LGBTQ Iowa Archives & Library

September Recap & LGBTQ History Month Programming

Hello everyone!

We wanted to give an update on the exciting things that have happened in the last month and promote the special events we have coming in October. To celebrate LGBTQ History Month, we have a wealth of opportunities to get involved and celebrate our histories at the LGBTQ Iowa Archives & Library (LIAL) including a drop-in volunteer opportunity, a virtual training session for our long-distance community, and plenty of events at our Iowa City library location.

Part of our focus in October is going to be on fundraising that will support us through the next year. As a completely volunteer-run and donation-funded organization, we depend on the generosity of our community to keep the lights on! If you are able to, we ask that folks who participate in our October programming make a donation of $5 or more to support the organization. For those looking to donate in honor of LGBTQ history this month, we invite you to consider supporting LIAL in our mission of preserving and sharing the history of LGBTQ Iowans year round!

Donations can be made through:
Venmo: @lgbtqiowa
PayPal: @IowaArchives
Patreon: (Patreon is a subscription service that lets you donate money to LIAL every month and receive special benefits in return!)
Via mail: P.O. Box 2779
Iowa City, IA 52244

If you make a donation, feel free to message us so we can thank you! And if you provide us with an address, we would love to send you a personalized thank you card from the Leadership Team.

We are excited to continue building community and making history with you all in October and beyond.

Much love,
Madde Hoberg
Interim Executive Director & Archives Coordinator

Cedar Valley & Coralville Prides

A drag queen performs on the Main Stage at the 2022 Cedar Valley Pridefest, August 27, 2022.
Main Stage at the 2022 Cedar Valley Pridefest, August 27, 2022.

To finish out our 2022 “Pride Tour,” LIAL visited the Cedar Valley Pridefest in late August as well as Coralville Pride in early September. That brings us to a total of 12 Pride events for the year! We can’t wait to celebrate Pride with you all again next year.

Board Gayme Night

On September 10, we held our first ever Board Gayme Night at the Close House in Iowa City. With a library of 75 games, we were able to enjoy several different games with visitors of all ages. We even had a puzzle room set up in the library space where we were able to complete a “Cat Quilt” puzzle in a single night. 


On September 17, Veronica Armstrong (Youth Education Coordinator) and Madde Hoberg (Interim Executive Director & Archives Coordinator) presented at GSACon, hosted by Iowa Safe Schools in Des Moines, Iowa. GSA members from across the state were in attendance (from Sioux City to folks in our home-base of Iowa City). We spoke on historical and present-day strategies of “Persistence & Resistance” with national and Iowa-based examples. We were especially excited to use materials from our archives, including items from our Craig Esbeck and Tracy Bjorgum collections.

Unitarian Universalist Society

On September 18, Ann Kreitman (Associate Director) spoke at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Coralville during their service about Banned and Challenged Books. Congregants supported LIAL by donating items on our library wish list which will help grow our Children’s and Young Adult collections in particular. We are grateful to Rev. Diana Smith, Nic Kaplan, and the UUS community for their support.

Queer Threads and the PS1 Art-a-thon

On September 24 and 25, members and friends of our Queer Threads crafting circle worked on a communal art project as part of Public Space One’s Art-a-thon! During this fundraising 24-hour art marathon, people came together to knit, crochet, and stitch a cozy yarn tent! You can see a picture of the final piece below and watch live footage of our Queer Threaders and other participating artists on PS1’s Vimeo (although this link in particular will jump you to some quality knitting circle action).

Image of a yarn fort with chairs and stuffed animals inside.
The final product from the Art-a-thon–a cozy yarn tent!

LIAL in the News

This past month, we chatted with Adria Carpenter from Little Village about the changes in leadership at LIAL and our hopes for the future of the organization. You can read her wonderful article here!

Additionally, if you’re in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area, we encourage you to vote for LIAL as the “Best Library” for Little Village’s Best of the CRANDIC 2022 special issue! Voting closes on September 30.

October LGBTQ History Month Special Events

To celebrate LGBTQ History Month, we are offering these special events on top of our regular programming! We encourage folks who participate in these events to donate $5 if they’re able.

