Welcome Elvis Bakaitis, Interim Head of Reference!

We’re happy to announce that Elvis Bakaitis has been recently appointed Interim Head of Reference at the Graduate Center Library.

In their previous role at the Graduate Center Library as an Adjunct Reference Librarian, Elvis worked with Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz to develop the Open Pedagogy Fellowship. Fellows engaged in a four-day Bootcamp that culminated in Towards an Open Future | 2020 Symposium, featuring keynote speakers Audrey Watters and Walis Johnson.

Based on their three years working at the Graduate Center, Elvis has extensive experience fielding questions from patrons at the Reference Desk, and is looking greatly forward to working with faculty and students in this new role. They’ll also be developing the Mina Rees Library Conversation Series through the Summer.

In terms of their own scholarship, Elvis has a deep commitment to bringing LGBTQ and women’s history into the public sphere. Along with Flavia Rando, Saskia Scheffer, and Ashley-Luisa Santangelo, Bakaitis co-curated the 2019 New-York Historical Society exhibit By The Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives. This built upon their previous experience co-curating a previous show, Graphic Activism, a vivid collection of posters, zines, and ephemera, showcasing over 30 years of dyke/queer activism.

Bakaitis is also a board member at the Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS), and with Katherine Pradt (Adjunct Reference & Digital Outreach Librarian), created the display – A Thousand Ghostly Sheaves: A History of Queer Studies at CUNY – highlighting the critical interventions made by CLAGS in the field of Queer Studies.

In Feburary and March 2020, Elvis was awarded three grants for a series of upcoming projects: a Carnegie-Whitney grant (American Library Association), for the project “Lesbian Aging Studies: A Theoretical and Cross-Cultural Approach”; travel grant for the study of LGBTQ zines at the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History & Culture (Duke University); and a Schlesinger Library Oral History Grant  (Harvard University) for their proposal: “Tracing a Lineage of the Women in Print Movement: Bluestockings Bookstore.”

Again, we’re excited to welcome Elvis on board.

About the Author

Emily Drabinski is an Associate Professor and Critical Pedagogy Librarian at the Graduate Center library.