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LGBT Gerber/Hart Library to Reopen After Nearly Two Years

By Benjamin Woodard | December 10, 2013 8:48am
 Gerber/Hart Library plans to reopen at 6500 N. Clark St. in Rogers Park in December 2013.
Gerber/Hart Library in Rogers Park
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ROGERS PARK — The Gerber/Hart Library, which holds the Midwest's largest collection of LGBT literature, will finally reopen Thursday after leadership and construction problems delayed its move to a new space for nearly two years, said library president Carrie Barnett.

"It's been a big transition," said Barnett, who last week was voted the new president of the library's board of directors. "Getting to this space and getting it set up and ready to go has taken a little longer than we hoped it would."

The 32-year-old library was the center of controversy last year after a "For Rent" sign quietly popped up on the window of its former Granville Avenue location in Edgewater.

Rumors swirled about possible infighting among board members last year, but now Barnett said it's time to take the library to its next step at the new Rogers Park location.

The library space occupies a portion of the second floor at 6500 N. Clark St. and is the building's only tenant.

The library is now split into four main rooms: A reading room, where much of its literature is located, a community exhibit room, an archive room and a special collections room.

When they first began the move, the space had "no walls" and no air conditioning system, Barnett said, which is crucial to preserve the library's more than 14,000 volumes, 800 periodicals and other material about the LGBT community.

During the past 20 months, she said, volunteers had worked to get the library ready for its reopening.

Barnett said about 30 residents attended a public meeting late last week that she hosted to "put to rest some of the fears and concerns people had."

The library's new hours, which would eventually expand, are Thursdays 6-9 p.m. and Saturdays 12-6 p.m., she said.