The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2014, April 12-13

Quatrefoil Library

Paired with Team Pegacorn

Quatrefoil Library is an all-volunteer-supported and managed lending library and archive of materials reflecting the GLBT experience in our area and across the nation. We began, literally, in the closet: in the apartment closet of a Twin Cities gay couple, David Irwin and Dick Hewetson. In 1983, after a decade of collecting gay publications, they incorporated the collection as a non-profit organization, Quatrefoil Library. In February, 1986, the Library was opened to the public. Since then we have grown into a respected repository for collecting, documenting, and sharing the history of GLBT persons. More than 2,500 people visited us last year and we circulated more than 5,000 items.

The Library takes its name from author James Barr’s 1950 novel QUATREFOIL, a work now recognized as one of the first positive portrayals of homosexuality in mainstream media and literature.

What new functionality we are looking for

In late 2014, after more than 25 years of being physically located in the basement of an office building in in St. Paul, MN, the Quatrefoil Library moved to a brand new building called Spirit on Lake, located in Minneapolis, MN. This much more visible and inviting location is enabling us expand our services to become a greater resource within the GLBT and larger community. With our new beautiful physical location, the Library needs a website which showcases all that all that it has to offer.

The Library would love to have a new website with the following tools and capabilities:

•A more robust community calendar to promote additional services and programming opportunities. The current website is limited in this area and the library has use Facebook as a means to promote itself.

•Better placement of our online catalog on the homepage so people can easily access resources-- whether they are looking to check them out or need to see if they are available for academic research. Right now, users have to ‘hunt and peck’ to find see what we have to offer.

•Better presentation and communication about the varied resources in our collection, including a number of online resources that are under-utilized.

•An easier to way to make online donations. Quatrefoil Library is 100% volunteer-operated, relying mostly on modest membership fees. We do not receive any support from local or national government; Quatrefoil Library relies on financial donations to keep the doors open, maintain our collections, and host programs, exhibits, and event related to our collection and mission. Making a donation needs to be right on the homepage and easy to access.

•More capability in the areas of analytics so we can better understand our visitors and how the use the site.

•Overall, the website needs to be more visually appealing, intuitive and sophisticated to satisfy a younger demographic that expects to find information quickly rather than clicking through multiple pages to find what they are looking for.

How the new functionality will help

Countless articles have been written about the changing nature of the libraries. The modern library is more than a place where physical books are checked out; a modern library is a resource which enhances the community by providing tools of information whether they are electronic, physical or social.

The current website was last updated more than five years ago and has not changed much from its original iteration. Quatrefoil Library needs a new website that will inspire and motivate new and existing users to spend more exploring the site or finding out about important readings and other events we host. A new website is also critical to help us attract a much-need based of younger users, members, and donors. Like many volunteer-driven and supported nonprofits, Quatrefoil’s user and membership base skews old. More than 60%of our current membership base is 55 or older. Quatrefoil Library has the unique distinction of being internationally recognized for its unique collection of GLBT resources. Our goal is to develop a website that will not only benefit the local community but one that allows us disseminate information on a global scale.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

27 Messages from Supporters

2014-03-09 23:23:37 UTC
Mitch Marks

Quatrefoil is a wonderful resource for the GLBT community in the Upper Midwest. Their are very few library's which contain significant GLBT materials and even fewer that lend this information out to patrons.

The only other lending library in the Midwest (in Chicago) was closed for a couple years and is currently open only two days a week. Quatrefoil is open 7 days a week and has been expanding its hours.

It remains amazing to me that it has been able to do this for 25 years with an all volunteer staff. Every penny of donations goes to providing services to people.

Mitch Marks

2014-03-10 16:57:51 UTC
Dick Hewetson

Quatrefoil Library has become the greatest GLBT Library in North America. It has served its community well by being open almost every day of the year. It has helped establish other libraries throughout the country including one as far away as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This has been accomplish by literally hundreds of dedicated volunteers. Having no paid staff has provided the opportunity to accomplish so much.

2014-03-10 17:40:35 UTC
Hanna Miller

Quatrefoil Library has been a valuable resource for the LGBT community for many years. Not only has it played an important historical role but it continues to engage the community in creative ways through the many different services and events offered to members and the broader community. The Twin Cities area has a large GLBT community and Quatrefoil Library has long served as a de facto community center for individuals and groups to come together, access resources, and build connections. A new website for the library would help continue this mission tremendously by making the resources and services even more readily available to the community and providing a platform for further outreach.

