One Writer's Quest to Find (People Having) Sex in the Library

I've seen my share of salacious flap copy, but a friend's promotion of the forthcoming novella she edited for Harper Collins, Lust in the Library, caught my attention: “Some like it hot, and some like it in the reference section.”

“Do they?” I wondered, “or is this truly fiction?”

Lust in the Library is certainly not the first book, erotic or otherwise, about a librarian with a bun a little too tightly wound for the kind of shelving she's interested in, and yet … I worked at the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Historical Society for years. The tawdriest act I ever encountered was a scantily clad teenage page chastely hugging another. In graduate school, I frequented the library's “pillow room” to read American history in the comfort of a tattered bean-bag chair, but it never lived up to its name or reputation.

While doing research for a recent post, “Checking Out,” author Avi Steinberg claims he conveniently sat within earshot of “moaning sounds” that “terminated in muffled resound.” Encouraged, I returned to several branches in San Francisco at random hours, from Larkin Street to Ninth Avenue, but all I encountered were patrons using the facilities as the administration intended.

Some people have all the luck.

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