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It’s Halloween, so I’m going to post about something that’s scary. Harassment and stalking.  This post is stimulated by a recent event, at a recent speaking engagement, where I dealt with a particularly aggressive person…and fought back.  This is another form of fighting back.  Words are my strength, so here you go.

There is a bit of a pestilence on female public figures, including those of us in the library world.  Certain men, and on occasion women, behave rather inappropriately toward us.  For years I thought it was something that only I was experiencing. Then I started talking with my female colleagues—others who speak, write, or are otherwise in the bibliosphere’s public eye.  I have been surprised to learn how many women experience this inappropriate craziness from fellow librarians.

I Don’t Want Your Underwear

The following are all examples of things that have happened to me, and in every case the perpetrator is another librarian.  I know—hard to believe.  But a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science does not necessarily mean that you are sane.

I provide these examples in the hopes that others experiencing similar situations will speak up in the comments about what’s happened to them, and that potential future idiots will take this as a big “NO” sign:

  1. Small inappropriate touches (e.g. sliding your hand around my waist and squeezing, kissing me on the lips to say hello instead of shaking my hand like a normal person, caressing my cheek during a conversation, etc.).
  2. Going home after a long day at work and finding a stranger on my doorstep with flowers and a box with lingerie, blocking access to my front door and asking me to marry him.  I beat a hasty retreat to my car, locked it, and called the police.
  3. Receiving notes at the hotel desk during a conference with sexual propositions, questions about what I was wearing under my dress that day, etc.
  4. Getting my ass grabbed during a hug.  First time that happened, I was so shocked I just walked away.  Second, third, and fourth times the guys got slapped.
  5. Standing in line for the open bar at an exhibits opening gala and having someone recite chapter and verse what I did the previous weekend, my cat’s name, my latest project at work, and my hometown’s recent stormy weather.
  6. Gifts of various kinds…from benign (coffee) to extra creepy (fuzzy handcuffs and a whip).  General rule: If I don’t know you, don’t send me presents.  Period.
  7. Having someone favorite just about every photo I’ve posted of me on Flickr.  We do get notifications when that happens, guys…instant stalker indicator.
  8. Having someone come up behind me, press some choice bits into my body, and put his arms around my waist. This was just offstage after I spoke—dozens of other people around.  This guy got cold-cocked in the face by yours truly and walked away bloody, escorted by security.  There is only one person I will let touch me in that manner. And guess what?  It’s not you.
  9. Hearing a whisper in my ear at a speaker’s reception: “I want to **** you until you cry.”  My response included another few choice **** words.
  10. Receiving a marriage proposal as a series of poster-boards displayed from the audience to me while I was speaking.  Points for cleverness, but disruptive to my talk…and if we’ve never been on a date, I can offer a 100% guarantee that I will turn your proposal down.
  11. Receiving a package in the mail sent to my library containing a pair of men’s underwear with a note reading “You can put these on me and then take them off the next time I see you” (from someone I did not know at all).  I have been sent two pairs of men’s underwear from strangers. Note to guys: not sexy.

I have heard of many other similar experiences from many other female speakers.  Touching, come-ons, proposals…we’ve had it all.  It’s almost all harassment and some is actual stalking.

The Effect of Being Accosted by Creepy Dudes

These experiences used to create a great deal of fear for me.  Several years ago, I became afraid of these individuals, but also afraid to go out in public without a friend or family member present.  I would (sometimes literally) cling to guybrarian friends at conferences…hoping to keep the creeps at bay.  Big thanks go out to those guybrarian saviors—you know who you are.

Now the fear is gone and has been replaced with disgust and irritation.  And anger…let’s not forget the anger.  Now if you mess with me, I will mess with you right back—either through the law enforcement system, punching or kicking you, or by informing your employer.  If you’re on work time and harassing a fellow librarian, guess what buster?  You just risked a lawsuit for your city/county/company/university.

If you want to brand yourself as a creep forever in my mind, by all means be a jackass and do one of the above.  You may even get touched by me for your trouble—of course that touch will take the form of an uppercut to your chin (a move which my massage therapist, of all people, recently taught me to perform quite well…thanks Adam).

I’m Available, But Not to You

Let’s be clear.  Just because I am a single woman under 40, a public figure, kind to strangers, and dress a little differently, does not give you permission, nor is it an invitation, to touch me, send me innuendo-laden Twitter messages, or say inappropriate things in my ear.  Don’t be overly familiar with me.  And if you touch me, you just invited a motherfucking throwdown.  I’m little but I’m scrappy.  I will hurt you.

I unfortunately have more than my fair share of bona fide stalkers.  I’d categorize four different “problem people” as stalkers at present.  Two stalker-types from past years have gone incommunicado after being slapped with restraining orders (thankfully).  And really, guys, something in your brain has to click and tell you you’ve gone too far if a woman even threatens a restraining order.  That should be enough.  But, yes, I know…we’re not dealing with logical thought here.

Is It Librarians?

We are a somewhat more socially inept group than you average population.  I know, I’m generalizing.  But you know it’s true.  It’s also true of other fields, like the tech world – another place where publicly-visible women get an especially lovely sampling of crazy stalker dudes.  Is it that we are just so shy, so inexperienced in the romantic world, that some of us just don’t know where the “appropriate line” is?  Maybe.  Is it a higher incidence of mental illness, especially Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  Most of us are sane and nice, and I try to remember that when stuff like this happens.

Is It Me?

I’ve been writing and speaking for libraries and non-profits for close to a decade now.  I put myself out there – personally and professionally – and I don’t try to delineate between the two whatsoever.  My “librarian self” is so interwoven with my “writer/hiking/neo-goth/everything-else self” that I can’t draw some neat line down the middle of my consciousness.

