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Sex in the Library

See also "Librarian Sex."
Nope, it's not what you think. But if you're reading this because of the title, then I guess the old saying "Sex sells" is still very true. Some librarians have taken this literally:But no, I'm not advocating that Filipino librarians do the same (on second thought...). I left a comment on clair.free.net.ph, which ended up being the basis for "Sex sells...," where Clair asks, "...is the pattern really like this? That to market a product, you have to package it as something sexy or something related to sex?!" Well, "sexy" need not be just about women wearing bikinis. Sexy, the way I see it, is something that catches the eye, arouses interest and entices the customer to... buy =)

Just in case you're wondering, Clair and I were discussing Linux and libraries. I said that both have image problems. That's why Microsoft was getting a lot of attention at a Linux conference. And that's why I think readers seem to patronize bookstores more than libraries.

Clair asked in a comment to my comment if i could write about "marketing for libraries." Here's a short answer:
  • It is necessary that librarians acknowledge that an image problem exists, that it's not just a budget problem. Is it really just because libraries have no budget that nobody uses libraries? I don't think so.

  • And then there are the four Ps:

    Product - What exactly is it that libraries are "selling"? Is it books, information, research assistance? Librarians need to decide what exactly their product is.

    Price - It's all supposed to be free (except for a few things like photocopying), but why don't users flock to the library the way customers spend money at the bookstore? This will need a separate post, but please leave a comment if you have an answer.

    Place - Are libraries situated strategically? Or are they up in the fifth floor where there's no elevator? The environment counts, too. Is it dark, cramped, dusty?

    Promotions - No one will buy something if they don't know it exists. But how can people not know that the library exists? Well, they know about it, but why is it that some students are proud of the fact that they graduated from school without ever setting foot in the library?

  • Finally, the so-called fifth P: Positioning. This is really about image and encompasses all of the four Ps. Think about what would have happened to the image of librarians if one of the four leads in Sex and the City had been a librarian. Or what if the women in Desperate Housewives were having affairs not with plumbers and gardeners, but librarians?
I'm sorry. I think I've raised too many questions that I don't have the time to answer now. Stay tuned...


From Google's cache of http://www.stg.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/12566611.htm as retrieved on 30 Sep 2005 12:15:40 GMT.
Posted on Mon, Sep. 19, 2005

Librarians pose for sexy calendar to raise money
Associated Press

WAUPACA, Wis. - Projecting an image very different from that in which librarians are usually portrayed, six area library administrators have produced a sexy calendar they are selling to raise money for their libraries.

The idea for the "Desperate Librarians" 2006 wall calendar came about because Craig Lahm is retiring after 32 years of running Kaukauna's library, and his colleagues in the Outagamie Waupaca Library System wanted to come up with a different kind of gift.

Twelve of them decided they would use photographs of themselves to make a simple calendar that they would print at a Walgreens. But after the librarians took their idea to Countryside Photographers in Seymour, they decided to professionally produce a calendar and sell it as a fund-raiser.

That's when six of the 12 librarians bailed out. But five middle-aged library directors and a 32-year-old assistant each put up $200 and posed provocatively, using oversize books to cover what their clothes usually do.

Proceeds benefit the public libraries in Weyauwega, Clintonville, Marion, Seymour and Manawa as well as Waupaca.

The women appear to be naked in many of the photos, but all were at least partly clothed during the shoot, said Ellen Connor, Manawa's library director.

The six who took part in the project posed for two months each.

Connor said the women knew their idea was offbeat, so they decided to put up their own money, rather than ask their library boards to foot the bill. But they all got permission from their boards to participate and agreed to donate any profits to their libraries, she said.

Lisa Hein, 32, the assistant director at Marion's library, said the Marion city budget is so tight that the library may not be able to raise spending in 2006 even to cover the increased costs of utilities. If sales of "Desperate Librarians" take off, it would help, she said.

Category: Libraries

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