Monday, October 08, 2007

Sex @ Your Library

I've been saying it for years--if you want to get more people into your library, use sex to do it. As a recent article in American Libraries cleverly puts it: "Sex sells."

Private Internet viewing booths, infoporn literacy, strippers, Penthouse in the children's section--I've recommended all of these initiatives to make the library more popular. Some people object to this sort of stuff in the library, but not librarians. They know that everything that's "constitutionally protected" speech deserves to be in the library.

I'm glad to see that the other AL is catching up with me. Sure, plenty of librarians love porn in the library, but they tend to be the public librarians, the ones who think the First Amendment goes like this:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and view publicly subsidized pornography in their local library."

But now an academic library is jumping on the "sex @ your library" bandwagon. Some librarians at Penn State Altoona joined the fun of some campus sex thing and started passing out condoms with the library's name on it. If you don't believe me, just check out page 60 of the most recent American Libraries to see pictures of condoms with little stickers on them saying "Eiche Library Facts you Need Between the Covers." How risque!

Some people expect academic librarians to be all intellectual and stuff, to portray the library as a place to study and learn, but not those librarians at Penn State Altoona. Nope, they make the library out to be a place to come have sex. And I bet it will work, too. Now all those undergraduates will think of the library as they're about to get down to business. Heck, maybe they can get down to business in the library (or should I say @ the library) and scatter those condom packages all over the stacks.

We might ask why would a group of librarians do something so vulgar, but the answer is obvious. It's to fight the stereotypes, of course. We don't want a stereotype of a librarian who knows a lot about academic research. What a boring stereotype. "In marketing sessions," we're told by the authors of the article, "librarians are encouraged to shed their profession's stereotypical image and make the library 'sexy.'" That might be true, and it would explain why I don't attend marketing sessions. However, I think the authors might have misunderstood the use of those quote marks around "sexy." "Sexy" doesn't mean sexy. To make the library "sexy" doesn't mean one should invite people to have sex in the library or identify the library in the user's mind with sex. It's a metaphor, but they seem to have taken it literally.

Still, what's more "sexy" than sex?

In addition to passing out condoms with the library's name on it, they also set up a computerized sex quiz and displayed books about sex from the library. This is sort of like infoporn literacy. Exciting stuff! And then it gets even better:

"In keeping with the book theme, we also used the ALA Graphics Read CD to create glossy, color bookmarks highlighting the general call number areas of sex-related library materials--RG133 Contraception, RC200 STDs, and HQ12-440 Sexual Life."

Yay! Maybe next they can create some of those "READ" posters with Ron Jeremy or Jenna Jameson holding their favorite books over their naughty bits. That would be fun! That would make the library "sexy"!

Some of us librarians are trying to do a good job and impress the students and professors as knowledgeable professionals. But that might lead to a stereotype of librarians as serious, intelligent, educated, and professional. What a tragedy! Fortunately, we have librarians like those at Penn State who want to turn the library into a sex joke with students. Hey, we're librarians and we know things about sex! We're cool! That way the librarians can be seen as the trained monkeys they sometimes are, dancing and grinning like mad trying to curry favor in any way they can. That's a much better stereotype!

So, Penn State, you've got the condoms with your library name on them and you've got infoporn literacy. Next, you need private Internet viewing booths and strippers. Since you like passing out condoms so much and consider that appropriate behavior for librarians, why don't you go ahead and be your own strippers. Nothing brings people to the library faster than the thought of naked librarians.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a really good example of how raunch culture is now part of mainstream society. Even our stodgiest folks think it is acceptable to indulge in this crap.

I also think these librarians are overstepping their professional boundaries. Condoms should be made available on campus--at the health center! Colleges hire nurse practicioners and counselors to educate students about sexual issues. Sorry, but librarians are not experts about these things and have no business playing any role in this whatsoever.

At the end of the day, however, I believe students see through this attempt by adults to become their peers. Next thing you know, librarians will be eager to dispense hook-up advice because this trend is HOT at pretty much all college campuses, save the fundamental religious ones.