2014-03-10 18:10:58 UTC
Lisa Vecoli

This is the ideal time to re-energize Quatrefoil's online presence. The new location and addition of programming space is allowing Quatrefoil to add to its events calendar with author readings, “Telling Queer History” events and a diverse line up of book clubs.
The web has made content more accessible, but the closure of independent bookstores (including both Brother’s Touch and Amazon Bookstores) has reduced the availability of content by/for the GLBT community. Many small press offerings are not available at libraries or mainstream bookstores. Quatrefoil continues to play a vital role in making high quality content available to a community that may have trouble accessing information.

2014-03-10 19:30:37 UTC
Jennifer Schultz

The Quatrefoil has been quietly operating in, and supporting, the Twin Cities GLBT community now for over 25 years. Just this year it moved from its former basement location into a brand new and exciting space on Lake Street, in the equally exciting Spirit On Lake building. With this new and more prominent location the library is beginning its next chapter. There will now be more space, more materials, more events, more programming, and more interaction and involvement with the neighborhood and surrounding community. With all of this activity the library could really use a new website that would reflect this refresh. This is a thrilling time for the library right now, both for volunteers and patrons. And, this is a very unique opportunity for the library to ensure that it grows and flourishes for the next 25 years.

2014-03-10 19:45:11 UTC
Jeff Rathermel

Quatrefoil Library is poised for an exciting new chapter. Last year's move to a new home on Lake Street has allowed the organization to better serve its diverse community through innovative and expanded programming. Quatrefoil's new physical visibility (moving from its past home in a basement to being the cornerstone of a vibrant housing development) has dramatically increased community awareness. A new dynamic website would do the same for the organization's on-line presence. As its programming grows, so does the need for the library to communicate opportunities. As an organization that is truly run on a dime, it is critical to have a quality website that efficiently communicates the library's resources and effectively publicizes its offerings.

2014-03-12 14:42:30 UTC
James Lewis

Quatrefoil Library is a Twin Cities and Minnesota gem that for 25 years has provided a safe and welcoming place for GLBTQA people to access literary and reference materials and provide a safe place for meeting. The outreach of this library is an amazing tribute to a whole lot of people who volunteer their time and services to maintain and manage the library. Since its inception the library has been wholly run and operated on a volunteer basis. Quatrefoil is a great place and a great community asset!

2014-03-12 17:01:55 UTC
Kathy Wetzel-Mastel, Executive Director, PRG Inc.

Q definitely deserves the genus of the Nerdery! PRG (2013 recipient of the Overnight Challenge) is proud to have the all volunteer run organization as the anchor tenant in just the second LGBTQA friendy affordable rental apartments in the entire country. I personally worked with Q's amazing volunteers over a long and sometimes difficult project planning and negotiating process and can attest to their dedication and effectiveness a meeting their mission with limited resources. The Overnight Website Challenge will provide them with the tools to capitalize on their new, much more visible location and take the organization to the next level. Please select Quatrefoil.

2014-03-12 17:05:07 UTC
Nanette Stearns

Quatrefoil Library is known as a wonderful resource for the GLBT community throughout the Twin Cities and the upper Midwest. Now, in it's new location, it can be an even greater resource for the community. Quatrefoil provides thousands of books, DVDs, magazines, and other materials on GLBT topics to its members and the general public. It is fully staffed by volunteers and enjoys a vibrant and dynamic membership base. Unfortunately, the website is outdated and needs an overhaul to more sufficiently provide information to interested parties.

2014-03-12 17:06:50 UTC

Quatrefoil is a great part of the community and has a wonderful, new, more visible physical location now ... it would be so great to see volunteers build them a website to match!

2014-03-12 19:54:57 UTC
Erin Wilson

Please help this amazing resource for our GLBT community, build a user-friendly website!

2014-03-13 16:09:53 UTC
Grace Mills

Quatrefoil Library started as a very small resource: in a closet (and that it no pun intended). Now the Library is a very visible community resource, still proudly located in the Twin Cities: we need a more accessible website for now and the future. A website that would link our present patrons and Twin Cities community members to the events that Quatrefoil is sponsoring. Our new website would prominently display our online catalog; enabling anyone with Internet access to see the many holding available from our Library. As our Community has made significant gains, the website becomes a more useful tool for documenting our history and its resources as well as our future. A new website would make our holding visible to all, broaden our outreach, and provide this Library with new possibilities of access to all worldwide. Please select Quatrefoil.