I also consciously “live out loud” by posting copiously to social networks, sometimes with stuff that would make me unelectable if I were ever crazy enough to want to run for political office.  Things like photos of me in a Catwoman costume, about drinking absinthe at 2am, which songs I find romantic, etc.  I get it—I’m not conservative in the sharing of my brain’s inner workings or what my life is like.  However, that is absolutely not an invitation to tell me what you want to do to me when I’m out of my Catwoman costume, or what beverages you want to drink off of my stomach, or to tell me what song you listen to when you think about me and…err…find pleasure in your own company.

I’ve been told by friends and family members concerned for my safety to just start wear longer skirts (and no stiletto heels), not smile as much, stop posting to Twitter and Facebook, and even to bring a policeman as my bodyguard to future events (I kinda like that last idea, actually…but only if he’ll have a nice glass of Zinfandel with me afterward).  But in general, I refuse to give in to fear.  The idiots will keep coming.  Now I just know how to deal with them better.

Tips for the (Would-Be) Accosters

Just don’t do it.  Simple.  If you have a crush on someone, recognize it for what it is—a crush.  You can tell the person how smart you think (s)he is, how cool you think (s)he is, and then invite the person out for coffee.  That’s the appropriate social action…nothing involving flowers, underwear, or marriage proposals.  And you know…you are a librarian.  You do know how to do research.  So research social mores and figure out some appropriate ways to show someone you like her or him.

Tips for the Accosted

  • Don’t be quiet.  Tell the offender immediately what (s)he did wrong.
  • Tell the person what the consequences will be the next time something similar happens.
  • Keep records of who did what when.
  • Block offenders on the social networks if necessary and don’t feel bad for a second for doing so.
  • Inform the police if things even begin to bleed over into stalker territory.  If it even occurs to you that maybe it’s stalking, it probably is.  Act immediately.

If you have had similar bad “creepy person” experiences, or success with coping with these experiences, please comment.  Share your story.  Tell it loud.

“The Creepy Librarian Stalker Hypothesis”

  1. Coral Says:

    I had no idea this kind of thing was perpetrated by librarians, in professional situations. That’s really upsetting. (Perhaps it’s also upsetting that I knew there were patrons who did this kind of thing and would have been unsurprised by an article about that. Hm.) I can’t even imagine thinking of that kind of thing as OK!

  2. Wendy Says:

    Sarah, I am so sorry you have had to put up with these terrible forms of harassment. I am actually flabbergasted that so many seemed to have been on the part of colleagues.

    I actually had to quit my first job at the public library because a middl- aged male patron (who had also stalked me at a bookstore where I worked in high school, and later gotten my college mailing address out of my parents to send me very strange and inappropriate gifts) began calling the reference desk when I was there and asking about the availability of certain materials. When I would go to check, he would be there, at the end of the shelf, waiting on me. They had the security guard walk me out at night, but I actually became rather sure he was trying to follow me home.

    This was in the mid-90s, before the online things had really taken off, but it was actually the chief reason why I tried to keep my maiden name off anything on the net for a long while. It was, ironically, an ALA publication including my maiden name which re-introduced so many people to my whereabouts.

    I have had only real issue, and the fact that your recur make me particularly sad for you. You are brave to continue to put yourself out there, and I admire you more than ever for it.

  3. Natalie Says:

    While I’m in no way surprised that fellow librarians have done the above…it’s never happened to me. I more have problems with guys who come in to use the library and don’t understand where the appropriate line is. I actually had an attractive guy ask me out once, but to do so, he followed me to the back of the library, in the stacks. If we had been out in the main part of the library, I might have considered it. I get followed in the building and the parking lot. I am never silent about it.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and good luck!

  4. Christopher Erickson Says:

    This is a fantastic post. I really respect that you are unwilling to back down from being who you are, in the “Is It Me” section. The point of being in an enlightened society is that you do not have to act re-actively. Those well-meaning folks do not get it. You should have the freedom to be who you are, and not be held hostage by what some sort of stalk-brarian _might_ do as a reaction to you. Therefore, I say Good on you!

    As a person, I really wish there was more I could do to raise the level of discourse in terms of online communication that women in general face. I want to make it so that the content of ideas are judged first, rather than the typical focus on lookism and other sorts of subtle harassment and dismissal, which while not as scary as an unwanted arm around the waist are probably as disheartening in the long term.

  5. Paul Signorelli Says:

    OK, let’s be honest.
    1) It’s a fabulous post; hope our colleagues read, share, and discuss it with an eye toward making the workplace a little bit more pleasant.
    2) It’s not a situation that only women face. Each of us, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, needs to follow the same guidelines you’ve offered here: Be direct, be firm, and pursue all possible recourse to make it clear that this sort of behavior is simply not acceptable.
    Thanks, as always, for so eloquently expressing what others struggle to describe.

  6. John Romeo Alpha Says:

    When this occurs in anything connected with a work or professional setting and involves anyone acting even remotely in a professional capacity, I would think you could have some recourse to either hostile work environment or sexual harassment policies and laws. This holds true even if the professional setting is not the workplace itself, but a convention, a vendor location, or traveling to/from places like that. I know there are ambiguities and misunderstandings, but the raunchy stuff and particularly the physical stuff are the acts of emotional dinosaurs who need all of our assistance to complete their journey to extinction. And by “extinction”, I mean, in the case of librarians harassing librarians, promptly fired, and probably faced with a civil suit to boot. Now, as for the public figure and social network stuff, people are bit more on their own, and need to have exactly the types of filtering and self-preservation techniques in place that you mention. When the emotional dinosaurs go online, their cry-outs for attention are best met with inattention.

  7. Kristin Says:

    This makes me SO angry! Even in a so called “female dominated profession” women feel threatened when they put themselves out there! I am so sorry this happens to you and I know that I would not nearly have the same amount of courage you do if faced with similar situations. I hope nothing like this happened to you when you came to our conference earlier this week, thinking about the possibility makes me want to go H.A.M.

