Tag Archives: american library association

Are You There, Reader?

Graphic courtesy of the American Library Association.

Graphic courtesy of the American Library Association.

My feeling in the beginning was wait, this is America: we don’t have censorship, we have, you know, freedom to read, freedom to write, freedom of the press, we don’t do this, we don’t ban books. But then they did.

Judy Blume, The Guardian (July 2014)

I read Forever by Judy Blume in the 6th grade. (Incidentally, that’s the same year I discovered the Flowers in the Attic series. I’m eternally grateful that I read Forever first; who knows what I would have thought of sex otherwise.) Of course I passed it along to my friends. One friend in particular kept getting “caught” with it (seriously, worst hider ever.) Her mother returned it to me twice. She told me if I gave it to her daughter again, she’d tell my mom. And I was like, “Lady, who do you think gave it to me?”

She wasn’t the first friend not allowed to hang out with me and she wouldn’t be the last.


Written in 1975, Forever is the very real, very intimate love story of high school students, Katherine and Michael. They meet at a party and rapidly fall in love. Can their love last? (Of course not, they are 17.) It was written at the request of her teenage daughter, Randy.  Blume says, “She was reading all these books, where a girl succumbed [to sex], she would be punished, sometimes she would die. And Randy said, ‘Couldn’t there ever be a book where two nice kids do it and nobody has to die?'”

Michael and Katherine “do it” and no one dies!

WOW, does that make people angry! Forever is Blume’s most banned/challenged book (and this is the lady that wrote Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret? and Deenie!)

Here are a few of the reasons why:

  • Frequency of sexual activity and sexual descriptions
  • Use of “four-letter” words
  • Does not promote abstinence
  • Does not promote monogamous relationships
  • Demoralized marital sex
  • Disobedience to parents is shown
  • Talks about masturbation
  • Talks about birth control
  • Sexuality
  • Lack of moral tone
  • Sexual passages inappropriate for young people

So. I guess it’s the sex. Thankfully for every censorious jerk, there are a million women who were educated and touched by her books. And a lot of those women became librarians, who write letters. Get your Kleenex.

Amanda Palmer wrote a song about Judy Blume!

Now go read something sexy!




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Do You Love Your Librarian?

Book and reading glassesWell, apparently, enough people do to have a contest.  Every year the American Library Association, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the New York Times Company take nominations from the general public to recognize their favorite librarian.  The winners of the “I Love My Librarian” award receive a $5000 cash award, a plaque, and a $500 stipend to attend the awards ceremony in New York City.  Up to ten librarians are selected each year to receive this award. 

Not only do average library users love their librarians, authors do also.  Why else would so many make a librarian the main character of their books?  Love stories, mysteries, bildungsromans, erotic fiction, short stories, suspense . . . Librarians are everywhere!

Book Cover for American WifeAmerican Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld – A librarian becomes first lady. This is a story of survival, of marriage, and self, in the face of extraordinary circumstances.


Book Cover for BibliophiliaBibliophilia: A Novella and Stories by Michael Griffith – You’d never believe what goes on in a college library . . . or maybe you would!


Book Cover for Catalogue of DeathCatalogue of Death by Jo Dereske A prim and extremely proper librarian and her zany artist friend always find themselves in the middle of a mystery. Luckily, the handsome police chief is on their side.


Book Cover for Freak in the SheetsFreak in the Sheets: Chick-lit with a Twist by MadameK – Looking for something different and exciting in her life, a fun-loving librarian and her best friend decide to open a school to teach people how to pleasure themselves and others.


Book Cover for The LibrarianThe Librarian by Larry Beinhart – To earn a bit of extra money, a university librarian takes a job cataloging the library of a conservative political mover and shaker. When he stumbles upon information he shouldn’t have, he lands on Virginia’s Ten Most Wanted Criminals list.

Book Cover for Mad Bad and BlondeMad, Bad and Blonde by Cathie Linz – After being left at the altar, our intrepid librarian goes on her honeymoon to Italy alone. With fabulous Italian men around her, she doesn’t remain alone for long . . .


Book Cover for Open SeasonOpen Season by Linda Howard – When a bored middle-aged librarian transforms herself into a cougar, she witnesses a crime and gets more than she bargained for.

So, remember that award and feel free to nominate any one of the fabulous librarians here at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  I’m sure they’d appreciate it.  I know I would!



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