“Glorious and inglorious complexity.” The phrase captures Barbara Grier to perfection, and is used by Katherine V. Forrest on the dust jacket of Indomitable, this new, richly detailed biography of the woman who “changed, for the better, every lesbian life…” as Lee Lynch adds. That means your life, even if you don’t recognize the name.
I’m not exhorting you to read Indomitable (you should). There’s something more important that you can do from your seat.
Biographies of queer people are rare enough, and biographies of lesbian women are disproportionately even more rare. Meanwhile, generations to come will want to research and know “how it happened.” How we faced the rank and venal prejudices against us. How we built community and survived in spite of the hate. They can’t know if books like Indomitable: The Life of Barbara Grier aren’t in libraries.
We all know that there are plenty of people, especially in certain states, who want our history to disappear (along with us, for that matter). Having LGBTQ books in the library is one of those Act Local things you can do. It is exactly what Barbara Grier and Donna McBride devoted their lives to! Get the books out there and they can’t possibly burn them all.
So encourage and support your local library to be inclusive. That is what libraries do: libraries collect and preserve in the interests of all of their patrons.
That. Means. You. Too.
So what you can do is go to the web site of your local library. You probably won’t even need a library card (though you should have one). Every site is different, but look under “Contact Us” and you will probably see a link to the form telling your library that you want them to acquire a book.
It may be called “collection request” or something similar. If you don’t see something like that, sally forth to the general “ask a librarian” or “feedback” type forms and links.
If you’re affiliated in any way with an academic library, ask them to acquire a copy! Researchers are on campuses everywhere looking for our stories and their history. Also, LGBT History must now be taught in California public schools. That makes Indomitable perfect for high school libraries.
Here’s what I submitted to my local library:
Indomitable: The Life of Barbara Grier
Author: Joanne Passet
Publisher: Bella Books
This is a new, hardcover biography of one of the most important figures in the Women in Print movement from the 1970s and for decades after. It belongs in any collection that is inclusive of LGBTQ history. It can be acquired from the usual distributors.
Edit based on excellent suggestion from librarian MJ Lowe:
I want to read this new biography of one of the most important figures in the Women in Print movement. And it belongs in our collection because it is inclusive of LGBTQ history. I believe it can be acquired from your usual distributors.
Indomitable is exactly the kind of book that librarians really do want to have in their collection. It’ll take you not even five minutes. Time is the only thing you have to lose. Your community gains access to our history.
If Barbara were here she would say, “This is something you MUST do. It is VITAL and will SAVE LIVES.”
(If you made the request, wasn’t that easy? You can do the same with lesbian fiction, including ebooks. Libraries really do want to acquire what their patrons want to read – see comment below from librarian MJ Lowe. If your library acquires the book you request, get your card and check it out.)