Exploring the World of Romance Novels

Publication year
Public Libraries

The Browne Popular Culture Library has tweeted about this article that

In the May/June 1995 issue of Public Libraries, the official magazine of the Public Library Association, librarians Cathie Linz, Ann Bouricius, and Carole Byrnes collaborated on what should be seen as a groundbreaking article, "Exploring the World of Romance Novels" Warning that libraries that ignore romance readers run the risk of "providing less than adequate service to an ever-increasing number of their patrons", the article is filled with practical advice on things like cataloging and collection development for romance. What's particularly important is the section "Attitudes Toward Romance Novels in Libraries". Here the authors address prejudices about the genre. "Libraries use several different methods of dealing with romance novels. Some libraries are more reader-friendly than others while some try to ignore romances, hoping they will go away. However, romances are clearly here to stay, and it is time for librarians to take a serious look at how we treat these books in our libraries reflects our own biases toward them. When romances first darkened the doorsteps of our sacred domains, many librarians were aghast, appalled, and believed themselves totally above such drivel. After all, the library is a bastion of knowledge and culture. The public library is a place for the classics: Jane Austen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson. We believed that our mission was to preserve for our patrons the things they should read- and, if anyone reminded us that the wonderful works of ... Charles Dickens appeared as serials in a newspaper, we just stared them down." The authors end the article with a simple plea: "To paraphrase John Lennon, all we are saying is give romance a chance."