  8. Sally_K Says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with that crap.
    My partner and I raised our children here in “liberal” Marin county. Throughout the years of school events I regularly had father’s of small children from the school whispering things in my ear such as, “do you miss the penis?”, “do you miss having a man?”, “what do you in bed without a man?”, “are you interested in having a threesome? I’m available if you are”, “you don’t look like a lesbian”, “you’re too hot to be a lesbian”, etc…

    I’ve also had similar questions from male coworkers/bosses in the past but this hasn’t happened in a long time.

  9. Jennifer Says:

    Thanks for the post. It’s sad that this seems to be a problem across the library world.

    I’ve had similar experiences in the workplace. In my first library job, I had a much older coworker who gave me creepy gifts (but thankfully not underwear. Ick.) and made sexist remarks, but only when we were alone. There have also been numerous patrons over the years who have done everything from making inappropriate comments, to grabbing me from behind, to sniffing my hair.

    I think you’re incredibly brave to continue to live life on your terms despite the creepy stalkers, especially when they’re fellow librarians.

  10. Jessamyn West Says:

    Wow, when I clicked through to this post I thought it was going to be about comment stalking and the weird people who follow us around the internet and not real life people being real life terrible to you or to anyone. The incidents I’ve experiences or heard about have been much more isolated and much more benign. i am so glad that you’ve been able to keep on keeping on and aren’t afraid to respond and react appropriately to people being totally inappropriate.

  11. Raffaello Says:

    It’s disturbing that this would occur in any venue, but especially from one profession that is steeped in intellectual and informative perspective. Apparently the street smarts never matured in the cerebral cortex of these schifoso’s or, perhaps – a form of intellectual arrogance paved the way or prevented the natural mechanism of smarts to percolate in their well educated brains. Thankfully, you possess a tool found in your tenderizing right cross that can illuminate the proper path. If that fails – call the cops. They enjoy that kind of stuff. Cheers!

  12. Brad Says:

    My jaw dropped three sentences in and has not been lifted. Sometimes it is so embarrassing to be male. I had no idea. I am so sorry this occurs to any woman.

  13. Bobbi Newman Says:

    Sarah. Thank you so much for writing this. I always admire your ability and willingness to put issues out there in a without pulling any punches. I have had similar experiences, no marriage proposals, but 2 stalkers over the years, one that showed up outside my own. I didn’t sleep for a week because when I did I had nightmares that he was either in the house or had be earlier and killed my dogs. It was an eye opening experience on many levels, especially when one of my coworkers informed me that I didn’t buy a guy I deserved whatever happened to me. Talk about blame the victim. I’ve been fondled and grabbed too. This year I stopped posting photos of my shoes to Flickr because with everything else going on in my life I was too exhausted to deal with the freaks that attracts. Thanks again for sharing and providing a strong example to look up to.

  14. Bonnie Says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m over 40 (by a decade) and have been married for 27 years, but…I am shocked by this and kind of surprised at my own naivete. Thanks for sharing your story. Hopefully, it will go a long way in combating this disturbing (to say the least) problem.

  15. Dorothea Says:

    Fortunately, I’m middle-aged, fat, and ugly, which seems to keep the creepers off. I had some borderline-scary incidents when I was quite a bit younger and thinner, but they weren’t with librarians. (O HAI THAR IT.)

    I have, however, served as a refuge for a young, conventionally-attractive female librarian who WAS being inappropriately hit on at a librarian conference. (Apparently my ugly drives all the boys from the yard…) I was glad to help, but FURIOUS that help was necessary.

    As a possible model for those of us wanting to keep this from happening and manage it appropriately when it does happen, may I suggest the Backup Project at http://backupproject.org/ ? This worthy endeavor does its work at genre conventions, but the basic idea is highly transferable.

  16. Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran Says:

    Good God, Sarah. This is unfreakingbelievable. Good for you for standing up and for putting this out there; maybe the nutjobs will think twice.

  17. John Mark Ockerbloom Says:

    Also: Any convention (genre, professional, or whatever) should plan to have someone among the organizers that’s prepared to deal with harassment complaints. Attendees should know that they can go to that person, or to an organizer’s desk, with any complaint from “he’s creeping me out.” on up. (Even if they don’t seem to be doing anything actionable *yet*, creeps often go after multiple people, and organizers are in a particularly advantageous position to monitor folks and notice patterns of behavior.)

    And the con should be prepared to remove the offender by whatever means necessary, including invoking hotel security and/or the police. (Talking to site security ahead of the event can be useful for coordinating action.)

    Here’s a recent post about an incident at a pro SF convention that shows what can happen when organizers aren’t prepared for creeps to show up, and how they could handle such incidents better:

    http://stina-leicht.livejournal.com/370358.html

  18. John Kirriemuir Says:

    Jesus H. Christ, that is one hell of a dark compilation list. Wow. But, remembering stuff that’s happened to partners, and what have heard, not surprising.

    Most important thing. It is not you.

    Disclaimer: I am not a librarian. I have, however, dated or had relationships with nine qualified librarians over the last 19 years. Not all relationships have been with librarians – I went out with a bookstore owner for a year, for example – but most have been. When this comes up in conversation I get asked if I have a fetish (rolls eyes) or something regarding librarians. The answer is mundane and boring; I don’t; 90%+ of my friends and contacts and people I chat to are in the information professional sector; I haven’t known many non-librarians for many years now. Also; most librarians have a very similar mindset as myself (liberal, helpful, pro-knowledge, pro-education, pro-social media, anti-racist, not obsessed with tiresome British soccer) (having said that, I have dated Republican and Libertarian voters, as well as Democrat voters).

