As a small organization, many of the Gay Alliance’s programs and services are run by professionals who have decided to volunteer their skills to serve the community. For the month of April we’ve chosen to honor one such volunteer, Gerry Szymanski, Librarian and Director of the Gay Alliance Library & Archives. Professionally, Gerry works as the Reserves and Digital Services Librarian at the Sibley Music Library at the Eastman School of Music, and we are lucky to benefit from his valuable background.

Gerry has contributed hundreds of hours to the Library & Archives over his several year tenure as Librarian, maintaining our collection of over 6,000 books, magazines, videos, and DVDs. In addition to his Library work, Gerry is both a writer and photographer and has contributed extensively to the Empty Closet newspaper. He also serves on the Shoulders to Stand On committee and was featured in the film documentary, and was a part of the team that created the panel display Forging Alliances: Rochester’s LGBT story.

Outside the Gay Alliance, Gerry has served for over ten years as an official photographer for the ImageOUT film festival, in addition to a four-year stint on the ImageART committee. Six of his short films have screened at ImageOUT, including “Insight Out: Mark Groaning,” which received the first Mary Elizabeth Knight Award for best local film.

By offering his unique knowledge and experiences to the community, Gerry helps the agency preserve our community history, ensuring that it is accessible and available for generations to come. The distinct collection he develops and maintains in our Library & Archives is a highlight of the Rochester LGBTQ community, and we are deeply grateful to Gerry for everything he has contributed to the Gay Alliance.