Jeff said...

God forbid that the library reach out to people to show them the resources we have about sex and sexual issues! You really need to lighten up. Sex does not necessarily equal porn. Do you really think that informing students about contraception is degrading the profession? How sad you are. . . :-(

undead_librarian said...

I just...I mean...I can't even...whatever, I give up.

Jeff - if the library were engaged in a serious campaign in cooperation with student health services to highlight it's information resources, I would say go for it. It isn't. It's trying to be "sexy", it's trying to be "hip" and "with it" and I'm going to barf if I keep going. Handing out condoms as marketing gimmicks is so far beneath these professionals, I can't imagine how they looked themselves in the mirror the next day. This is ridiculous, not to mention random and unnecessary, and it will indeed turn the library into a campus punchline. For shame.

Anonymous said...

"(or should I say @ the library)"

I'm going to be laughing about that all week.

3goodrats said...

Sorry, but I have to agree with Jeff on this one. There's a big difference between making pornography available and providing information on sexual issues like contraception and STDs. Equating the two is a typical rightwing tactic used to get sexual information removed from libraries and schools. Furthermore, college students are notoriously prone to engaging in irresponsible sex and having the library team up with campus health services like they did in this case is an effective way to distribute condoms and information.

Anonymous said...

Jeff - if the library were engaged in a serious campaign in cooperation with student health services to highlight it's information resources, I would say go for it.

Undead librarian clarified my point.

God forbid that the library reach out to people to show them the resources we have about sex and sexual issues!

College campuses have plenty of sexual health related programs. There are also peer sexuality resource groups on many campuses. The library, of course, can play a supporting role in providing resources (as in librarians notifying these groups about their resources), but this is clearly a marketing campaign with the overtone of trying so hard to appear relevant. It's sad, really.

Additionally, it is also condescending to our students. They are move savvy about sex than you think. Do some research about hook-up culture and get your head out of the sand. This is a huge phenomenon on college campuses that started in the early 90's and demonstrates students know plenty about birth control, etc., but are lacking relational skills, having difficulty with compromise, etc.

Anonymous said...

This is a really good example of how raunch culture is now part of mainstream society.

How true. This would also explain the time I got my rear end chewed out once for reporting to the library director about a hick redneck who kept coming in and looking at p0rn, and having an attitude to anyone around him.

Indeed, all the normal people complaining were wrong; it was justified for me to be threatened with a letter of insubordination and get a long (and bizarre) dressing down about what my "problem" was with the guy looking at the p0rn.

Yes, I should have just said "well, have a good time," handed him a beer and a Lynyrd Skynyrd tape and let it go. Those other patrons didn't matter, we're here to make sure that guy is happy.

God forbid that the library reach out to people to show them the resources we have about sex and sexual issues!

Heaven help us for not realizing there's already plenty of people on that issue--trained professionals at that! There's no need for yet another outreach issue to make libraries still seem important and relevant.

Do you really think that informing students about contraception is degrading the profession? How sad you are. . .

No more silly than, say, a doctor handing out bookmarks and talking about information literacy during your medical exam.

Anonymous said...

It gets worse: yesterday, I saw a woman ... wearing PANTS! On a Sunday!

These truly are the last days.

Anonymous said...

Equating the two is a typical rightwing tactic used to get sexual information removed from libraries and schools.

Comments like this sometimes make me ashamed to be a liberal. I don't think you are reading her post carefully. I have a hard time believing AL would object to librarians providing academic support to student health services. Heck, I bet she wouldn't mind if a subject liaison worked with student health services to develop the collection.

The point is the approach by PSU-Altoona librarians was not appropriate. I guess you wouldn't object if academic libraries streamed crunk music by the Ying Yang Twins, TI, Lil' Jon, etc., with songs about p-popping, strippers, etc. Hey, anything to reach the students, right? And that type of music is currently HOTT at all the college clubs!

It gets worse: yesterday, I saw a woman ... wearing PANTS! On a Sunday!

How childish!

Anonymous said...

