it, they will come,” he joked. “And that was true for us.”

 

CAMPING OUT

 

There is also a museum at the library and many exhibits are in the works. “Oh, Mary, That’s So Camp!” is up now through October 30. The exhibit focuses on the phenomenon of gay camp. The idea came to Rutland through author Andrew Holleran, who was speaking at Stonewall and said to Rutland that he missed “camp.”

 

“He said, ‘It was so lighthearted and fun,'” Rutland explained. “‘People are so serious now.'”

 

Rutland heartily agreed. A year ago, he started to ready anything he could get his hands on about the subject and started to write.

 

“It just poured out of me,” he said.

 

“Camp is really joyful,” he continued. “It has its own language, dress code, cultural icons.”

 

stonewall-library4Rutland learned that a lot of his younger gay brothers and sisters didn’t know what camp was, so he was very clear with examples like “Xanadu” and Mae West.

 

So far, the exhibit has had incredible feedback. “We thought we would have grumblings. It’s sort of politically correct.”

 

“It’s important. It’s so prevalent in our community,” he added.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

In addition to the many free programs, there are lecture series, book groups and movie nights at the Stonewall Library and Archives.

 

“There’s lots of stuff going on here,” Rutland said.

 

In January, there will be an exhibit that focuses on pop culture in the 1990s called “The Gay ’90s.” In spring, there will be an exhibit on the Women’s Music Movement and then in the winter, there will be a leather exhibit. There will also be a huge exhibit looking at the AIDS pandemic.

 

For more information on the Stonewall Library & Archives, visit Stonewall-Library.org

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