    However, stalkers seem to not consider compatibility attributes, but what (they think) they can get away without comeback. I have a cousin who is a police officer and a martial arts fanatic of a decade. She’s never been propositioned by a member of the public, or had an indecent advance from a colleague. There’s very obvious reasons why.

    In two of those nine relationships (and I’ve suspected in another two but not pushed the issue as am not the overprotective boyfriend type), I became aware that my partner was getting inappropriate attention from male colleagues. One was borderline; the other was clearly WAY over the line. With the latter case, as my partners line manager was a useless misogynist lump only interested in impending retirement and pension, I had to take direct action and visit the obsessive stalker at his house at 3am to have a discussion. Non-violent, though I did cut his phone line shortly before entering his bedroom as that’s what he was using to create upset. With some people, direct action is sadly the only way (and I applaud you giving your groper a bloody nose – it’s an unambiguous message).

    The borderline case stopped when another work colleague of my partner of the time tipped hot coffee into his crotch in the crowded library staff room, as she was having the same problem. Even though this worked, I don’t recommend it as it may cause permanent physical injury, and legal issues.

    Creativity may help. For example, if a man sends you some of his underwear, maybe put a picture up on open Flickr with a caption “Tom sent me his underwear; looks kinda small in the crotch department”. Some variation on the classic “It looks like a penis – only smaller” put-down will stop most male hassle for good.

    An issue that has also cropped up several times that you didn’t mention is male colleagues staring at female colleagues chest regions. This seems to be a widespread thing, here in Britain anyway. Taking every opportunity to visit a librarian e.g. frequent questions, sitting opposite every time in staff meetings, to do so. I’ve probably done this myself BUT at age 11; then puberty clears the fog of confusion and you don’t. Or at least some men don’t; I don’t understand why some men in their twenties, thirties and beyond still do. Maybe this is a British repressed sexuality male thing (no idea if American men are the same), or because our top selling national newspaper has a topless model on page 3 every day, or some other reason?

    Also, male married librarians aged 50+ are in a few specific cases am aware of, a problem, especially when their seniority implicitly protects them a bit. Can’t really say more without getting in areas of libel, but long-term marriage does not stop some male librarians from trying it on, especially with junior staff.

    Being a 43 year old male who isn’t going to be mistaken for Brad Pitt, even on a dark night in a coal cellar, I don’t expect much the same problems back. I have one librarian ex who I’ve had to block across all social media, email and telephone, though she’s still sending me messages through mutual friends, even though I’m very publicly engaged, not interested, never will be again, ever. As with the stalkers and pests of previous partners, she knows very well that what she’s doing is unacceptable, but it’s possibly a control freak issue thing with her.

    Back on your list; it’s one near the start that gets me – the kissing as a means of “saying hello” one. Kissing on the mouth is intimate (well, to me, anyway), and you just cannot do this with anyone apart from your partner. You just … can’t. Even close friends, relatives – no. Maybe that’s just me and in other parts of the world people do that, but if a work colleague kissed me on the mouth … we wouldn’t be work colleagues any longer.

    Just to repeat the most important thing: It is not you. Never ever consider that it might be, that someone’s inappropriate or unwanted attention is okay. If you do think it is you, then the nuisance person has a psychological hold over you.

  19. Jenny Reiswig Says:

    This is *horrible* but I am so glad you posted it! I am also past being much of a target but remember how awful it felt to be one, and I am glad that attention never came my way in the course of my job, where getting completely away from it would compromise my professional life. I know you can’t name and shame in a public forum, but I wish there was a way for a little shunning to occur.

  20. Natalie L. Says:

    I’m really uncomfortable with your conflation of these inappropriate behaviors with mental illness. Some creepy harassers may very well be mentally ill, but I am sure that you know lots of people with mental illnesses who would never dream of behaving in this way–I know that I do.

  21. Sarah Says:

    @Natalie: I am in no way saying that all people, or even many people, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder would behave this way. Definitely not. I am saying I think it might be a contributing factor. I remember reading a study in college about how many stalkers do suffer from OCD or at least Obsessive Thought Disorder. And it makes sense if you think about it. But, as I said in the post, I just don’t know why people do this.

  22. Fixing the unacceptable | Gavia Libraria Says:

    [...] This is unacceptable. The profession would be better off without these griefers, whoever they are, wherever they work, whatever their titles. If ever there was a case for a revocable MLS, this is it. [...]

  23. Must read for all librarians Says:

    [...] [...]

  24. looloolooweez Says:

    Ugh. Some of those things you listed are really just crazy and shocking… and some of them, sadly, aren’t so shocking at all. Thank you for putting this out there.

    At my first library job as a clerk/page at a college library, there was another young man who frequently worked shifts with me who developed a crush on me and frequently displayed his feelings in really inappropriate ways. Following me through the abandoned stacks, calling my home phone (where did he get the number?), leaving odd little notes in my bags, that kind of thing. I was young and painfully shy and had never had to deal with this kind of thing before so I didn’t know how to make him stop. One day he was actually “petting” my thigh as I was trying to get some work done — I scooted over, he scooted too, I switched computers, he came with… but thankfully, a supervisor noticed the whole thing and immediately called him out on it.

    The supervisor sat me down and gave me “the talk” — you CAN stand up for yourself, don’t be afraid to say NO, and always TELL SOMEONE if you’re being bothered, that kind of thing. I will forever be grateful to her for taking the time to do that. He was written up & had his schedule changed so that we’d rarely work together. Didn’t stop him from trying one more time, though… and that time I told on him and he was fired. I will always, always be thankful to that supervisor for standing up for me like that.

  25. Meg Says:

    This is a horrifying compilation of behaviours, but thanks for shedding some light on it. I shared your post with my software-dev. boyfriend, and he was reminded of a similar post written by a member of the open source community: http://lwn.net/Articles/417952/.
    Just thought you might be interested in the similar challenges people face in other professional communities.