Now come on. The best places for guys to cruise each other is on a big campus is usually a library restroom. Probably not a bad place to put supplies. Friend of mine from grad school said he lost his virginity in a restroom at the Penn State library. He's probably a Senator now. Bet none of that is addressed in that article about those cool librarians and thier marketing.

AL said...

anon@11:32 pretty much provided my response.

Dances With Books said...

Hmm, a bit mixed on this one. As usual, I would like to see it as common sense. So, they made bookmarks highlighting the relevant call numbers and handed out some condoms. Seems pretty educational and maybe a bit light. No one is claiming the librarians are sex experts. They point to resources that would support the health center's initiatives. Like Jeff, I think people do need to lighten up.Way I see it, if one of those branded condoms maybe makes one of those kids think about safety before sex, works for me.

On the other hand, when the porn itself is a problem, referring to Anon. @11:22a, it needs to be treated as such. The library is not a place to be viewing porn. Porn is your thing, fine by me. Go do it in the privacy of your home. Library directors should see this and act accordingly, not threaten a library worker with insubordination for "depriving" some patron from his porn.

Anyhow, the post did give me a bit of a smile. And we shall continue the inforporn campaing.

P.S. Please spare me the pic of Ron Jeremy on a "READ" poster (though I understand the guy is actually pretty well read). Jenna Jameson, hmm, maybe :)

Bunny Watson said...

Still, what's more "sexy" than sex?

I don't know. But what's less "sexy" than sex with a condom?

Okay, okay, before you public health nuts come after me, I didn't say anything about safety or common sense. Just that I'd prefer abstinence to the fumbling awkwardness of condoms.

On the topic of library's handing out condoms, all I see is a sad, laughable attempt by these librarians to remain relevant. "Please, oh please like us."

Anonymous said...

Another thing to think about is who is coming to the library for the "sex," and it's not to gawk at the rapturous librarians.

Sex and Internet access is widely available in today's society; if you have cable you can watch movies, rent or buy from the XXX shop, buy discreetly online, and so on. But that's all old school.

Today a computer and a cable modem costs hardly anything, and away they go. More enterprising individuals just use their neighbor's wireless connection.

So with porn a go-go on 125 channels and 123.7 billion websites, why do people have to go to a library of all places for it?

I came up (after much research I'm sure the leading journals will not hesitate to publish) with three reasons:

1. The lowest of the low, the people with no money, no friends, no transportation, and not much else to do with their time but look at porn.

2. People who are so uptight they'd much rather get their fix "anonymously" in public....or they actually get a thrill out of surfing porn in a public place where they might get caught.

3. Those sad souls with a fetish interest out of the mainstream (to put it tactfully) who can't get their fix through the "normal" porn channels.

Sex @ the library would bring in more patrons, but I doubt if any of these people would be willing to support the library in any meaningful way, but they sure would be enjoying their "freedom of speech."

Oh well, it seems like libraries are screwed no matter what we do.....

Anonymous said...

3goodrats says, "...typical rightwing tactic...."

There's the big bogeyman of the MoveOn.org Left, the "typical rightwing tactic." Don't you mean the "vast righwing conspiracy"?

Brent said...

I like when AL discusses sex @ the library. It's my favorite topic. You know how to drive home the readers.

Anonymous said...

The Internet has just made the pervs at the public library lazier. Instead of taking the trouble to expose themselves to other patrons, they just find an image online to provide the shock value. Ah,those were the days...

Anonymous said...

If these people were truly marketing wizzes, they would be selling the condoms in the restrooms, along with dental dams, to bring in a profit.Sounds like a missed fund-raising opportunity to me.

Jeff said...

I'd have to say that the sorriest thing about all of this is that you all are so quick to judge without really reading the article closely. Condoms were not handed out in the library--the library's booth "hosted" a distribution point for condoms that were being distributed at the event. Library stickers were added to those condoms.

First anonymous: "librarians are not experts about these things?" Marginalize yourself a bit more why don't you? Hearing a librarian say that she/he is not an expert at locating information about sex and sex issues depresses me. . .

