The Stonewall Book Awards of the American Library Association are given annually to English-language books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience. The awards are given to works published in the United States in the previous calendar year, although works published elsewhere may be considered. (For the purpose of award eligibility, the calendar year shall be understood to include the 12 months from October 1 through September 30). Reprintings of previously published books will not be considered. However, substantially changed new editions of previously published works and English translations of foreign-language books are eligible for the awards.
The Book Award Committee announces the winners at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, usually held in January. The awards, which consist of a commemorative plaque and a cash stipend, are presented to the winning authors or editors at the ALA Annual Conference, held in June or July. The amount of the cash stipend to be awarded is determined annually by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association.
Awards are made in two categories: literature and nonfiction. The literature category encompasses novels, short stories, poetry, and drama. The nonfiction category includes biography, history, criticism, reference works, fine arts, and other traditional nonfiction genres. Anthologies comprised of both nonfiction and literary pieces will be categorized by whichever form predominates. The Chair of the Stonewall Book Awards Committee shall make the final determination as to category, taking into account the Library of Congress classification number (if applicable).
The Stonewall Book Awards Committee shall be composed of equal numbers of female-identified and male-identified members. The Committee shall have no fewer than six (6) and no more than fourteen (14) members appointed from round table membership by the GLBTRT Chair-elect/Chair. Leadership duties of the Committee are assumed by a Chair and a Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect. The Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect serves in that capacity for one year and then assumes the Chair position the following year. Chairs are not reappointed unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Committee members serve for two years and are not eligible for successive reappointment unless there are extenuating circumstances. In any given year, approximately one half of the Committee should be first time appointees. Incoming Chairs and new Committee members begin their terms following the conclusion of the ALA Annual Conference.
Award Selection Process
Recommendations for Nominations
Anyone may suggest a title to members of the Stonewall Book Awards Committee for consideration of nomination for a Stonewall Book Award. However, recommendations for nomination will not be accepted from the publisher of a proposed book, agents or representatives of the author, or anyone else who may stand to gain directly from the nomination of the book. Members of the Stonewall Book Awards Committee may not nominate a book that they have contributed to, edited, or in any other way been affiliated with, or a book authored or edited by a member of their immediate family or anyone with whom they currently share a household. A short statement describing why the book is being recommended for nomination should accompany the request, which must be submitted to the Stonewall Book Awards Committee. Requests will be accepted by e-mail only and must be sent by the deadline date of October 31. Nominations may be sent to any Stonewall Book Awards committee member listed on the GLBTRT Contacts page.
The Committee Chair collects nominations throughout the course of the year and divides the list of nominated books into the categories of literature and nonfiction. Committee members inform each other, via the listserv, of each nomination as it is made. Review copies of each nominated title will be requested from its publisher for each Committee member. During the course of the year, Committee members actively participate in ongoing discussions of books, both those nominated and those being considered for nomination. Committee members are also expected to read book reviews of nominated books, either by consulting review sources directly available to them or by reading reviews posted or otherwise distributed by other Committee members.
Voting is done in three stages, beginning approximately one month before the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The first ballot reduces the number of nominees to no fewer than ten and no more than fifteen titles in each category. The second ballot reduces the list to five finalists in each category. The final vote, taken at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, determines the winner(s) in each category.
Committee members are encouraged to read as many of the nominated titles as they can and are required to read all of the ten finalists before the final vote. In each stage of voting, Committee members rank the books in each category by assigning a number in order of preference ("1" being the top choice). Points may not be split (i.e., no decimal points are permitted). In the final voting, the book (or books in case of a tie) with the lowest total of points in each category is awarded the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award or the Stonewall Book Award for Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award.
Announcement of Winners
The Chair will notify the winning authors and publishers as soon as the winners have been decided. The Chair will also notify the publishers of the semifinalists.
In addition to the Co-Chairs of the GLBT Round Table, the Chair will notify the American Library Association of the winners at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, specifically the ALA Public Information Office and the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.
