PFLAG Detroit has been around for over thirty years, and from the beginning, we offered books and tapes to lend. Vivienne and Ray Kell were the original PFLAG Detroit librarians.
They believed in the value of having information and resources available, to those in need. It was vital to our mission of Support, Education, and Advocacy. In some books, you’ll still find a written note from Vivienne: “Take this home for a couple of months, and then bring it back".
Over the years the library has grown, acquired DVD's, and fallen into changing times. It’s the twenty-first century, and information and resources are literally at our fingertips. As the current librarian, I believe it is still relevant, despite the age of instantaneous access. For some time now, I have been working with the board to bring this asset up to date. I realize what the Kells said to be true, “The work never ends". We rededicated the library with the Kells in May of 2018, and we are not done.
As a kid, I used to hang out late afternoons, in the school library. I was in love with the Dewey Decimal System. Miss Schwartz, our school librarian, encouraged me to read and write creatively. Little did she know, that I was also escaping some bullies, who would wait to beat me up after classes ended. If I restocked books, she’d drive me home in her navy-blue Triumph convertible; top down, of course. Information and resources offer sanctuary, new knowledge, and hope.
Even with the world now at our fingertips, we should remember that it’s still not easy for many parents, families, and friends. Sometimes a careful, tactile, personal journey into a good book, or perhaps watching a video, can take us where our iPhone cannot. It can lead to greater understanding and connects us with the stories of others, who have already been there. The work truly never ends.
Among many great finds in the Kell Resource Library, is a photo book called “Love makes a family”. Donated by Vivienne in 1999, it is poignant and relevant twenty years later. We carry a variety of items, such as “Heather Has Two Mommies", and “Prayers For Bobby”, (based on a true story). We offer recommended reading from Detroit’s own John Corvino, Bishop John S. Spong, Ellen DeGeneres (and her mom!). We have personal narratives by Chasity Bono, and Margarethe Cammermeyer. Good stuff and more, all while we seek new and diverse finds for our collection.
It is a work in progress, much like the process of self-discovery. It is an honor to grasp the baton from the Kells. Their activism, love of family, and keen sense of social justice, has made a difference in countless lives. Support, Education, and Advocacy are alive and well in the twenty-first century, and at the PFLAG Detroit Kell Resource Library.