2014-03-13 15:07:58 UTC
Paula Mazzacano

Quatrefoil Library is now physically poised, in it's wonderful new location, to reach out to new audiences. This amazing library deserves to have a much more visible and accessible role in the Twin Cities and upper Midwest, and an enhanced website would greatly facilitate that role. So many volunteers have devoted 25 years of effort to lovingly create and curate this library - it would be a shame not to be able to share this resource more widely.

2014-03-14 02:33:32 UTC

Quatrefoil is a great resource for the Twin Cities!

2014-03-14 02:04:27 UTC
Anne Johnson

I moved to Minneapolis from Chicago. It was a move that I didn't plan for and I felt like a fish out of water. I began searching for the local glbt culture I had read so much about over the years but never saved to memory for future use. I had never planned to move to the Minneapolis. I heard from a friend of a friend about the Quatrefoil. I love to read and was very excited. I began to stop by and quickly started volunteering for a desk shift and joined the monthly "work" parties. Luckily it turned out to be a lot of fun and socializing along with helping with the small and big stuff. Within a year or two I was asked to be on the board. It was a great honor. It is especially sweet as I realize this will be my last year on the board and I will have to take a few years off. I will definitely be back. I still volunteer for a desk shift, come to work parties, am on the publicity committee and just recently became co-chair of the programs committee. The casual, comfortable acceptance has always made the crummiest of days better. I thank you Quatrefoil for always being there for me through thick and thin. My life is better for it.

2014-03-14 02:20:02 UTC

The Q library is awesome...a treasure of glbt+♥ resources! Their volunteers rock...they are friendly and really want to help you out!

2014-03-14 13:47:30 UTC
Don Yager

Quatrefoil has been an important part of my life for the last 27 years. I love books and my spirit is lifted being around them. It is amazing to me how an all volunteer organization dependent for financial support on the generosity of its friends has not only survived, but thrived. The beautiful new space in Minneapolis is only the start of the effort to become more visible. It provides tremendous opportunities to expand the library's programming and become an even more valuable resource to the GLBT community. A new enhanced website would help get the word out that Quatrefoil is "out of the closet" and it would encourage more people to become advocates and supporters.

2014-03-14 16:49:27 UTC
Karen P. Hogan

For those of us of a certain age, we can remember how rare it was to see the word "gay" in print. Or to see a picture of gay people kissing. Or realized that gay people had a past and a history. We didn’t see it on TV or in your school textbooks. For many people it was here at this library that their lives began to make sense. Count me as one of many gay people who went looking for the story of my life, and found it reflected in the pages at the Quatrefoil Library.

Even though we have come a long way: queers are all over the Internet! Ellen's on TV! Libraries like Quatrefoil are still essential. Homophobia and intolerance are not yet a thing of the past. GLBT lives are still considered “too controversial” to talk about in the Anoka-Hennepin school district. Some public libraries may still filter “objectionable content” from an Internet search. Not everyone knows how to use a computer, or has disposable income to purchase GLBT books and media. For this reason, libraries will still be with us.

For those born into the digital age, Quatrefoil is a dynamic, changing GLBT library stuck with a static website. We serve thousands of readers, writers, researchers and community members, are open 7 days a week, and we've been doing it all for 27 years with a staff of dedicated volunteers.

We see what is possible in the Web 2.0 world, and we need to be a part of it to better serve the community.

• We just moved into a great new space, have expanded programming, a Writer-in-Residence even—and want our website to showcase our packed calendar of events.
• We have a collection of 23,000 items and need a better way for people to discover what we own.
• Even though people may be far away, or the physical library may be closed, we want a way to stay accessible & available 24-7.

We need the Nerds! Please help the “Queer-brarians” design a better web site!

2014-03-15 15:25:38 UTC

Quatrefoil is such an important resource and the volunteers do a wonderful job. It's a real gem and a keystone for the GLBT community.

2014-03-15 20:13:52 UTC
Brian Dahlvig

Some people might say that a GLBT library is redundant; that you can get queer books and movie anywhere. You can get SOME GLBT books and movies other places, but no public library would have all the materials Q has. Along with the materials, more and more events are taking place at the library - events that are planned by the library and others by people who just utilize the library space. All this needs the backing of an upgraded website that shows Minnesota and beyond that the library is relevant and vibrant (which it is). Q is a completely volunteer-run organization. The library truly deserves a good website. Come on Nerdery, help the place out!!