  26. John Klima Says:

    I’ve commented over on G+, but I wanted to come here and let you know that this deserves a standing ovation. You should share this with the Miss Representation organization: http://missrepresentation.org/

  27. Megan Says:

    I am really glad that you chose to talk about this subject. It’s something that can happen to anyone and has happened to me on occasion. Thankfully not to the stalking extent, but there’s a couple reasons why. I am young and pretty and friendly, so I get propositioned by a lot of men ( and occasionally women). However, I am also physically imposing and can be quite loud. I find that looking someone dead in the eye and loudly saying at the reference desk, “No, I am not interested in having sex with you” usually embarrasses that person enough to make them go away. But then if I stand up and show just how big and scary I can be ( serious physical threat), well that’s even better. I’d rather have a potential stalker think that I’m a raging bitch who might just kick some ass than a potential victim. So thanks for reminding us all that we have the right to speak out, call the police, or even use physical violence to protect ourselves. Because you never know how far stalkers will go.

    BTW – men of all ages and nationalities stare at my chest. I could be wearing five layers of sweatshirts and certain men would still stare. So please wear what you want unless it makes YOU uncomfortable. Stiletto heels are not an invitation. Neither is make-up, highlights, short skirts (or long), or even a smile. When I’m at work, I’m here to do my job no matter what I happen to be wearing. I’m not here for anyone’s viewing pleasure.

  28. Di Says:

    There is something to be said for being fat and over 50 so I haven’t been troubled by these issues for a long time. Thank goodness no underwear stuff. But, back in the day, not long out of library school I did go to a very nice dinner with others with whom I had been on a panel. A fellow panelist kept running his foot up my leg under the table. I didn’t want to make a scene so I discretely kicked him, repeatedly, until he stopped. Very weird. I’m wondering if this weird behavior is more prevalent in some areas of librarianship than others. I’ve never seen anything like this in YALSA but encountered it in LITA.

  29. Brian Herzog Says:

    Sarah, this truly sounds terrible, and I would never have guessed this sort of thing happened at library conferences – I wouldn’t have thought that librarians had it in them. I’m glad you weren’t afraid to deal with it the right way, and I’m also happy you’re posting this to hopefully embolden others to do the same. I’ve only had one stalker experience. It was stunningly absurd at first, but when she started showing up at the library, I had to deal with it head-on – but did so with the full support of my Director, which helped.

  30. Bonnie Says:

    Not only was your original post disturbing and scary, but this entire thread contains some really disheartening comments about the way women perceive themselves to be viewed in general. A woman should never be objectified for any reason; however many comments (my prior comment included) seem to indicate that age, weight, and appearance are all important factors in the objectification! That’s not as scary as being harassed or stalked, but it is a sad commentary on the perception of what makes a woman “attractive.” And, unfortunately, that perception seems to be pervasive in our society.

  31. Martin Edic Says:

    I forwarded this to my sister who is finishing up her MLS. Unfortunately this behavior is not limited to librarians but it does seem to concentrate around professions that attract cerebral people like academics, software developers, etc. Maybe there need to be socialization courses as a requirement for knowledge workers!
    And to the commenter who has dated nine librarians: I’m sorry but I think you do have an obsession and might consider talking to someone about it. Or maybe try expanding your horizons since that librarian thing doesn’t seem to be working out.

  32. Andromeda Says:

    You know…I am uncomfortable with the number of comments here that frame harassment and stalking as an issue of attractiveness. Yes, Sarah is very striking, but that isn’t the point — stalking and harassment are about power, about inappropriate feelings of ownership and control over another person. Maybe being young or attractive incentivizes people to cross those really-not-at-all-subtle social lines, but it is not about that. (Should we all try to be as frumpy as possible because that would make us safe? No, not least because it wouldn’t…)

    I am happy to see so many librarians (including men) express their solidarity with Sarah because it reinforces where the social lines are, and disempowers people trying to cross them. Because, again, it’s about power, and if we make it clear to people that they don’t get to have power by violating those social lines, that our cultural norms will take power away from them if they harass people, we’re way better off.

    And in the meantime I endorse people wearing the most damn fabulous shoes they can find, and being as fashionable as they want to be. Or not! Because either way, it’s not an invitation for the public to take ownership of our bodies.

    Sarah: if that was the conference I was just at with you, wow, I missed all of that, and if any of it happened when I was around and I didn’t notice, I’m sorry. And if it happens when I’m around again I will be happy to get all up in their faces with you.

  33. Sarah Says:

    @Andromeda & others – Thank you for being willing to get in the faces of the idiots who do this. I only had a few small minor incidents at the Internet Librarian Conference we were at together–nothing noteworthy, just inappropriate comments. But I also tended to hang around a lot of people I trust, and was not alone a lot. I’m positive that helps.

  34. Dorothea Says:

    It’s two sides of the same coin, I think, Andromeda. Attempts at disempowering women happen whether we’re attractive or not; it’s the methods that tend to differ. (And you’re QUITE right that not being conventionally attractive is at best limited protection from sexual harassment and sexual assault.)

    I, for example, have something of a reputation as a talented speaker. I better have, ‘cos the other side of the “I’m less likely to be harassed because I’m ugly” coin is “I’m less likely to be invited to speak based on approval (however sub- or unconscious) of my physical appearance.”

    Disempowerment in all directions… we struggle against it as best we may.

  35. Aileen Says:

    Great post, thanks! I especially loved the part “And if you touch me, you just invited a motherfucking throwdown. I’m little but I’m scrappy. I will hurt you.”

    Usually people know better than to touch me; I usually get inappropriate comments … most of the time my icy looks works, and the guys are quiet, but occasionally I will go further.

