After almost a year of controversy and questions surrounding the governance of Chicago's LGBT library, Gerber/Hart Library and Archives will hold an annual meeting Dec. 10.
The meeting will not be open to the media or public, and some community members say that they paid for memberships this year, but did not receive notice of the meeting.
Gerber/Hart announced the meeting to members in an email blast. The meeting is scheduled for Dec. 10 at the Berger Park Cultural Center.
"You must be a member as of the date and time of this mailing in order to attend the meeting," the letter states.
The meeting is believed to be the first annual meeting of the organization in at least two years. Karen Sendziak, former president and current secretary of the organization, previously told Windy City Times that Gerber/Hart did not hold a 2011 annual meeting, a violation of the Illinois Not For Profit Corporation Act.
Questions surrounding Gerber/Hart arose in January, when Gerber/Hart announced it was moving locations, and community members complained that the organization had becoming shut off from the community. That controversy hit a boiling point when the organization released a new set of bylaws that stripped away member voting rights, a move that that some members continue to question.
Sendziak later stepped down as president, and the library announced that Brad Tucker had taken on the role. Sendziak remains on the board as secretary.
Windy City Times repeatedly requested entrance to the annual meeting, but Tucker denied those requests, stating that the meeting was closed to press and non-members.
"I'm all for transparency," Tucker said. "It's a members meeting. It's for people who have paid their money."
Tucker said that the library is trying to create a respectful space for members to gather and that the library would likely have a public meeting at a later date.
"It's not a general bitch session or a publicity event or a fundraiser," he said, adding later, "We want to at least take steps to honor the members."
Some allege that they are members but were not invited to the meeting.
Among them is Norman Sandfield, who submitted a membership renewal in March, he said.
According to Sandfield, he sent the library a check on March 6. The check was cashed on April 23, he said, but he did not receive confirmation of his membership. He also did not receive a mailing about the annual meeting, he said.
Still, Sandfield submitted an RSVP to the organization and plans to attend with documentation of his cashed check and a laundry list of questions for board members.
"I think the current leadership has become a secret society in denial," said Sandfield. "I don't understand why they're having a closed meeting."
Bob Cohn, who has long been involved with the library, said he also renewed his membership but never received confirmation beyond a cashed check. He, too, wrote the library saying that he would like to attend but has not heard back.
Tucker said that the library has made attempts to reach all members and that both Sandfield and Cohn are on the list of attendees for the evening.
Windy City Times will continue to seek access to the meeting.