In collaboration with the Chair of the GLBT Round Table External Relations Committee, the Book Awards Chair shall prepare a press release announcing the winners and finalists. Copies of this announcement shall be sent to the editor of the GLBT Round Table Newsletter, the ALA Public Information Office, library and bookselling periodicals, and other glbt publishers, booksellers, periodicals, and newspapers. The press release shall also be distributed widely through discussion groups on the Internet.
The Chair must request social security numbers from the winning authors. This information is forwarded to the liaison at the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, who arranges for the award checks. Due to the limited funding for the Book Awards, letters to the winning title's publisher should encourage the publisher to fund the winner's attendance at the ALA Annual Conference.
Requirements and Duties of the Chair and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect
The Chair and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect must be members of the American Library Association and the GLBT Round Table. They must commit to attendance at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and are strongly urged to attend the ALA Annual Conference.
The Chair and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect are proscribed from publishing book reviews of current glbt books throughout the course of their terms. They may not nominate a book that they have contributed to, edited, or in any other way been affiliated with, or a book authored or edited by a member of their immediate family or anyone with whom they currently share a household.
The Chair and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect are proscribed from holding any other official positions within the GLBT Round Table throughout the course of their terms.
The Chair and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect shall work together in a collaborative and communicative manner.
The Chair and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect shall adhere to the following requirements and responsibilities, dividing leadership in a mutually agreed upon manner:
- Recommend Committee members to the GLBTRT Chair-elect/Chair who will maintain a balance of geographical regions of the United States, racial and ethnic groups, and types of libraries. Gender balance is achieved through appointment of an equal number of male-identified and female-identified individuals to the Committee.
- Keep abreast of the publication of eligible books and compile lists of eligible titles. Suggested tools to use in the compiling of lists include: OCLC, Books in Print Plus, online catalogs of English-speaking countries outside the United States available on the Internet, national bibliographies, book review sources, national as well as local/regional glbt publications, and publishers' and booksellers' catalogs, both print and online.
- Ensure that small and academic presses are given equal consideration with trade and mass-market press publications.
- Ensure that the Committee complies with American Library Association and GLBT Round Table policies and procedures, as well as its own.
- Set and meet deadlines agreed upon by the Committee, the GLBT Round Table, and the American Library Association.
- Provide the authors and publishers of winning books with a complete list of GLBT Round Table activities at the ALA Annual Conference as well as information about the book awards presentation.
- Pursue and advocate for adequate funding for the Stonewall Book Awards with the GLBT Round Table and the American Library Association.
- Report on the Committee's work to the Executive Board of the GLBT Round Table and its general membership via appropriate Round Table discussion lists and newsletters, and at American Library Association conferences/meetings.
- Perform other duties as deemed necessary by the Committee and the GLBT Round Table.
Requirements and Duties of Committee Members
Committee members must be members of the American Library Association and the GLBT Round Table. They must commit to attendance at the ALA Midwinter Meeting.
Committee members are proscribed from publishing book reviews of current glbt books throughout the course of their terms. They may not nominate a book that they have contributed to, edited, or in any other way been affiliated with, or a book authored or edited by a member of their immediate family or anyone with whom they currently share a household.
Committee members are proscribed from holding any other official positions within the GLBT Round Table throughout the course of their terms.
Committee members shall adhere to the following requirements and responsibilities:
- Keep abreast of current glbt publishing and notify the Committee of eligible award candidates.
- Read and critically evaluate as many current literature and nonfiction glbt books as possible.
- Participate actively in Committee discussions of books both nominated and eligible for nomination.
- Submit nominations of glbt books throughout the year for the Book Award.
- Work collaboratively to acquire and relay to the Committee book reviews and other information pertinent to nominated titles and/or titles being considered for nomination.
- Follow the rules and procedures of the Stonewall Book Awards Committee and meet the deadlines established by the Committee Chair and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect.
- Perform other duties as deemed necessary by the Chair and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the Stonewall Book Awards Committee.
Committee members completing terms on the Book Awards Committee are strongly encouraged to participate on other committees within the GLBT Round Table.
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