In 1992, librarian and author Will Manley undertook a frightening project: to survey librarians about sex, from their personal lives to their feelings about material in libraries to preferred celebrities. Manley published his questions in the June ’92 edition of the Wilson Library Bulletin, at the time a major publication in the field. Shortly after publication, the WLB destroyed all the unsold copies of the magazine and fired Manley.
On April 11th, Manley, now retired, posted the never-published results of his survey, which had yielded more than 5,000 responses, on his blog, Will Unwound. Highlights include 40% of responders feeling that Playboy should be included in library collections, and 23% feeling the same about Playgirl. 22% felt libraries should have condom dispensers in the bathrooms (remember this is 1992). 20% felt casual sex is “by definition bad sex.” 20% admitted to having sex in the library. 4% were virgins.
It goes without saying (though I say it; don’t you love that phrase?) that the publication of these results calls for a modern update of the survey. Manley has already mentioned his consideration of repeating the survey in the comments of a blog post by Norman Oder on the Library Journal blog. Some questions would need to be changed, but the results would be much more enlightening (dare I say arousing?) than those from 18 years ago. If this doesn’t happen soon, I may have to conduct the experiment myself.