2014-03-15 23:17:25 UTC

Quatrefoil Library is a true gem, and such an important resource for the LGBTQ+ community. Well organized, the volunteers are friendly and welcoming. There should be a place like this in every country!!

2014-03-16 13:38:16 UTC
Scott Breyfogle, President of the Quatrefoil Library Board of Directors

For the past five years I have had the privilege as serving the President of the Board of Directors for the Quatrefoil Library. Every day I reminded of the incredible work that Quatrefoil Library does. The library is 100% volunteer run and does not have a single paid position on staff. As the library continues to meet the needs of the community, the library also realizes it needs a stronger infrastructure to accomplish its goals to better serve the community.

In 2013 the library moved to a new location. Now that the library is established in its new home and is working on expanding services into the GLBT community, it needs a new website while still operating off a tight budget. The library’s website has become outdated in its look and it is harder to maintain. It needs a new website designed by sophisticated industry experts so it can maximize outreach to the GLBT community.

The Quatrefoil Library has been serving the GLBT community for more than 25 years. A new website would help the library continue its mission. It would be a huge honor to be selected for The Overnight Website Challenge.

Thank you judges for your consideration.

2014-03-16 15:18:10 UTC
Kathy Robbins, Quatrefoil Head Librarian

Quatrefoil recently moved to a new, wonderful space in Minneapolis, and now we need a new, wonderful website to help fulfill the promise of our next chapter. The members of the library represent a wide variety of LGBTQA folks, but many are over 50. We would really like to attract younger people to the library so they can share in the books, films, periodicals, and programs that tell the story of their culture and history. An intuitive, interactive, informative, and inviting website would be a valuable resource to reach out to the post-Stonewall generation.

2014-03-17 01:49:29 UTC
Greg Rogers, Treasurer of the Quatrefoil Library

Quatrefoil Library has become an important part of my life, and I spend many hours there each week! I began volunteering at the library and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2013. In 2014, I was elected Treasurer.
Even though financially the library is quite small and is completely run by volunteers, I believe it has done a great job. And, as can be seen from the testimonials above, it has become very important to many people.
It would really be helpful to have a good / useful / up-to-date website (something that we currently do not have).
A more "modern" website would help us continue and expand. I hope that you will strongly consider Q-Library as The Overnight Website Challenge.
Thank you for your consideration!

2014-03-16 21:52:33 UTC
Joan - volunteer

A very pleasant and spacious library, with access to information not commonly available and to literature covering a wide variety of interests. Substantial reference and non-fiction materials as well as a great fiction section with a wide range of literature from light fiction to classics. A large DVD collection and a section of children's books dealing with issues of interest to children of non-traditional households. It is also a meeting place that is comfortable nad attractive. The Q Library has everything for the community of LGBTQA people except a modern well-designed website. It would complete the transition and upgrade to a modern working library.

2014-03-17 01:29:08 UTC

The Quatrefoil Library has been a huge part of my life since I first visited during my senior year of high school to work on a research paper. I came back in college for another project. I've been volunteering at the Q since 2001 and am so proud to be a part of this fantastic organization! A new website would mean so much to the Quatrefoil. New library, a new web presence, to bring in new life (new members).

2014-03-17 19:26:10 UTC
Art Stoeberl

Just think of the fun you could have being a little bit more crazy creating a GLBT web site than you can working on a straight site!

Yes, Quatrefoil has been a great resource for me who has been a member since its beginning and even more so for all the people I've met at the library as they took another step out of their personal closets.

Even the Star Tribune once found material in the Q collection which they could not find in their own files - stuff they created! So a fresh website would be helpful in making a larger audience aware of the treasures in the stacks.

Please consider QLibrary for one of your next projects - thanks!

Our Mission

The mission of Quatrefoil Library is “to foster GLBT community, culture and camaraderie through literature and media in a welcoming place. By collecting and lending queer creative output we nurture and cultivate the value of the whole community. We continually strive to integrate our historical presence into new areas as communication and technologies evolve.” The Library’s long-term goal centers on the collection, display, and preservation of its collections and holdings in an environment welcoming, safe, and accessible. Key stakeholders include its members, scholars, student researchers and the general public who seek out Quatrefoils’s literature and non- fiction works, including a rare books collection; film/video/dvds; and unusual and hard-to-find repository of magazines and journals, both popular and scholarly. We also host readings, writing classes, exhibits and lecture as well, events that are open to the entire community.