    It is never easy to deal with harrassment … so many people still think that it is the woman’s fault. But just because there are those librarian-phantasies out there does not mean that we personify these figures … guys, believe it or not -.-

  36. LibCommenter Says:

    @Dorothea….”Attempts at disempowering women happen whether we’re attractive or not; it’s the methods that tend to differ.” PREACH.

  37. Lisa Says:

    Ugh, I am so sorry you’ve had to go through these horrible situations. This is an issue I have thought about often. I work in a school library, so my patrons are students and it’s easier to take care of any inappropriateness that may occur with them. However, I want to get into some consulting and start blogging more, but I’m concerned about these types of issues. I think you should keep wearing your tall heels! I’m pretty sure they’d come in useful if you needed to kick someone where it hurts! Thanks for writing about this and giving it some attention.

  38. Matthew Says:

    Sorry….this sux! I can’t believe some of the shizzle you have had to deal with! My guess is that librarians keep up with your writing/work and are therefore more likely to get obsessed. Accountants might cross your path a bit less. That said, we can be an overly obsessive bunch, generally speaking. Anyway, your responses are admirable! Stay strong! Hopefully this post helps some!

  39. Abigail Baker Says:

    Definitely not you – think of Muammar Gaddafi crushing on Condi Rice. People with a sense of entitlement will behave badly/selfishly at every opportunity.

  40. Keith Says:

    I’m glad that this blog entry appeared when it did.

    I’m a new librarian and am looking for a way to contribute to the profession outside of my normal projects. I have an interest in this topic.

    Are there currently any groups within the profession that work on bringing awareness to this issue? Would a discussion about these issues fit well within any library conferences?

    I’d like to work on education, prevention, and support for these issues and would greatly appreciate it if I could be connected with others who are already doing this, or who are ready to start. Thank you, Sarah, for this entry.

  41. Sarah Houghton (Librarian in Black) Says:

    @Keith – I don’t know if there are any library specific groups working on this, but there are definitely national groups dealing with the issue in the world in general. I don’t know if there would be interest in this as a conference session — it depends largely on the conference. But there’s only one way to find out – submit a proposal!

  42. Emily Says:

    Been there. Not nearly as bad, but bad enough.
    I don’t know why people are surprised – women get this kind of treatment (or worse) in all sorts of professions. It’s not a library-specific problem.
    PS. it was actually a lot worse when I was pregnant. And not just from librarians. And not just from men.

  43. Ann Says:

    This is appalling. Even though I have experienced a minor version of this sort of bullshit (over the years) both in and out of the library world , I’m actually a little stunned by the sheer regularity of it. I encourage the commenter who thinks we need to address this head on.

    My experiences have generally been minor excepting an experience in college when I was stalked by a creepy alumnus and had to get the police involved and a serious of encounters with a librarian who was retired from the public library where I worked. It started with a curious incident of a woman flirting with me awkwardly at the reference desk, which the retired guy observed. He then began a several week run of inappropriate behavior based on his new knowledge that I’m gay. I think it was some sort of weird attempt at bonding; but, mostly he wanted to engage in conversation about women in an extremely objectifying way. I’m assuming he believed because I was gay, I thought about women in the same way he does. After several tries of ignoring him, changing the subject and telling him I wouldn’t talk with him about anything other than reference questions, he continued dropping comments and at one point asked me directly if I had f+++ the woman from the original conversation. I finally told him that I was uncomfortable with his continued attempt to try engage me in these discussion and in his sharing of erotic drawings that he found in a book. I told him that he needed to keep his topics of conversation to reference inquiries and the weather or I would have to go to the Director. He stopped immediately. He was also caught surfing porn by another librarian who let him off with a warning; but, let him know, he’d only get one more chance.

    The only other time I had what I consider a weird encounter with another librarian was at a seminar. A female, librarian acquaintance (someone I had met before) made a comment about my appearance and touched my face. I wonder if other people feel the same way; but, its slightly more confusing when the harasser is a woman. If a man had touched my face, I would have immediately said, “Don’t touch me.” But, I just walked away from this encounter feeling embarrassed

    I am saddened that so many people have to waste energy worrying about this stuff. And that’s the part that is so damaging to quality of life. The encounter may only last as long as a waist squeeze or a spoken phrase; but, the worry and fear and anger can linger and be disasterous to a person’s happiness.

  44. Liam Hegarty Says:

    Librarianship is my third career and I’m shocked, shocked to find out that librarians can be just as much pigs as real people. As for your #4, slapping is not the way to go. When I was a lawyer, I worked with a guy who routinely got slapped. To him, a slap was just part of flirting. A punch, however, is a different matter. I still remember the look of shock on his face when one of his victims bloodied his nose.

  45. Andria Says:

    It’s certainly not library specific. I’ve been dealing with similar issues since I got my first job at a convenience store at age 16. When I started working at my current public library job, my boss actually remarked that she had never seen the male patrons act so bold in her 21 years of service as they did with me–dubious honor that that is.

    The problem is, I know a lot of it is because I’m friendly and helpful, but I got into this business because I want to be friendly and helpful. I don’t want to get hard and jaded this early in my career, but, as I said, this has been going on in every customer service job I’ve had since age 16.

    Do you, Sarah, or anyone else have any suggestions for how to deal with inappropriate patrons without fear of reprisal? I certainly don’t want to tell a guy to go to hell and then have him complain that I was the inappropriate one, but I also don’t want the Christmas cards, business cards and/or other comments.

  46. Jeanne Says:

    On behalf of all of us who have been harassed, thank you so much for speaking up about this. As a woman in this culture, I am in no way surprised! To add to your TIps for the Accosted: not only speak up but speak loudly – draw attention to the situation if you feel safe. These people thrive on secrecy.

    My experiences with harassment include by a woman library director, and yes, it is all about power not sex!