Undead librarian: Please don't tell me that the program wasn't done with student health services, BECAUSE IT WAS! I was there. We participated in a campus-wide event on sex issues. Campus. Wide. Event. Please get your facts straight. Thanks.

For everyone else: Porn. PORN? Condoms=Sex=PORN? Yes, we in this country do have a LOT of issues to overcome before we can maturely talk about sex.

I'm taking this a bit personally, because the authors are my colleagues at Penn State Altoona. I was at the event. You are all reading the provocative title "Sex @ Your Library" and letting your imaginations run wild. It was a campus-wide informational event with many participants such as Health Services, counselors, etc. This is a natural place for the library to be, my colleagues chose some creative methods to market our informational services--if "we're not experts at these things,"--man, oh man,--what the heck have I been doing these past few years?

My colleagues are excellent librarians, and I'm proud to call them my colleagues. If you want to discuss "raunch culture," how about we talk about "Bellyaching culture," people who post anonymously to an anonymous blog to do nothing but trash an important effort to keep the library involved in campus issues, and relevant in campus culture. Let's hear instead about what initiatives Annoying Librarian and the rest of you all are doing.

-Jeff Knapp, Assistant Librarian, Penn State Altoona

AL said...

Oh, I didn't realize it was "an important effort to keep the library involved in campus issues, and relevant in campus culture." That changes everything! How exactly does librarians passing out condoms make the library relevant to campus culture? What do condoms have to do with the library? Librarians passing out condoms doesn't make the library relevant; it just shows there are some librarians desperate to gain attention to gain attention. "Sex sells!"

Perhaps next you can go around the campus passing out food and drinks. Why not tap a keg in the reference room. Now THAT would be relevant to campus culture.

Oh, and thanks for reading!

mdoneil said...

Hmmm... that library has no copies of the Joy of Sex available for checkout (1 copy due in December) several copies of the Joy of Gay sex though.

213 titles about Sex Instruction in their catalog.

So rather than purchase more books they bought rubbers and stickers. Brilliant.

Most librarians I meet are idiots.

Steven said...

"Perhaps next you can go around the campus passing out food and drinks."

If there was a campus-wide event about Food, and the library promoted books about food in culture, food in art, human nutrition and sustainable agriculture, made a joint effort with Food Services and the campus Health Service, and then offered food at the library, that would be a really interesting event. If I were an undergrad I would go.

So what is the big deal about sex? This is not Playboy models strolling around with books, it is a few condoms. Sex is a bodily function, and an important part of human life and human culture, and we have to treat students like they are adult enough to deal with it. Hopefully we can be adult about it too.

JJ said...

It seems the main issue isn't really about librarians passing out condoms, but librarians trying too hard to be "hip" and "sexy". Perhaps I'm a bit dense, but I don't see how this particular tactic made the library relevant to the campus. Did it bring more students into the actual physical building or increase activity on the library's website? Being provocative is fine if there is a useful end result. Although I'll admit, I'm a bit of prude who is in the heart of the Midwest where I doubt you'll find many librarians willing to sink (or should I say rise?) to this level.

Anonymous said...

people who post anonymously to an anonymous blog to do nothing but trash an important effort to keep the library involved in campus issues, and relevant in campus culture.

Well Jeff, I think it comes down to condoms are one of those things available pretty much anywhere, and as one of your replies above said, college students today really don't need sex education, relationship skills and living in the grown up world would be better.

However, you can take one thing as a resounding success, this event brought a lot more attention to the library.

"librarians are not experts about these things?" Marginalize yourself a bit more why don't you?

There's a reason why librarians offer information sources on tax preparation but not tax advice, legal references but not legal advice, books on how to fix cars but not repairing the car itself (although I'm pretty good at it), and so on. I believe that is what the poster was referring to.

It's about the same as me handing out aspirin and and Ibuprofen as part of making students aware what a pain in the neck college is.

Hearing a librarian say that she/he is not an expert at locating information about sex and sex issues depresses me. .

