Library phone sex?

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the Vienna library who is raising money by reading Victorian erotica to callers for 53 cents a minute.

It’s unusual, but it’s not particularly raunchy: Callers pay 53 cents a minute to listen to an actress read breathless passages from erotica dating to the Victorian era.

City Hall set up the hotline earlier this month to help the library raise cash for planned remodeling and expansion, Austrian media reported.

Anne Bennent, a famous Austrian stage and film star, reads passages from the Vienna library’s collection of 1,200 works of erotic fiction from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, the library said.

I started seeing this story in news articles a few days ago, and thought it was a bit amusing. But now, I’m seeing it everywhere. Something about this piques the interest of the general public.

For many, the idea that anything related to a library can be erotic is amazing. (On behalf of librarians everywhere, Gee Thanks.) While I’m not sure I’d want to wander down this path in my library, I’m guessing they’re going to raise a bit of money doing this. Though, come to think of it, I have been told on more than one occasion that I have a voice for phone sex. Who knew I could combine that with a library career and be a star…

I’m not sure how I feel about all this, exactly. On the one hand, it’s certainly a good publicity stunt, if nothing else. I do wonder what the library thinks about all this. The various articles I’ve seen are all the same AP story from the wire, so I haven’t read any other details, but the City Hall seems to have been the body that came up with this idea.

It’s one thing to point out that the library has a collection of Victorian erotica. (See? We have cool smutty stuff, too….but it’s old, so it’s not really smutty.) It feels like creeping over a line to be performing same. And boy, I am not the priggish type…but something about this bothers me.

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Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship

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