Chris Gonzalez Library and Archives
Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, The Chris Gonzalez Library and Archives is the principal circulating LGBT library in the Midwest. Housed inside the office building of Indy Pride, Inc., the collection currently has over 8,000 titles, a vast archive of local and national LGBT publications, including The Mirror Magazine, The Works Magazine and the Heartland Newspaper collections. The library is also the proud recipient of the popular Bob and Margaret Green drag scene video collection. Other notable items in the archive is a collection of more than 200 T-shirts from legions of GBLT festivals and parades across the United States, valuable artwork by local artists, LGBT paraphernalia, mementos, and rare GLBT collectibles.
The brainchild of Michael Bohr, a lifelong resident of Indianapolis and graduate of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, 1966 and Xavier University, 1970, started the archive in 1993 with the donation of his personal collection, which contained 1,600 books and other memorabilia of gay life in Indianapolis. During the 1980s and 1990s, Acquired Immune Dificiency Syndrome (AIDS) took the lives of many friends of Bohr's, and, thus, served as a catalyst in the creation of the library. Additionally, Bohr's awareness of other GLBT libraries, particularly the Gerber/Hart Library in Chicago served as inspiration in establishing a library in his hometown of Indianapolis.
From the beginning, Bohr’s inclination was to collect and preserve the history of gay life in Indianapolis. Thus, by erecting the Chris Gonzalez Library and Archives, it became the place that espouses and commemorates the lives of same gender loving people and a repository of GLBT titles and memorabilia for generations to come. Gay and lesbian publications like "The Mirror", The Works and The Screamer, which is believed to be the city's earliest gay publication serve as examples. The Screamer was published on mimeographed paper in 1966 and its writers worked undercover by using pseudonyms.
The Chris Gonzalez Library and Archives became a reality in March 1995, in collaboration with Diversity, Inc., a now defunct LGBT community center in Indianapolis. While Diversity's focus was on the future, serving as a public identified central clearinghouse for people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, the library's role was to keep a shining light on the past. Between 1997 and 2007, the library went through several changes and a few different sponsors. Indeed, with no other alternatives, the collection was placed in storage for approximately a year. However, Bohr continued seeking additional collections and some were simply donated by people in the community.
In April 2008, Indy Pride, Inc. forged a relationship with The Chris Gonzalez Library and Archives and became its sole benefactor. Indy Pride, Inc. is a community-based, non-profit organization that seeks to "celebrate and educate others about the rich historical and cultural legacy of gay, bisexual and transgender peoples."
The Chris Gonzalez Library and Archives was named for Christopher T. Gonzalez, a local supporter and activist of gay and lesbian youth in Indiana. He is credited with establishing the Indiana Youth Group, an award-winning, non-profit organization that caters to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. He succumbed to AIDS in April, 1994.
- Higgins, Will. Indianapolis Star. 2008-14-6, pg. B1. Retrieved 2010-24-2.
- Diana Penner.Indianapolis Star. 1995-5-3, pg. B.3. Retrieved 2010-24-2.
- Indy Pride