On the problem of oppressive tastes in the public library

Publication year
Journal of Documentation

This is not a paper specifically about romance novels. However, it has a central thought experiment based on a romance reader. It reflects on racism in romance reading, as well as (briefly) librarians' prejudices against romance, in order to explore the "implications for the practice of Readers’
Advisory". Here's an excerpt:

Imagine, for a moment, a patron who regularly comes to the public library searching for books to read in her leisure time. Let’s call her Sarah. Sarah is a middle-class white woman in her late 30s and an avid romance reader. [...] Sarah, as it happens, also has a strong preference for books with white protagonists. Put another way, she has a distaste for narratives featuring characters of color, especially black heroines and heroes, even in instances where these narratives fulfill her other selection criteria. [...]

Given this, the relevant question becomes whether the librarian is now morally obligated to satisfy Sarah’s tastes—that is, to suggest books consistent with her preference for white protagonists.
This, it is worth noting, would not be difficult to do. Romance (like a number of other popular genres) has a long-standing diversity problem. [...]

Sarah’s taste preference for white protagonists has moral import that her preference for, say, romance does not. I maintain that this moral import generates sufficient justification for the librarian to behave differently toward certain tastes—that is, to deviate from a pure preference satisfaction model when faced with a particular class of reading preferences.