  47. Jennifer Says:

    Thank you very much for this article. I think that it is something that doesnt get discussed because there is this idea that librarians are too smart to engage in this sort of behavior. We hear horror stories from waitresses, teachers, and bookstore employees, but for some reason librarians do not have that level of visibility. I have never been harassed this badly, but I have had to threaten to get the police involved with 3 of my male patrons. I have been met out at my car before, or had someone waiting at the staff exit. Thankfully, none of them ever found out where I live.

    I’m very fortunate that the current library that I work at has a no tolerance policy for stalking and harassment. I wish every library, and librarian, was that forward thinking. I have forwarded this article to several fellow librarians.

  48. A Says:

    Yes, I am a little late to the conversation, but I wanted to make a couple of comments.

    First, this behavior toward you is absolutely, 100%, unacceptable. Those involved in such things deserve far more than the hits they received.

    Second, this kind of behavior toward anyone is 100% unacceptable – and, yes, men can be the targets of offenders and stalkers as much as women.

    However – and I expect I might be flamed for this comment – there is a reason why one heard in the past “I don’t mix business with pleasure.” I expect that sentiment needs to be followed by many more of us. Just because we have jobs we find personally fulfilling and that we may love, and careers that allow us to use our talents and skills, doesn’t mean we should let the personal become heavily entwined with the professional. Honestly, I expect that anything I’ve posted online ever can come back to haunt me. Be careful out there.

  49. C Says:

    I’ve been really fortunate not to have had any major problems, and, perhaps through sheer luck, my work environments have actually presented me with less harassment than the world in general. My first forays into the post-college work world were as a domestic violence worker, and even though that turned out not to be the career for me, I have continued to draw upon the professional training I received in identifying problem behaviors and drawing boundaries. Even if you have a good sense of where to draw boundaries with your own behavior (i.e. you aren’t harassing anyone else), you aren’t automatically prepared when you have to draw boundaries for someone *else’s* behavior. Still, despite the weirdness I’ve seen and heard, it seems that there are an endless supply of stories in which I can’t imagine I’d do anything but stand there completely stunned that anyone would say or do such a thing.

    In response to Di (#28), I’ve also wondered whether this behavior is more prevalent in some areas of librarianship than others. I’m a theology librarian, and I wonder if so many of my colleagues’ having been to seminary or even ordained means that many of them have been through screening processes designed to weed out predators. Not that these procedures catch everything–as we’ve clearly seen from multiple horrifying scandals–but I would assume that they must disqualify some of the more blatantly ill-adjusted. I’m not that familiar with YALSA members as a group, but I’m assuming that working with children also puts candidates under more scrutiny. But this is just speculation on my part. It would be really interesting to see a broad survey of people in multiple professional fields to see if some are worse than others.

    I’d love to see library education include some time spent learning how to deal with common unsafe situations–especially in terms of short demonstrative skits and role-playing. Really, I’d like to see this kind of education started in middle schools and high schools, but it’s the sort of skill you work on throughout your life.

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  51. Tim Says:

    I applaud you for taking action when this happens. The most important thing to reducing this behavior is making sure they don’t get away with it.

  52. Eli Edwards Says:

    Frell. Sarah, I had no idea that some of our “professional” colleagues could be so … icky. I’m glad you have not withdrawn from the public space, and that you’ve publicized this. Thank you.

  53. Gail Says:

    Great post, Sarah. And you’re absolutely right that the way to deal with these harassers is loudly and directly. This kind of behavior flourishes when the perps think their targets will be too embarrassed to say or do anything to expose them. Andromeda is exactly right that it’s about power, not sex. It has nothing to do with age, attractiveness, sexual orientation, how we dress, or whether we’re single. It has to do with being women. Yes, I know, it sometimes happens to men, too, but (1) that’s not the norm, and (2) the effect on men is different because their social position is different. Women live with this stuff so constantly it’s sometimes hard to remember that it’s not “just life,” it’s actually wrong.

    Men, however, do have a part to play in stopping this: speak up when you hear other men speak disrespectfully about women or behave in ways that disrespect women — not to “protect” women, which is just as disempowering as that harassing behavior, but to take responsibility for getting other men to stop. You guys know when other guys are saying or doing things that demean women, and your silence let’s them think it’s okay. So let them know it’s not okay, and maybe someday harassment of women will truly be socially unacceptable.

  54. What I’m Reading 11-3-11 | Says:

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  55. Marsha Says:

    Sarah~ Thanks so much for writing this! It made me tear up at my desk when I read it. I am a MLIS student currently and do not work in the library. However, for some reason, I have noticed many male creepers hitting on me in the most inappropriate ways at the yoga studio (of all places!!!). It is really horrible when you are just trying to do something you love, and some creep has to get all inappropriate. As a result, I have been cyberstalked in the most odd ways…I mean, one creep tracked me down on Yelp for God’s sake! Thanks again for posting. Regards, Marsha

  56. Steve Lawson Says:

    This post is another great reminder of how much I admire you for your strength and courage.

    Also, may I please have my underwear back?

  57. Sarah Says:

    Nice, Steve. :) If you ever sent underwear in the mail, I think the post office gremlins ate it. Hungry buggers.

  58. anonymous Says:

    Funny, I’ve experienced almost all of those things from female librarians (I’m male). My supervisor (female) did nothing about them. I’m saddened by the poor management in this profession.

  59. Jenny Says:

    Wow, this is super unacceptable, but sadly, not unexpected. In addition to dealing with some of the more obviously inappropriate maneuvers you describe here, it can also be REALLY challenging to deal with behavior that straddles the line of inappropriateness – you know, interactions that just feel odd or a little bit icky, but make you feel silly for wanting to speak up about them. What I’ve found in those cases is that communication with coworkers is key to discovering you’re not alone and diagnosing the depth of a problem.
    We had an issue in the library where I work with a security guard of all people. Several of us had unsettling experiences with him, but it wasn’t until we all talked to each other about it that we realized the problem with him was much worse than initially thought. He got fired.

