Reviews Sub-Committee


The Reviews Sub-committee creates book and media reviews for publication in the GLBTRT Newsletter and for the round table's GLBT Reviews blog. Reviews are written by members of the Reviews Sub-committee of the GLBTRT Newsletter Committee. The reviews cover all genres of GLBT-themed fiction and nonfiction material for children, young adults, and adults. A variety formats are considered: books, films, comics, music, and websites.

Chair Responsibilities

It’s important to organize your time lines. Keep track of the Newsletter Chair’s submission deadlines and set your own timeline accordingly. Give yourself a week to get the reviews edited and organized, so it's a good idea to set reviewers’ deadlines one week before the Newsletter Chair’s. Give the reviewers a month to read/view their books/films and write their reviews.

Ongoing Chair Duties

  • Keep an updated address book of current reviewers. You will need their names, preferred mailing addresses, job titles, and institutions.  (The guidelines state that this information must accompany all reviews, but you might make exceptions for reviewers who are not out.)
    • See list of current reviewers on on GLBT Reviews
    • See guidelines for maintaining reviewer status on on GLBT Reviews
  • Regularly contact authors, publishers, filmmakers, producers, etc. requesting review and/or screening copies of books, films, and CDs.
  • Cultivate relationships with (and join mailing lists and Facebook pages of) small, independent presses.
  • Compile and maintain a list of books, films, and CDs that are available for review. As the books come in, I add them to the list as soon as possible. This keeps everything organized. Choose a style format and stay consistent.
  • Maintain and update email templates for all correspondence. There are separate templates for contacting authors, publishers, reviewers, etc.  Tweak these to your preference.
  • Post all reviews to the blog. Try to do this within one week of each newsletter’s publication date.
  • Keep the original receipts of all expenditures for postage and shipping materials for reimbursement requests.  The fiscal year for ALA begins on September 1 and ends August 31.  All reimbursement requests for a fiscal year must reach ALA Offices before August 15.  Send a reimbursement form to the GLBTRT Treasurer, who then signs it, and mails it to ALA.

Quarterly Chair Duties

    • Keep track of the Newsletter Chair’s deadlines for newsletter submissions, and one month before that deadline send my reviewers the media list of titles available for review.
    • This is also when you should take the time to update the reviewers on any news or changes that you’ve made regarding the guidelines (for example, raising the word limit for reviews).
    • The entire rest of that day, and well into the next, you will field numerous emails from reviewers requesting titles. It is enormously important that you keep organized during this time. I keep your list open, and each time you approve a book/film request, update the list of who will be reviewing what, and for which issue: (Jane Doe, Summer 2011).
    • As soon as possible, take all the books and films to the post office and mail them. I then contact the reviewers, letting them know that title choices for that quarter is over and that they can expect their media soon. Keep your post office receipt! You will need it for reimbursement.
    • One week before their reviews are due, send the reviewers a gentle reminder.
    • When the reviews arrive, edit them, and also locate the cover art for the books and films (they’re easily accessible through the publishers’ websites). You’ll be communicating a lot with your reviewers during this time.
    • Separate titles into various folders according to age and genre. For example: Create a folder marked “Adult,” and then create three folders within that folder: Fiction, Nonfiction, Film. Do the same for “Youth.” I also create a folder just for images.
    • Once all of the titles are edited, I create a zip file and send them along to the Newsletter Chair.

    Transition Duties

    The Reviews Editor is responsible for the following when their term ends.
    • At the end of the term as reviews editor, the out-going editor will share the login and password for the email account.  The new editor must change the password and change the email recovery address
    • All books and films will need to be mailed to the incoming editor, as well as any files or documents that will assist with the transition.
    • Mail an email to all of the reviewers introducing them to their new editor.
    • Contact all publishers and distributors for which you have a close relationship, and introduce them to the new editor.
    • Send the new editor all newsletter lists that you might be on, as well.

    Chair Forms & Templates

    Committee Member Duties

    See guidelines for maintaining reviewer status on GLBT Reviews.

    Committee History

    Tracy Nectoux’s involvement with the Newsletter began in 2007, when she approached Paul Higdon (then, the Membership Committee Chair) about writing book reviews for the Newsletter. Lisa Johnston was the Book Review Editor at that time, and she added Tracy to her list of reviewers.

    In 2008, John Bradford—the Newsletter Committee Chair—contacted Tracy and asked if she's be interested in taking over as Book Review Editor, because Lisa would be working on the Stonewall Book Award Committee, and Tracy happily accepted.

    At that time, Lisa had a large stable of reviewers, and sent their email addresses to Tracy. At that time, the newsletter was averaging 8–12 book reviews per issue, and the word limit for reviews was 250. Films were not being reviewed. Lisa had contact with some small presses, and she introduced Tracy to them. It was the perfect setup for Tracy to begin her duties.

    Shortly after Tracy became Book Review Editor, Paul Higdon and John Bradford created a blog. Tracy had admin. access to it, but didn’t have much to do with it, and she does not recall the software used.


    • Fall 2008 The Newsletter began reviewing films
    • Winter 2009 Title for Book Review Editor changed to Reviews Editor
    • Spring 2009 New guidelines for reviewers updated and formalized
    • Summer 2009 Newsletter now averages 18–21 reviews per quarterly issue
    • 2010 Word limit for reviews raised to 500
    • Summer 2010 the GLBT Reviews blog launched in the ALA domain, on ALA's installation of Wordpress
    • Summer 2010 Google Analytics is used to gather traffic data that Web Committee Reports on
    • Summer 2010 notifications of all new posts to GLBT Reviews blog are automatically shared on the GLBTRT Feed (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace)

    Committee Plans

    Reviewing Music

    Because the criteria have not been decided upon, music has not been reviewed in our newsletter.

    Policies need to be discussed and fleshed out. Which bands will be accepted as “GLBT”? What is “GLBT” music? Will Sigur Rós be included? Their lead singer is an out gay man, but they do not play music with GLBT themes. Will Britney Spears be included? She is not gay and does not sing music with GLBT themes, but she is a beloved “gay icon.”

    This needs to be fleshed out by the reviews editor and the newsletter editor.

    Update Existing Blog Posts

    Currently, a project is underway to update all older posts on the blog that lack newer blog post features such as book cover images, links to Worldcat records and consistent formatting.  See the Web Committee's documentation of this project in: "Update Previous GLBT Reviews Posts."

    Place all reviews from back issues of newsletter into Blog

    Currently, only reviews from 2008 to the present are on the GLBT Reviews website. Ideally all reviews from the past GLBTRT Newsletters could be in the blog. Many back issues of Newsletters are now digitized and posted on the GLBTRT Newsletter web page. Rough outline of work flow:

    • copy and paste older review text into blog entries (all pdfs now have text you can copy)
    • verify the text is correct (it's from optical character recognition (OCR) on a scanner so there will be errors in the text)
    • format these blog entries to be like all others as documented in the Reviews work flow
    • backdate the posts to the Newsletter issue date?
    • methodically document progress in a Google spreadsheet (which newsletters have been done, which haven't)
    David Vess,
    Oct 4, 2011, 8:00 AM
    David Vess,
    Oct 4, 2011, 7:58 AM
    David Vess,
    Oct 4, 2011, 7:58 AM