For immediate release | February 26, 2018

Gulfport Public Library awarded 2018 GLBTRT Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence in Serving the GLBT Community

CHICAGO – The American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) announced the Gulfport Public Library in Florida as the third recipient of the Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence in Serving the GLBT Community.

The award was established to honor a library, librarian, library staff member, library board and/or library friends groups who serve the GLBT community. Nominees are judged based on innovation, impact, sustainability and advocacy.

"It is our honor to award the Newlen-Symons Award to the Gulfport Public Library," GLBTRT Chair Jen Maguire-Wright said. "Their programs, resources, outreach and partnerships for and with the LGBTQIA+ community are an amazing example for us all to learn from."

“The library and community are so excited that we won the Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence,” said David Mather, director of library and information Science, City of Gulfport. “It truly is an honor to be recognized on so many levels but the most important to me is recognizing the hard work of the committee, staff, and volunteers who work hard to make it all happen. I was quoted in a local paper as saying it’s like winning an Oscar for a library when trying to explain how big of a deal it is to us, but when I thought about it further it really seems bigger in a way. We have patrons who are so grateful that we have provided this collection and program because it really means a lot to them to see something this front and center in the community focusing on LGBTQ topics and issues. We have had people that actually come to the library just to say thank you and now to get this, it’s just so special to us.”

The Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence in Serving the GLBT Community will be presented on Monday, June 25, 2018, during the Stonewall Book Awards program at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

The award is funded by and named after Robert R. Newlen, and John W. and Ann K. Symons. Ann Symons is past-president and treasurer of the American Library Association and the a past chair of GLBTRT.

To learn more about GLBTRT Awards, please visit

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association is the oldest professional association for GLBT people in the United States. It is committed to serving the information needs of the GLBT professional library community and information and access needs of individuals at large. It is home to GLBT Book Month (tm), a nationwide celebration every June and the Stonewall Book Award, the oldest award honoring GLBT books. GLBTRT is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of the American Library Association and democratic institutions.


Briana Jarnagin

Member Services Assistant

Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS)