Brian Watson, a second-year master’s student in the Information and Library Sciences program at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been awarded a Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association.
The Carnegie-Whitney grant program provides funds for the preparation of popular or scholarly reading lists, webliographies, indexes, and other library resources that will be useful to users of all types of libraries in the United States. Watson’s project, “50 Years On, Many Years Past,” aims to fill an often-overlooked need for historical representation of the LGBTQ+ identity by developing an open source, easily reusable bibliography chosen, reviewed, and annotated by historians of sexuality, sex educators, and librarians active in sexuality fields.
“Over the course of my career I have tried to emphasize interdisciplinary research, practical application, and public outreach,” Watson said. “I believe strongly that the work of the ivory tower must also be the work of the ivied public libraries, which is to say that in the work we do as members of--or students at--the academy should be in service of creating a better world for our communities and the people around us. I am very thankful for the American Library Association and the ALA Publishing Office for recognizing these goals with the Carnegie-Whitney Grant.”
The project arose through a discussion Watson had with a historian of sexuality, who said there were very few resources available for librarians and students to use for displays of the history of the LQBTQ+ community. Watson, who works as a graduate assistant for the Kinsey Institute Library and Special Collection at IU, recognized the same issue.
“I've observed a large gap in the number of resources available to the public compared to academic historians,” Watson said. “I also noticed that many of the pride displays each summer would lack so much of the fantastic, accessible, and perspective-altering histories of sexuality that had been published each year, and in my research found that there was a lack of resources available to librarians looking to purchase more.”
Watson will use the grant award of $5,000 to hire a Ph.D. candidate or an undergraduate who is interested in the history of sexuality or digital archives to assist with the project.
The Carnegie-Whitney Grant is based off a fund first established by legendary philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1902. The Carnegie Fund merged with a fund established by James Lyman Whitney, the longtime director of the Boston Public Library, in 1910.
“It’s such an honor for Brian to be awarded the Carnegie-Whitney Grant,” said Ron Day, the chair of the Information and Library Science program at Luddy. “Our profession is about finding the best ways to fulfill the needs of users, and Brian’s project certainly embodies the best in what librarians and archivists can contribute to research and the public sphere.”