OTR Committee Report for Mid-Winter Dallas 2012
Over the Rainbow (OTR) Committee Report
Steering Committee Meeting 1 – Dallas, Texas – January 2012
The aim of the Over the Rainbow (OTR) Project has been to further the mission of the GLBTRT by promoting the improved quality and accessibility of GLBTQ literature through the provision for adult readers of an annual annotated bibliography of books. We provide GLBTQ readers and the general public with guidance in selecting commendable books that reflect the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience and communities.
Our projects since the Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA were as follows—
● We identified 263 titles for consideration on our next list. We limited our pub dates to titles published between July 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011. Our success with the first bibliography improved communication with publishers this year. Many of the smaller presses now see the benefits to sending us previews, and have been very helpful in finding new titles. The committee has been diligently sharing copies of most titles in an effort not to burden publishers and authors. Fortunately we had lots of pdf and e-book previews to read this year, which also reduces the burden on publishers. In the future it would be helpful for committee members to have access to some type of e-reader for all those pdf’s.
● At the conclusion of our reading deadline, which is always midnight on Halloween, the OTR jurors compiled a list of 140 books with at least one juror nomination. Of those books, 103 were from small, independent publishers, self-published or from University Presses. Seven of the titles were published in Canada, and two were British publications.
● We are still very pleased with the work that David Vess did with our blog. We have a whopping 82 subscribers! I know that we get one every so often because I get an email, but I was shocked to see that the total is 82. Yowza.
● Thanks to the fine work of David Vess, we have some detailed information about the OTR blog from May to December 19, 2011, such as--
○ There were 2,604 visits to our blog: 25% or 668 were original searches; 50% or 1,311 were referrals from other websites; 25% or 625 were direct searches to the blog
○ 445 referrals were from Facebook, 279 from ala.org, 113 were from Ivan Coyote’s website (thanks again, Ivan!), 26 were from largeheartedboy.com, 23 were from google.com, and 18 were from lesbrary.com
○ A majority of the visits were in November, which is when our final list of nominations for the next year were published. We are averaging 300 hits per month during the eight months of the report.
○ Eyeball time on our website was :
○ A total of 48 hours was spent by by 2,124 visitors with U.S. ip addresses browsing the OTR blog. There were 162 Canadians browsing us for a total of 3.5 hours, and there were 74 Brits who spent a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes browsing our blog.
There were also 11 Swedes who spent 40 minutes on the blog as well—yay Sweden!
○ Keywords that were most commonly used to find us were: 33 searched for gay novels 2011, 60 searched for ALA Over the Rainbow or something like it, and 10 searchers looked up The Fire in the Moonlight: Stories from Radical Fairies, a new book published this year.
● The 2012 Over the Rainbow ad hoc committee is comprised of 9 members, Chair and Co-Chair-Elect: Arla Jones (Chair), Lawrence, KS; Danielle Pollock (Co-Chair/Chair-Elect), Albuquerque, NM; Martin Garnar, Denver, CO; Bob Graziano, Chicago, IL; Sarah Kanning, Lawrence, KS; Paige Mano, Racine, WI; Jesse Nachem, Oakland, CA; Larry Romans, Nashville, TN; Michael Santangelo, Brooklyn, NY; Katy Vance, Greensboro, NC; and Nel Ward, Newport, OR.
● The Over the Rainbow Committee was very pleased to receive its “upgrade” to full committee status at Annual.
● We have received GLBTRT seven volunteer applications for the next cycle of OTR and will be reviewing those applications to replace members who are stepping down.
● I will be stepping down as chair and as a member of OTR at the end of Mid-Winter. Danielle Pollock will be transitioning from Chair-Elect to Chair. Several jurors have decided to leave the committee, mostly because the amount of reading is so overwhelming.
● In the future, it might be useful to consider increasing the number of jurors on the OTR committee. Fortunately, there are more and more LGBT titles being published each year. Realistically, it’s quite a daunting task to get enough yes votes to put titles on the list when there are nearly 300 possible titles. The statistical reality for ten readers should be considered.
Arla A. Jones, Chair