Susan Gore, LGBTQ Resource Center and Circle of Friends Chair

Susan Gore has become the de facto “Miss Gulfport Library,” serving as the chair of both the Circle of Friends and the LGBTQ Resource Center.

The Circle of Friends is the philanthropic group that supports the Gulfport Public Library. When they started the LGBTQ Resource Center about five years ago, they had no idea it would lead the library into two prominent and prestigious national awards in just one year.

The LGBTQ Resource Center, the only one of its kind at a public library in Florida, first won the Newlan-Symons award. The American Library Association used it to name the Center the best of its kind in North America.

The library then went on to receive the nation’s highest possible honor given to libraries and museums, the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The Institute pointed to the Resource Center as one of the main criteria for the honor.

The general circulation of the library has also more than doubled since the center was introduced and the collection now exceeds 7,000 volumes of both LGBTQ fiction and nonfiction. It includes an ever-expanding collection of LGBTQ themed DVDs.

In 2019, the LGBTQ Resource Center proudly became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It’s there that Susan oversees a dedicated board of directors which produces at least one event per month. Things really kicking into high gear during Pride Month, when at least one event per week is held.

Susan is proud that the Resource Center has been able to accomplish so much in just a few years and even prouder that the city of Gulfport and its residents have been so supportive.

She’s said that when she discovered Gulfport a few years ago, she fell in love with it and “packed up the truck and the cats” to move to this small artsy community.  The city has also fallen in love with her.

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