Lavender Library, Archives, and Cultural Exchange

Reviewed in 2022 by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

$9,742 raised by 112 donors

65% complete

$15,000 Goal

The Lavender Library is a lending library and archive housing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) books and magazines, various media, and archival materials. It is an integral part of the Sacramento cultural community and it is open to the general public. The Lavender Library serves patrons in the greater Sacramento Valley and Northern California. It is a 501(c)(3) independent California nonprofit public-benefit corporation. It is a designated United Way recipient agency.

From its founding in Sacramento in 1997, the Lavender Library (LLACE) has been a sanctuary, gathering place, and has held our collective queer histories. The library’s visionaries and founders hoped for a future where the LGBTQ+ community in Sacramento could thrive.

In 1997, as the library’s collection began collecting our histories and materials for archiving, LGBTQ+ rights were being denied everywhere from local governments to federally. Kelli Peterson, who founded the first Gay-Straight Alliance at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, witnessed this first hand. She simply wanted a to create a safe space where she and her fellow classmates could “ease the loneliness she felt as a gay student.”  The New York Times describes what happened next: “With that, the three set off a furor that now involves national conservative leaders, the State Legislature and the local school board.” After outraged parents screamed malice and hate at the local school board, the city school board banned all "non-curricular" student clubs in order to keep the group from meeting. Outraged and homophobic parents, teachers, and administrators argued that allowing the club would constitute an "endorsement" of homosexuality and would create a forum for "recruiting" other students to become gay or lesbian. Sound familiar? 

Federally, LGBTQ+ rights were under the same amount of scrutiny and persecution. In 1997, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act denying federal benefits to same-sex spouses should gay marriage ever become legal, and creating an exception to the US Constitution to allow states to disregard same-sex marriages performed in other states. While DOMA was ruled unconstitutional and left effectively unenforceable by Supreme Court decisions in the cases of United States v. Windsor (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the majority of justices currently seated on the Court do not feel the same.

We’re witnessing a resurfacing of this same hate and fear of our queer community today. During the past 9 months more than 1,500 book bans have been instituted in school districts across the country. A majority of the books banned contain themes on race, liberation, and LGBTQ+ issues stripping students from reading about experiences similar to their own lived experiences. Just recently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law. So far, pop-up bills which explicitly limit the teaching of LGBTQ people, issues, and topics for school children have appeared in over a dozen states. 

Mission

The Lavender Library collects, maintains, preserves, and circulates materials to patrons in a safe and friendly environment. The library promotes the understanding to sexual diversity, and collects and preserves the community's history, writing, and memorabilia, by documenting for future generations the people, places, and events of Sacramento through its archival program.

Needs

At a time when our existence is being used as a wedge issue to divide our communities, families, and government, we must lean into reimagining what our collective queer future can look like. What does a resilient queer community believe in? Where does that community gather and break bread? Share, laugh and learn together? Take action and organize together? That’s the future we’re building at LLACE. With this year’s Big Day of Giving campaign, we’re asking our community members to envision their radical queer futures.

To continue to collect these stories and our history we’ve set a goal to raise $15,000 for our small but important space to receive technical upgrades and equipment. Many of you supported last year’s Glow-up campaign and those funds have helped us renovate the library so that we could remove the retro brown carpet, dim colors and old furniture. We’ve painted the walls, redone the floors, and redesigned the interior to create more seating areas and flexible space for gatherings and community events. We’re refurbishing our windows, purchasing signage with the new Lavender Library logo and adding outdoor seating.

For this year’s Big Day of Giving, our goal is to raise $15,000 for the Lavender Library to invest in our radical queer future. Here’s how we’ll spend the money fundraised:

Scanner - Sacramento’s queerest archive needs a reboot! Our objective is to add an archival scanner for our collection of mixed media, digitize it, and make it more accessible to all in our community. The materials have local importance and significance. Average cost: $4,000

Projector - We’ve had a TV on a rolling cart to view LGBTQ+ media for over a decade. Let’s change that. We want to update the way we offer media to the community by purchasing a projector which will show films, movies, and queer art, and host talks, authors, and local historians. Average cost: $350

Speaker, Microphone/Sound System - We host the Other Mic, a monthly LGBTQ+ POC-forward open mic and comedy show. During the pandemic we moved the monthly event to Southside Park where we complied with social distancing guidelines and had a blast, but we borrowed speakers from a generous community member. We’d like to purchase our own PA / sound system. Average cost: $700

Archival Audio Equipment - With dedicated support from one of our volunteers we’re developing an oral history project of the LGBTQ+ community in Sacramento.

Computer / laptop & printer - We are thrilled to announce a new quiet space for studying, reading, and co-working at the library! Our vision is to purchase two additional laptops that members could check out for two hours at a time in the library. To make the space even more convenient and useful for community members, we want to include a small printer for any printing needs folks may have like a resume or a paper that someone has due next week. The Library’s current administrative printer is old and is slow at printing multiple documents. This is just another way to further serve our community. Average cost: $2,500

Electronic display board - We learned the hard way during our glow-up that removing years of tape from windows is a time-consuming task. We’re hoping to modernize our announcements and community events by displaying everything on an Electronic Display Board which will be more eye-catching, easier to update, and share additional local information. Average cost: $1,000

An Owl for hybrid meetings and events - Zoom meetings are here to stay. One valuable lesson learned during the pandemic was how hybrid meetings make connecting more accessible. Bringing the library into modern times, we want to purchase an ‘owl’ for hybrid meetings — it’s a 360 camera, mic, and speaker specifically made for hosting events in-person and online simultaneously. Imagine Zoom Q&As with authors, community activists, and LGBTQ+ people from across the country and globe, and support groups that are accessible from home with high-quality video and sound so it feels like we’re together. Let’s connect our community and make these connections stronger than ever. Average total cost $1,000

That covers our $15,000 goal for Big Day of Giving 2022, but our dreams don’t stop there! We’ll also be submitting a SMUD SHINE grant application this summer to help us reinvest in our lighting, air filters, and fans and ensure our space is energy efficient, safe, and ADA compliant.

Organization Data

Summary

Organization name

Lavender Library, Archives, and Cultural Exchange

other names

LLACE

Tax id (EIN)

68-0425405

Mission Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Operating Budget

$0-$50,000

Organization Need

Funding: Unrestricted, Funding: Other, Space: Office or Other, Technology, Funding: Program

Address

1414 21st Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

Service areas 0

Yolo County, CA, US

Placer County, CA, US

El Dorado County, CA, US

Sacramento County, CA, US

Phone

916-492-0558

How can we help?

Suggested articles

  • Your Organization Dashboard
  • How to Cusomize your Organization Page
  • How to add or remove an admin from my organization's account