Historical Notes on the Feminist Task Force

Programs

In its history, the Feminist Task Force has sponsored preconferences, programs, and workshops on topics such as:

  • sexism in librarianship
  • women and political clout
  • pornography and censorship
  • racism and ethnic diversity in librarianship

Politics

The Feminist Task Force has evaluated ALA candidates, and endorsed those who were actively and appropriately engaged in feminist issues. In addition, FTF has introduced several resolutions passed by ALA Council, including those to:

  • endorse passage of the ERA
  • boycott ALA conferences in states where the ERA was not ratified
  • prohibit sexist, racist language in ALA documents
  • develop ALA comparable pay guidelines
  • require that ALA use affirmative action as a library school accreditation criterion

Feminist Authors Event

The Feminist Task Force has held a Feminist Authors event past ALA annual conferences. Authors who participated in this event include:

  • New Orleans author Lee Meitzen Grue, author of Goodbye Silver, Silver Cloud: New Orleans Stories, published by Plain View Press; and Abby Bogomolny, editor of and a contributor to New to North America: Writing by U.S. Immigrants, Their Children and Grandchildren, from Burning Bush Publications, read excerpts from their work, related to the theme "Women in Place" (June 1999, New Orleans, LA).
  • Nancy VanArsdall, Lynn Kanter, Carol Anne Douglas, and Joan Pinkvoss spoke eloquently and read excerpts from their works, related to the theme "Rhythms of Life" (June 1998, Washington, DC).
  • Jewelle Gomez, Ginu Kamani, and Margarita Donnelly presented material related to the theme "A Patchwork Quilt of Feminism" (June 1997, San Francisco).
  • Minnie Bruce Pratt and Cheryl Clarke spoke on "Feminist Perspectives on Racism" (July 1996, NYC).
  • Jorjet Harper, Achy Obejas, and Lisa Grayson spoke on "Women and Humor" (June 1995, Chicago).
  • Mab Segrest, Memoir of a Race Traitor (June 1994, Miami)
  • Dorothy Allison, Katherine Forrest and Sandy Butler 1st (official) (1992, San Francisco).
  • Mary Morell Final Session 1st (unofficial) (1992, San Antonio).

Other Activities

FTF members have monitored ALA exhibits and library publications for sexist, racist, and homo/lesbophobic content. It publishes Women in Libraries, a newsletter of the FTF. The FTF also sponsors a Women's Night Out at annual ALA conferences. And it works to build coalitions with other ALA groups sharing our concerns.

Meetings and Leadership

The first meeting was called in 1970 and was chaired by Ellen Gay Detlefsen. In 1970-71, the group was called the Status of Women in Libraries & Women's Liberation Task Force, with Michelle Ruby as coordinator. Historical information is missing for the years between 1971-1974 and there was no listing for the group in the 1973-74 ALA Handbook of Organization. In 1974-75, the group was called the Status of Women Task Force, coordinated by Elizabeth Futas. In 1975-76, the group was named the Feminist Task Force, with coordinator Linda Crowe. Following are the names of current and past coordinators:

  • 2002-05: Theresa Tobin
  • 2000-02: Jennifer Baltes
  • 1999-00: Rosemary McAndrew and Theresa Tobin
  • 1998-99: Adriene Lim and Rosemary McAndrew
  • 1997-98: Veronda Pitchford and Kristin Carlson
  • 1995-96: Linda Kimsey and Kristin Carlson
  • 1994-95: Deb Gilchrist
  • 1992-93: Theresa Tobin
  • 1991-92: Madeleine Tainton
  • 1990-91: Sherre Dryden
  • 1989-90: Sherre Dryden (now Harrington)
  • 1988-89: Polly Thistlethwaite
  • 1987-88: Polly Thistlethwaite
  • 1986-87: Kay Jones
  • 1985-86: Julia Koehler
  • 1984-85: Gail Warner
  • 1983-84: Ellen Broidy
  • 1982-83: Betty-Carol Sellen
  • 1981-82: Carole Leita & Diane Davenport
  • 1980-81: Not Available
  • 1979-80: Suzanne LeBarron
  • 1978-79: Karen L. Jackson
  • 1977-78: Diane Gordon Kadanoff
  • 1976-77: Diane Gordon Kadanoff