Friday, June 6, 2014

Romance in Libraries #Avon Baby!

Sarah MacLean and I
     As I sit here typing, I am surrounded by people. Summer reading is well underway at my library, so we have kids, teens, adults and the elderly rushing in for prizes, programs, and that great summer read. Its a bit overwhelming today but I think that’s precisely why I love my job.
     I love people and I adore my job at the library. If I didn’t love it, I certainly wouldn’t have been here for over ten years. There’s just something magical about a library. The smell of the books, the conversations you have with people who have just read a great read, and the exuberance of the experience combine to create a fantastical place to work and to be really.
     In addition to having a pretty wonderful job in a place I crave to be, I am a total Avon and romance fan. Since I was sixteen years old, I have been reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lorraine Heath, Mary Balogh, Sarah MacLean, Eloisa James, and Laura Lee Guhrke. Historical or contemporary, new adult or a little erotic, it doesn’t matter. That feeling of being swept away into a world of life, love, and laughter held something special in my heart.
      My library is located in the heart of Missouri, is one of several branches, and we cover two counties. I pride myself and our library on being one of very few in our area that doesn't have a problem with romance (or erotica, gasp) on our library shelves. Now I know that doesn't sound like a feat to some, but many of the libraries around us shake at the thought of anything deemed too sexual or worry about what the “grandma’s” will think of their selection.

Lorraine Heath and I
     Now that’s not to say I don’t appreciate everyone's opinion, but I strongly believe in life, liberty and libraries. We need to have what our patrons pay taxes for, we need to have what they want. We are here because of them and we need to serve them. If they want a little kink in what they read, or if they want that cowboy to find love on his lonesome ranch, or they hunger for that knight to find his true lady, we need to provide it.
     Over the years, I have noticed one strong theme which doesn't hold true for much else. Since I have started, the demand for romance books has remained constant. Never really flagging, people enjoy a good love story. Interest in true crime, mysteries, science fiction have all ebbed and flowed, but more than any other, romance has stayed constant. New trends have came and went, but all in all, romance has persevered more than any other. 
     Why has romance stayed so close to our reader’s hearts? My humble opinion is, romance is all inclusive. The authors are writing for everyone. It doesn’t matter what economic, family, or even relationship situation that you are in, romance has something for everyone. Want a little mystery in your romance? We have that. Want a little western in your romance, we can fix you up.
Mary Balogh and I
     I hate to dwell too much on brands, but lets be honest. When you pick up an Avon romance, you know its going to be a good read. Great character development and a good story are what we hunger for and as librarians, what we try to recommend to our patrons. In February, I had tables filled with romance and daily I had to refill our Avon releases. While it made my reader heart happy, it wore my librarian feet out keeping the tables stocked! 
     Libraries and romance are here to stay. Romance readers are a lot like librarians. We love everyone, want you to come to our special club, and adore talking books with you. We want you to have a good time and we want to be your friend. You just have to be nice to us and you can’t keep our books for too long. Remember your local library this summer, you might just find that great romance between the shelves.
The utterly lovely Eloisa James and I

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