Queer Threads Fall Clothes Swap (Tuesday 10/4, 7 – 9 PM, Close House in Iowa City)

  • Find a new home for clothes, shoes, and accessories that no longer work for you
  • Gender-affirming gear is welcome at the swap
  • Bring your sewing machine if you are willing to do simple alterations (i.e. hemming) for swappers
  • Leftover swap items will be donated to the CCAN Clothing Closet

Big Community Book Ingestion (Sunday 10/9, 2 – 6 PM, Wesley Center Basement in Iowa City)

  • A drop-in volunteer opportunity for folks looking to get involved with LIAL
  • Learn how our books go from donations to circulating items
  • Gain experience working in a community library space

Queering the Teacher: a roundtable discussion (Thursday 10/13, 5:30 – 6:30 PM, Close House in Iowa City)

  • In conjunction with The Children’s Hour, part of the University of Iowa Theatre Arts Department’s Mainstage Season, we invite you to join a group of artists and scholars for a roundtable discussion of how queer teachers reinvent learning, teaching, and the classroom. As the battle against queerness in the classroom continues to be fought, we will discuss the intersections of shame, legibility, and how we can continue to queer our learning.

Objects of Affirmation: A Pop-Up Exhibit (Thursday & Friday, 10/13 – 10/14, Close House in Iowa City)

  • Come see a collection of objects from the students of “Searching for Queer Stories” that make them feel an authentic sense of self. A joyous display of what makes us feel like “us,” from a jean jacket to books to medication bottles and beyond!

LIAL Open Archives (Wednesday 10/19, 5:30 – 7:30 PM, Close House in Iowa City)

  • Explore our archival collections and learn more about the materials we collect, the stories archives tell, and what our artifacts say about us.

Oral History Training (Monday 10/24, 6 – 8 PM, participate via Zoom)

  • Join LIAL founder Aiden Bettine for a masterclass in conducting oral history interviews.
  • Free, virtually offered training for participants! Register in advance here.
  • Learn about oral history resources available through LIAL.

Drop-In Tarot Readings (Thursday 10/27, 1 – 4:30 PM, Close House in Iowa City)

  • Visit our resident astrology and queer divination expert, Craig Esbeck, for a free, drop-in Tarot reading to get you in a spooky mood, talk shop with Craig, and explore decks & books to build your own Tarot reading practice!

LIAL Movie Night (Friday 10/28, 7 – 9 PM, Close House in Iowa City)

  • Join us for a cozy, indoor community screening of a classic film
  • Film title TBA
  • Snacks and nonalcoholic drinks will be available for purchase (proceeds go to LIAL)

Regular Programming

Ongoing events at the Close House in Iowa City:

Queer Writers (Mondays 3 – 4 PM)

Queer Threads (Tuesdays 7 – 9 PM) *new time*

Transistors (every other Wednesday 6 – 8 PM [9/28, 10/12, & 10/26])

Hellenistic Astrology with Craig – Natal Charts & Tarot Readings (Thursdays 1 – 4:30 PM) *new time*

Queer Storytime – Ages 5 and under (Saturdays 10 – 11 AM) *Queer Storytime will take place at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market at 11 AM on 10/15*

Follow us on social media for continued updates.

Engage and Support

There are plenty of ways to engage with and support LIAL regardless of your location! Here’s some information on the various ways to interact with and support our community.

Follow, Like, and Comment
Instagram: @lgbtq_iowa_archives
TikTok: @lgbtq_iowa_archives
Twitter: @LGBTQIowa

Build Community

PayPal: @IowaArchives,
Venmo: @lgbtqiowa
Via mail: P.O. Box 2779
Iowa City, IA 52244


538 S. Gilbert St.
Close House – Second Floor
Iowa City, IA 52240

Monday closed
Tuesday closed
Wednesday 5-8pm
Thursday 5-8pm
Friday closed
Saturday 11am-3pm
Sunday 11am-3pm

Mailing Address
538 S. Gilbert St.
Iowa City, IA 52240

(319) 512-5615

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