There's a really good stereotype joke in that........

Anonymous said...

Hi AL

I live in Australia and thought this new series coming onto the ABc here would really give you something to get your teeth into and make fun of.

a devoted fan

PS AL I tried to give out free sex aids and advice where I work in th guise of library promotion but I being charged for indecency. We are going to rethink our marketing campaign once I get out if I get out.

01/03/2007

The humble suburban library takes on a whole new meaning in the ABC TV's new comedy-drama The Librarians, which starts production in Melbourne on March 5.

A co-production between ABC TV and Gristmill Pty Ltd, The Librarians is the brainchild of actors/writers Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope. Married in real life, Butler and Hope will also star in the production.

The six-part series centres on the trials and tribulations of Frances O'Brien, a devout Catholic and head librarian. Her life unravels when she is forced to employ her ex-best friend, Christine Grimwood - now a drug dealer - as the children's librarian. Frances must do all she can to contain her menacing past and concentrate on the biggest event of the library calendar - Book Week.

The Librarians will also star Roz Hammond (The Micallef Programme, Welcher & Welcher), Bob Franklin (BoyTown, The Extra, The Craic), Kim Gyngell (The Comedy Company, Love and Other Catastrophes), Kate Kendall (Stingers), Heidi Arena (Thank God You're Here, Blue Heelers), Stephen Ballantyne (Corpse Bride) and newcomers Josh Lawson (BoyTown, Blue Heelers) and Keith Brockett.

Butler and Hope joined forces in 2004 to write and produce 13 short films called Stories from the Golf for SBS. Butler, who will play the lead character Frances, has starred in feature films including BoyTown and Crackerjack, as well as numerous television series. Most recently she teamed with Mick Molloy on the Triple M's successful ToughLove program.

"We are thrilled to be making The Librarians. With 25,000 books on set we have fabricated the perfect excuse to extend our summer reading, added to which, the children's library is very handy for cheap childcare, " said Robyn.

Hope, who will direct all six episodes, is a seasoned performer with feature films such as BoyTown and many television roles including Stupid Stupid Man, Crashburn and TheMicallef rogramme to his credit.

ABC TV's Executive Producer for Drama Miranda Dear added: "It's great to be working with such a dynamic comic team. With this series they bring their acute eye for social satire to bear on the world of the library in the most surprising ways. Borrowing a book may never seem as safe again."

Anonymous said...

Let's hear instead about what initiatives Annoying Librarian and the rest of you all are doing.

Let's hear about what an academic powerhouse Penn State--Altoona is. Don't tell me how it is an up and coming regional campus, either. I know better.

Sorry, but librarians are not experts about these things...
At best, librarians are GENERALISTS--that is, unless, they have subject expertise. How hard is this to understand? I am fluent in a second language, and if you aren't also fluent in this language, there is no way I would trust you to select linguistic materials, for example. Am I marginalizing all librarians because I still believe in experts?

Hearing a librarian say that she/he is not an expert at locating information about sex and sex

Uh. The first part of your accusation is simply not true. Librarians are not experts about sexual issues. Sorry. See my first point. The other accusation, well, I still stand by that one. Obesity leads to vascular difficulties and if you have any sense, you can see where I am going with that.

People are anonymous here because there would be a tremendous backlash. Tell me you've never been on a search committee and excluded a candidate partially based on his or her online activities. Librarians are just as catty as everyone else in academe. If I ever become wealthy, I will fully out myself.

important effort to keep the library involved in campus issues, and relevant in campus culture.

Here are some ways I keep myself relevant in campus culture as a librarian:
attend frat parties, hook-up with three guys in one night, manage an internecine rivalry between sorority sisters via facebook...

Raunch culture is a pretty serious matter. If you don't think for a minute raunch culture is hurting women in profound ways, you are a total idiot. I am not advocating priggish attention to chastity or anything like that, but things have clearly gotten out of hand. I know plenty of women who hooked up like mad in college, and they do bear some of the scars as adults. Intelligently argue the matter, or just step off.

