I recently discovered NetGalley. NetGalley is a website where readers are given the chance to read digital review copies before publishing. This seemed amazing to me, so I checked it out. The first book I decided to read was by Kristy Cooper. Her book, I Was a Stripper Librarian: From Cardigans to G-strings, was a wonderful first choice for me to try out. I was so amazed with this book and I learned a lot. Surprisingly, Librarians and strippers have a lot in common.
1. It’s not like what you see on TV.
Personally, my experience with strippers is limited to television. When I think of strippers, I think of women dancing on poles while men throw singles on the stage. The strip club scene Cooper describes, wasn’t like that. Turns out, that was more back in the 80s and things have died down since then. With the rise of internet porn and sites like OnlyFans, people don’t see a need to go out to strip clubs when they can just stay home.
For librarians, they don’t go around telling people to be quiet all day. Cooper even talks about a time when a library patron shushed her and another librarian. Librarians are all about helping you get the information you need. It’s not just about books, but making all information accessible to everyone.
2. You need a license.
Early on in the book, Cooper gets a job as a library aide at a public library in Michigan. However, before she could start, Cooper had to get her driver’s license changed. She needed to be a Michigan resident in order to work for the public library.
Strippers need a license too, of sorts. There is something called a dancer-card where you have to register with the city and have your information in a database. Cooper describes it as a “creepy database” and I have to agree with her.
A registry of who worked in strip clubs seemed invasive and just another way to control the autonomy of women just trying to get by.Kristy Cooper in I Was a Stripper Librarian
3. Sex is everywhere.
Nudity at a strip club isn’t a surprise, but apparently its more common at libraries than you would expect. A lot of libraries have porn policies, which makes sense because kids are around and not all the computers are set up in a private area. However, policies and public computers don’t stop people from trying. Cooper has an interesting story about her first porn patron encounter in her book that I thoroughly enjoyed.
4. Privacy is important.
Why not just block the porn sites? Cooper discussed this as well: “There [are] libraries that philosophically wouldn’t block or stop patrons from looking at anything because they considered that a form of censorship.” Libraries and librarians do their best to ensure YOUR privacy rights are being upheld. Amazing right? That wasn’t something I knew!
This is where sex workers and librarians really connect. Sex workers and librarians are advocating for our privacy in a growing data driven world. If you want to learn more about librarians and privacy, check out the Library Freedom Institute’s website.
It’s such an absurd idea that sex workers are the only ones selling themselves. All workers sell their time and labor. Sex workers just often get a better payout for their time.Kristy Cooper in I Was a Stripper Librarian
I Was a Stripper Librarian blew my mind. I learned so much about two worlds that I considered polar opposites. Cooper was so open and honest about her experiences, prejudices, and privilege. I don’t believe that anyone else could connect these two worlds better than she did. This is going on the list of books I recommend to others and it will one day be a part of my personal home library.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*
Interested in more? I don’t only write about books! I also blog about my life. Maybe you’ve considered teaching in South Korea. Why not check out my dogs! They are pretty adorable 🙂 Either way, I hope my stories help make your day a bit more stupendous.