Rick Mechtly

What is your name? 
Rick Mechtly

When did you start/how long have you been volunteering at ONE? 
I began here in 1999 when we undertook the original set-up and prep of this location- largely did unpacking of 60 % of cases of books & next shelved magazines & newspapers too. Spent much effort sorting all foreign language periodicals thereafter. In 1970s, did filing for Kepner in Hollywood's archives after making my original book donations. I vanished from archives involvement for 16 years to do a lot of AIDS volunteering. Helmed creation of APLA Hospital Visitors and also had three Buddies over the period.

What is your favorite part about volunteering at ONE? 
Fave part is immersion into projects with dedicated cohorts on my years of Saturdays. And, of course, the occasions interacting with visitors enough to assist them in their pursuits. Truly a family affair here. That I became close friend of Edythe Eyde in her last functional year is something always fondly remembered.

Do you have a favorite collection or item you have come across? 
Cinema materials are most enjoyed collection as is a continuance of my collections made at behest originally with pioneer Vito Russo. Really anything dealing with Los Angeles's LGBT history is a big thrill with me.

What is the weirdest/funniest task you have done while volunteering? 
Once I leapt into sorting entire 25+ cases of the pulp paperbacks - deduping for best copies and getting perfected the A-Z shelving by authors. Much hilarity with the rambunctious titles ensued. Close to 8000 titles resulting from this work.

What is something that you have learned about queer history while working with the collection that surprised you or you didn’t know before? 
Many discoveries made whilst assisting researchers for two major outside exhibits: Lavender Los Angeles [my title chosen!] and History of Drag in Los Angeles. Teeny un-catalogued early guidebooks were a revelation. And discovering 1950s culture in issues of Aware News (Gay Girls Riding Club).

What has brought you joy recently during the pandemic and uprisings?
On paid furlough from my day job, I have done a walking photo survey of over 45 sguare miles of my quadrant in my region in SFV. Recorded nearly 500 flower bloom images (now a crafted slideshow) for participation in LAPL Quarantine Memories. Have got very extensive connection to any remaining pre -WW2 structures as well, in keeping with my fascination in area history.