Book seller to thank donors at OutFest

Since Giovanni’s Room put out a fundraising call last summer for donations to rebuild a deteriorating wall, local LGBT community members and donors from around the country contributed more than $40,000. During Sunday’s OutFest, the owner will pay tribute to the many generous supporters who helped the nation’s oldest LGBT bookstore accomplish its construction project.

At 3 p.m. Oct. 10, Giovanni’s Room, 345 S. 12th St., will unveil a poster containing the names of the approximately 125 supporters who bought either a $50 brick or a $500 lintel as their contribution to the rebuilding fund. The names will be set against a graphic representation of a brick wall, with the number of bricks or lintels purchased ascribed next to each name.

The sign will be affixed in the 12th Street window of the store before a permanent spot for display within the shop is found.

Giovanni’s Room owner Ed Hermance will begin the unveiling ceremony with an address directed not just to the donors listed on the sign, but also to numerous otheres who aided in the fundraising effort. Hermance said individuals like the members of the core fundraising committee, composed of Arleen Olshan, John Cunningham, Ted Faigle, Joyce Homan, Scott Drake, Gary Kramer, Linda Slodki, Scott Cranin, Jim Cory, Steve Randisi and Heshie Zinman, were key to fueling the project.

“I certainly could not have done this myself,” Hermance said. “The people on the core committee came and gave so much energy and focus and just said, ‘OK, let’s get this done.’ And that’s how everything happened.”

In addition to the committee, Hermance said countless volunteers helped run fundraisers and supported the effort in both in-kind and monetary donations.

“It was overwhelming. I just had no idea this would happen. There were hundreds of people who helped out with fundraising. It’s really amazing how many people worked so hard on this,” Hermance said. “Even just at OutFest last year, we had a publisher’s row with at least two people from nine different publishing companies and we had probably eight or 10 people working on a bake sale that day. And that’s just people who actually worked, not even the people who attended fundraisers.”

The total donation tally now stands at $44,021.30, about $6,065 away from the overall $50,085 project cost.

Hermance said the permanent fixture that will hang in the store is an appropriate tribute to the community members whose donations ensured the bookstore’s continued success.

“We wanted to commit ourselves to commemorating the folks who gave this money,” he said. “We want these people to know that they did their part and that we’re so grateful for them.”

Jen Colletta can be reached at [email protected].