Head of Reference
The Graduate Center
Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz is an archivist at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and Assistant Professor and Head of Reference at the Graduate Center Library, CUNY. Shawn has a BS in Queer Women’s Studies from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program, an MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction, and an MLS with a focus on Archiving and Records Management from Queens College.
Her writing is featured in journals and anthologies such as Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond (2014), Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies (2013), Out Behind the Desk: Workplace Issues for LGBTQ Librarians (2011), Films for the Feminist Classroom (2010), and others. She is also a Zinster, disseminating her Zine, Black Lesbians in the 70’s and Before : An at Home Tour at the Lesbian Herstory Archives. As a reference librarian at the CUNY Graduate Center, Shawn is the LGBTQ studies liaison where she gets to promote a queer library collection.
Shawn is a co-editor of issue 103 of Sinister Wisdom, a lesbian literary and art journal on Honoring the Michigan Women’s Music Festival. Shawn is also archiving the women of Salsa Soul Sisters, the first black lesbian organization founded in NYC. Shawn founded Queer Housing Nacional, an online space for queer women of color and allies to support the housing needs of queer women of color. Shawn promotes Lambey Press where she sells her zines.
She served as a Board member of Fire and Ink, a national organization for LGBTQ writers of African Descent. Shawn initiated Alternative Realities: Three Staged Readings by Black Lesbian Writers where she debuted her play, Saturnistas. She was a 2014 Louis Armstrong House and Museum Resident. With her project, Her Saturn Returns: Queer Women of Color Life Transitions, Shawn (still) collects and archives stories of queer women of color turning thirty. She was co-producer of Rivers of Honey, a performance space for women of color held in the herstoric WOW Cafe Theater for eight years. She co-founded Sister Outsider (2000), an organization for and by self-supporting young women in Brooklyn, NY. She was also a co-founding member of FIERCE! (2001), and the Ya-Ya Network (1999), all youth member led organizations in NYC.