HELLER, Mary Jo & Aarene Storms. Sex in the Library: A Guide to Sexual Content in Teen Literature. 120p. appendix. bibliog. index. VOYA. 2013. pap. $40.00. ISBN 978-1-61751-028-1.
The authors (a school and a public librarian) have been offering a workshop called Sex in the Library (SITL) for years. They conduct collaborative booktalks on titles with sexual content, while educating audiences on the role of librarians. They focus on the major differences between school and public library missions, budgets, selection criteria, and collection development policies. Sex in the Library is more than a humorous glimpse into their attempt to “lure” teens back into a love of reading. It’s also a guide for replication. Readers will learn how to plan and implement their own SITL, and the title includes advice on selling the idea to administrators, compiling booktalks and booklists, pitching books to boys, reviewing books, and dealing with snickers and occasional hecklers. The authors also cover the differences in conducting SITL for students, teachers, parents, and librarians. The book also contains resource lists at the end of many chapters, sample excerpts and book blurbs, an ample list of book reviews arranged by topic, resources for booktalking and a bibliography. The magic Heller and Storms have created might be difficult to put into practice in every community; however, they provide rationale and strategies that are hard to ignore. Even if SITL is not for your audience, the authors have devised a great collaborative booktalking format for multiple audiences that is worth the investment, and their plans could be adapted to other topics that would engage and educate audiences.
Read the starred review from the April 2014 issue of SLJ HERE.