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Gerber/Hart LGBT Library Set To Move From Edgewater Site

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Gerber/Hart Library and Archives of gay and lesbian resources remains very much in operation, but will soon be moving from its longtime location just south of Loyola University.

The library is currently located at 1127 W. Granville Ave., near the Granville Red Line 'L' stop in the Edgewater neighborhood. Recently, neighbors have noticed a "for rent" sign in the front window, but on its Web site, the library says not to worry.

"Some of you… have erroneously concluded that Gerber/Hart is 'going out of business.' Nothing could be further from the truth!" the library said on its Web site. "As Mark Twain stated, 'The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.'"

However, the library is planning to move from its current location in the coming months. But the Web site did not specify where the library plans to move, and library president Karen Sendziak "repeatedly declined" to tell the Chicago Phoenix where and exactly when the library would relocate.

No one answered a call from CBS Chicago to the library, which is closed on Mondays.

The sign appeared last week, advertising 5,500 square feet of space in the building, the Chicago Phoenix reported.

The Gerber/Hart Library was founded in 1981 as a joint project by the Chicago chapter of the Gay Academic Union, Gay Horizons, and the Chicago Gay and Lesbian History Project.

The original library location was at 3255 N. Sheffield Ave. in the offices of Gay Horizons, and it moved five times before settling in its current double storefront on Granville Avenue in 1998.

The library includes 14,000 volumes, 800 periodicals and 100 archival collections documenting the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Chicago and throughout Illinois and the Midwest. The collection also includes sound recordings and films.

General collections are available for checkout, as at a public library.

The library also includes a special collections section that features periodicals published before the gay rights movement began in earnest with the Stonewall riots in 1969, as well as T-shirts, buttons and other memorabilia from local and national LGBT groups. The library's archives is composed of papers collected from people, organizations and businesses, documenting this history of Chicago's gay community.

The library also sponsor a lesbian women's book group that has met continuously since September 1987, and a gay men's book group that goes back to February 1993.

The name of the library honors Henry Gerber, a German immigrant who founded the Society for Human Rights in Chicago in 1924. The group served a goal to teach others about the gay community and attempting to change laws that made homosexuality illegal, but it was quickly shut down by authorities.

The name also honors Pearl M. Hart, a Chicago civil liberties attorney who became the first woman to be appointed public defender in Morals Court. She was known as a strong supporter of gay rights and immigrant rights.

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