Anonymous said...

Now that I know that this occurred at a health-services event and the library was just one of many booths, I really like the bookmark idea. It demonstrates the library's resources on the issue.

I'm not so keen on the condoms though.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whats more funny--your columns or some of the knee jerk responses!

Anonymous said...

What we are witnessing in our profession generally, and at Penn State Altoona specifically, is the end result of a diversity-drenched, self-esteem-soaked educational system which can turn out nothing better than largely illiterate pop culture automatons.

That, coupled with a degree in librarianship which increasingly does little but produce a product called "Progressive," and you've got a recipe for professional idiocy and silly, pompous declarations regarding relevancy and the state of contemporary librarianship.

Anonymous said...

1. AL seems to have a grudge against trying to make the library "relevant;" as if this is some sort of dirty word. Heck, why not try some promotional things and if they work, great, if not, then move on and try something else.

I think the Altoona folks were trying something different and it seemed to work for them. I really don't see what the big deal is about taking part in a campus-wide event. I think the "quiz show" idea was particularly good, especially in that they used library resource for the answers.

If you took the condoms out of the equation, would you folks that are up in arms about this event still have a problem with it? I just think that people have a lot of hang ups about sex and they get bent out of shape pretty easily about anything related to sex. Nobody is saying y'all have to go out and do this. It's just an article saying that it worked for a library and other libraries might want to try it.

Seemed like a pretty good effort from the folks at Altoona to me.

2. anonymous 9:53, if you think that students don't need more sex education, I think you need to talk to more students. However, you're right about relationship skills and "real life" skills too. But sexual health education is a real issue on campus...there's so much mis-information around it's horrible.

3. anonymous 9:33, I can't see how this event was in any way, shape, or form promoting raunch culture. It's not like they were running a loop tape of "Girls Gone Wild." They were providing information and promoting the library in an unusual way.

I'm sorry that some of the women you know bear scars from their college days, but I don't see how that applies at all to the promotion of quality sexual health materials.

Anonymous said...

"That way the librarians can be seen as the trained monkeys they sometimes are, dancing and grinning like mad trying to curry favor in any way they can. That's a much better stereotype!"

Isn't it just, AL! Sex ed/porno- public image aside, this statement is the funniest (not to mention the most truee statement) I've read today...

Jonathan said...

I just think that people have a lot of hang ups about sex and they get bent out of shape pretty easily about anything related to sex.

Well said. That pretty much sums up my reaction to these knee-jerk responses. Some of you people are acting as if librarians were performing a master-class on sexual positions or something.

My college had a campus-wide initiative on student depression. We did a book display, and passed out these little stress-ball thingies. Am I claiming to be an expert on mental health? No just a librarian highlighting the resources we had, and participating in a campus-wide initiative. That's all the Penn State Altoona librarians were doing.

You people need to seriously lighten up.

Anonymous said...

There is a distinct difference in a university health clinic making condoms available, and a library handing condoms out at a booth. The latter relays a casual attitude towards sex. Yes, it is a "bodily function," but to treat it as such puts it on the same level as blowing ones nose, or using the toilet. I won't waste my time trying to convince anyone of all the complexities (psychological, social, spiritual, etc.) that are attached to sexual activity. What concerns me is the potential for psychological harm that female students are subject to, who are not quite as prepared psychologically for meaningless sex.

Some might call that being uptight. I think it has to do with understanding human nature...maybe you can call it good old fashioned wisdom. By all means, though, go ahead and hand out tissues, or how about toilet paper? You could print some pretty long urls on that.

Come to think of it, I think a popular item might be a hand mirror with the library url, so the students can stare at themselves while they study.

Anonymous said...

anonymous1:05, I think you'd do a lot more for women if you quit infantilizing them and treating them as victims. Education helps with that; it doesn't harm.

janitorx said...

What concerns me is the potential for psychological harm that female students are subject to, who are not quite as prepared psychologically for meaningless sex.

Men aren't prepared either. They just tend to be better at compartmentalizing things.

