Working Title: Sexuality in Libraries
Editors: Brian Flaherty and Alana Kumbier
Publisher: Library Juice Press
Deadline for proposals: August 13, 2018
Access to information about sex, and platforms for sex education, have changed radically in the digital era. As curators and providers of information about sexuality, librarians have a responsibility to keep up with developments in both the types of information available, and the platforms on which that information is most readily accessible. In addition, sex is different: collecting and curating sex-related materials, as well as providing sex related information, are both fraught with a variety of issues including personal, political and religious values, age-appropriateness, censorship, and collection maintenance (less generously: vandalism).
This handbook will support professionals interested in developing critical approaches to work at the intersection of sex information, sexuality education, and librarianship. It is intended to help librarians build collections, recommend resources, and create a comfortable and supportive environment for patrons to do sex-related research. Our hope is that the collection will address how we can address issues of sexuality information in our teaching, cataloging, programming, and outreach.
Martha Cornog and Timothy Perper’s guide For Sex Education, See Librarian: A Guide to Issues and Resources (1996) is a key predecessor for this work, essential for understanding issues around sex information in libraries. We hope to build on its foundation by creating a resource that addresses the issues with the same breadth and intelligence, and to bring that information into the present. Among other things: discourses around gender and sexuality have changed; we have new vocabularies for sex, gender identity and expression, and orientation; the scope of sexuality education has changed to incorporate intersectional identities; porn and information literacy has become an essential facet of any discussion of sexuality information; and the legal and cultural discussion around sexuality and alternative sexualities has morphed to be almost unrecognizable to someone working in this area 20 years ago.
Perhaps more importantly, the media for delivering information – especially sexuality information – has changed entirely since the issue of sexuality information in libraries was comprehensively addressed. When For Sex Education…. was written (in 1995) the internet was just beginning to grow into the ubiquitous presence it is today, cell phones weren’t especially common, and nobody could even fathom a hand-held computer more powerful than the most expensive desk-top. The internet changed the way people access information in libraries, changed the role of librarian as curator of information, and made digital information literacy an essential component of librarianship. The proposed book aspires to address all of these issues in the context of sexuality information in libraries.
The work will begin with a collection of chapters authored by experts, addressing different aspects of sex information in libraries. Though authored by individual experts, the book is intended as a cohesive handbook on sexuality information in libraries.
Possible topics for chapters include, but are not limited to:
• The Role of Libraries in Sexuality Education
• History of Libraries and Sexuality Materials
• Sex Education: Past and Present
• Cataloging and Classification of Sexuality Materials
• Censorship of Sexuality Materials
• Special Collections: Sexuality-related Special Collections in Institutional Contexts
• Sexuality archives (including digital archives)
• Libraries as welcoming spaces
• Negotiating ethics, boundaries, identities and embodiments as librarians and sex educators Reference consultations and sexuality education
• Sex information and critical digital information literacy
• Joining sex education communities of practice
• Bringing particular theoretical or conceptual frames to the points at which librarians support access to sexual information and education (e.g., intersectionality, transgender theory, critical pedagogy)
CFP Distributed: Early June 2018
Deadline for chapter proposals and resource guide section editors: September 1, 2018
Notification of accepted proposals: November 15, 2018
First drafts due: May 17, 2019
Second drafts due: August 23, 2019
Final drafts due: November 1, 2019
Final editing & manuscript submission: December 2019 – January 2020
We encourage submissions from librarians and archivists, library and archives workers, and sexuality educators, scholars and activists. We also welcome perspectives from a variety of organizational and institutional contexts, including public libraries, academic libraries, special collections, archives, grassroots libraries and archives, community programs, and more.
Please email abstracts of up to 500 words to sexualityinlibraries (at) gmail (dot) com
For chapter proposals:
Abstracts for your proposed contribution should include the topic(s) you intend to cover, and a short biographical statement indicating your areas of subject expertise and/or experience relevant to the collection. You are welcome to submit multiple abstracts about different possible chapters. If your submission is tentatively accepted, the editors may request modifications. Material cannot be previously published.
Final chapters will be in the 4000-6000 word range.
About the editors:
Brian Flaherty is the instructional services librarian at Boston University School of Law. He is also the co-founder and co-director of Partners in Sex Education, teaching comprehensive sex education to middle school and high school youth in Greater Boston. He has written and edited sex education curricula, and presented at local and national conferences, including a keynote at the 2014 National Sex Education Conference, “Sex Mythbusters!”
Alana Kumbier is a research and instruction librarian at Hampshire College. They are the author of Ephemeral Material: Queering the Archive (Litwin Books 2014), a book about LGBTQ community archiving practices and methodologies. They are co-editor of Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods (Library Juice Press 2010), a foundational collection of essays on critical pedagogy and library instruction.
Please contact Brian and Alana at SexualityInLibraries@gmail.com with any questions.