For immediate release | January 20, 2015

American Library Association hosts two-day blood drive during the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting

CHICAGO — In recognition of National Blood Donor Month, Librarians Build Communities (LBC), a Membership Initiative Group of the American Library Association (ALA), has organized a community blood drive during the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago. Conference attendees are encouraged to join LBC in this life-saving event on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, and Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the end of aisle 4800, ALA Exhibit Hall, McCormick Place West (MPW) - Level 3, Halls F1, F2. Special thanks to LifeSource.

ALA and LBC recognize there are many restrictions regarding blood donations. Among those is the ban on accepting blood donations from men who have had sex with another man since 1977. This effectively removes all gay and bisexual men from being eligible blood donors. However, the FDA has recently announced plans to relax the ban to allow donations by gay and bisexual men if they have not had sex with another man in the past year.

From the onset, this ban has been controversial. While the government has imposed exclusions that limit or restrict the donor pool, the ban on accepting blood donations from gay and bisexual men is deemed by many as unjustified and discriminatory, unfairly prohibiting healthy men from donating much needed, life-saving blood.

In an effort to educate the library community about the issues regarding blood donations, the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table GLBTRT) is sponsoring the discussion panel “Blood Donation: Facts, Fear, and Discrimination,” on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., McCormick Place West, room 183C. Speakers will be Dr. Magda Houlberg, chief clinical officer, Howard Brown Health Center; Dr. Robert Garofalo, professor, Northwestern University Feiberg School of Medicine; and the Hon. Mike Quigley, Congressman, Illinois 5th District.

LBC supports the GLBTRT’s panel discussion and encourages ALA members to both donate blood and attend the panel discussion to be informed and have their voices heard.

Organizations in need of blood to save lives experience sharp declines in blood donations during winter months due to winter holiday travel, inclement weather, and illnesses. Here are tips from LifeSource on preparing to donate blood.

For information on LifeSource, visit http://www.lifesource.org/; on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table, which serves the information needs of the GLBT professional library community, http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/; and Librarians Build Communities and how you can become involved and use its resources to sponsor community events year-round, http://www.ala.org/groups/lbc.

Contact:

Don Wood

Program Officer

Chapter Relations Office

dwood@ala.org