I don't have a copy of American Libraries on hand and I am too lazy to get up from my chair to head to our periodicals section. If the library just had ancillary role in this program at PSU--Altoona, then there really is nothing wrong with that. Personally, I think the slogans on the condoms are a bit gauche.

shade said...

At the rate kids pick up misinformation and STDs I don't see how highlighting areas where information can be found and encouraging the use of condoms is a bad thing. The majority of sex education in recent years has focused on abstinence, which is pretty much useless once the clothes come off. Condoms make kids think about what they're doing, if only for the awkwardness Bunny mentions, and may actually save a life.

Whatever happened to "For sex, ask librarian"?

miriam said...

These librarians are just trying to get people to use the library. If this doesn't work, may I suggest selling crack at competitive prices? Or giving it away?

It worked with DVDs.

D said...

From Anon. a@12:58:

" 3. Those sad souls with a fetish interest out of the mainstream (to put it tactfully) who can't get their fix through the "normal" porn channels."


I just wonder what kind of fetish can be so out of the mainstream that you can't find it through the "normal" porn channels. I mean, on the Internet, you can find anything. And yes, I have seen a few here and there. ;)

Anonymous said...

" I really don't see what the big deal is about taking part in a campus-wide event."

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that providing accurate information about sexual issues was indulging in "crap". We beg students to use the library and our resources but apparently, for some librarians, that invitation only applies if the topic being researched doesn't offend their delicate sensibilities. The article content was rather tame. You're living under a rock if you think that was smut.

These librarians aren't claiming to be experts. They're providing information. That's our job in case you've forgotten. Should we get rid of all the law books because we're not "experts"? Should we get rid of consumer health oriented books on, say, heart disease because, well, the patron should really be talking to his cardiologist?

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that providing accurate information about sexual issues was indulging in "crap". We beg students to use the library and our resources but apparently, for some librarians, that invitation only applies if the topic being researched doesn't offend their delicate sensibilities. The article content was rather tame. You're living under a rock if you think that was smut.

These librarians aren't claiming to be experts. They're providing information. That's our job in case you've forgotten. Should we get rid of all the law books because we're not "experts"? Should we get rid of consumer health oriented books on, say, heart disease because, well, the patron should really be talking to his cardiologist?

AL said...

And I didn't realize that passing out condoms with the library's name on them constituted "providing accurate information." Guess we were both confused.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't confused, AL. Handing out condoms doesn't distract from the fact that they showed students how to get accurate information on important issues.

The condoms were provided by health services and appear to have been distributed at most booths. I'd say that you had a point if librarians handed them out at instruction sessions or with books at the circulation desk. The context here was appropriate.

I do find it ridiculous that some of the commentators are connecting what happened at the Altoona Health Fair with porn. Personally I think alot of you need to lighten up.

Anonymous said...

Clearly AL isn't aware that HIV/AIDS is still a problem especially in some segments of our population. I use to work with people with AIDS. Have any of you met someone who is dying of AIDS. Yeah, well you'd get off your moral high horses and start handing out condoms left, right and center.

I'm embarrassed that many librarians out there are so puritanical about sexual issues that they can't tell the difference between porn and health-oriented information. To equate what they did at Altoona with strippers and lap dances is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. This is shocking. I just received a Films for the Humanities & Sciences catalog and you should see the smut they have listed! There's one called Libido: Sex Drive. Would you believe that the eminient anthopologist Helen Fischer has the audacity to appear in it?!? They even talk about, hold on to your hats, puberty. The DVD is produced by the those smut-mongers The Discovery Channel. Yeah, if you go to any adult video store, you should see their work.

How DARE this organization try to sell PORN to libraries. DOn't they know that the only place college students should be getting information about sex is from a counselor or a nurse practioner!?!?

Said with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Anonymous said...

the thought of naked librarians pointing me to the next open terminal really makes my dewey decimal point!! Why don't you post some sexy pix of you so that I can actually go to a library instead of reading for free at Barnes and Noble??? I KNOW WHY YOU'RE ANNOYED!!!