    I haven’t had many issues with harassment/stalking in the library world, but in earlier jobs I’ve had, I definitely have. I had one coworker who kept asking me out and would not take no for an answer. He then resorted to commenting publicly about what I was wearing, and finally, telling everyone in our workplace that I was a racist for not agreeing to go out with him. He would follow me from work to my bus stop and make comments like “I’m not stalking you.” But I was young and unsure of myself. I should have spoken up far sooner. It finally took yelling at him at work in front of many coworkers and our boss before action was taken.

    The worst part about all of these incidents is that it can make the victim feel badly about him/herself. It can make you feel dirty or that you did something wrong. That’s not the case, and standing up for yourself sooner rather than later can make all the difference.

  60. Jane Says:

    Sarah, for the things that happened where you have witnesses, e.g. calling the police to your home, or things that happened at conferences, did you get a police report and/or witness report as well? If your concern is about being harassed or stalked in a professional capacity, then having documentation to report to the person’s employer would be appropriate.

  61. Sarah Houghton Says:

    You’re right–documentation is critical. I have documentation for many incidents. Unfortunately, for some of the earlier ones I was so in a rush to get away or get out of the situation that I was not self-possessed enough to document or get names of witnesses. I’ve learned my lesson though.

  62. girlbrarian Says:

    I agree that these things that have happened to you are terrible, but I am disappointed that you used the term “guybrarian.” It is sexist to refer to men in a field that is primarily populated by women by their sex. I would be offended if a woman software developer was referred to as a girl-developer.

  63. Sarah Says:

    That’s a good point. The men I am referring to (all 3) call themselves guybrarians, which is why that term came to mind for me. But you are absolutely right – it is gendered as well. Thank you for keeping me honest.

  64. Robin Says:

    Yes, I’ve experienced the creepy librarian. I was at my first ALA conference, and mr. creepy tried to kiss me in the elevator going back to our rooms! I had a normal “guybrarian” help me out as well, but when creepy switched flights and managed to get the seat next to me on the flight home, I thought I was going to die! (He stared at me the whole flight) I got e-mails and postcards from him for a while, but they did stop.

    And this was nearly 15 years ago!

  65. Sarah Houghton shares her experiences on stalking in the library world, not from… | BLOG.CLNN.INFO Says:

    [...] The Creepy Librarian Stalker Hypothesis | Librarian in Black Blog – Sarah Houghton It’s Halloween, so I’m going to post about something that’s scary. Harassment and stalking. There is a bit of a pestilence on female public figures, [...]

  66. Lisa Says:

    Definitely….beyond creepy. I don’t have any such scary stories yet, although the career is still young. Eep! You are AWESOME though. Thanks for the tips.

  67. Mac Says:

    I heartily recommend Gavin de Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear. Read it. It will give you powerful insights and useful strategies for dealing with borderline or over-the-line stalkers.

  68. John Says:

    Thanks for such an honest post. I have been a fan of yours for a long time, but not the creepy kind. I’m sorry you’ve had so many problems. It’s eye opening, as a man, to read such things. I really thank you for that. While I never realized the extent of such crazy actions, it does not surprise me that they happen. It’s extremely unfair to you, and is all about these men’s issues. Hopefully, your post will wake some of them up. Good for you!

  69. What was interesting on Nov. 3 | Spinstah Says:

    [...] in Black: The Creepy Librarian Stalker Hypothesis Librarians harassing other librarians. WTF?! Also, this cool project was mentioned in the comments: [...]

  70. Women journalists confront harassment, sexism when using social media | My Blog Says:

    [...] it’s some-more worldly than that, though not terribly much. we had a co-worker who recently made a post about a accurate kinds of stalking and nuisance she gets as an outspoken librarian who is on a harangue circuit, flattering many a same as me. And we have [...]

  71. library_geek Says:

    ….this post left me shocked. Who would have thought this type of behaviour happened within our industry. There are no words to describe how entirely inappropriate peoples behaviour has been towards you. In your favour though you have spoken out, a small but worthy part of the battle won. Inspiring to many of us.

  72. gender rage, the Public Speaking edition at Attempting Elegance Says:

    [...] My genderrage says yes. Yes, that is it. And when women do stand up and get noticed, they run the risk of having to endure harassment and assault. [...]

  73. M Says:

    Good for you for standing up for librarians and more broadly for women’s rights in general. It’s important to know that issues such as this are not swept up under the rug, even in “professional” environments among educated people. The one thing I would caution you about, though, is publicizing violent responses. While I admire your spirit in defending yourself from these disgusting attacks you also want to be very careful about physically escalating a confrontation unless absolutely necessary. You don’t know what that could turn into and what the assailant is capable of. As brave as it sounds you might not win that “motherf*cking throwdown” and the consequences to that might be grave. Reporting such incidents to police, security, and involving the assailants employer are always preferable first responses if possible.

  74. kind of creepy, dude. at Attempting Elegance Says:

    [...] See also: The Creepy Librarian Stalker Hypothesis. [...]

  75. Michelle Young Says:

    I am still picking my jaw up off of the floor….OMG.

  76. Move. Shake. Repeat. « Civil Civil Servant Says:

    [...] is just a big, sometimes dysfunctional family.  JP is the fun Uncle.  There’s usually a creepy Uncle and the relatives who are always sticking their heads into the den and yelling, “C’mon [...]

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    [...] pathetic timid but passionate librarian fantasy. (Librarians: please read Sarah Houghton’s The Creepy Librarian Stalker Hypothesis for tips on dealing with harassment in the workplace. It was a good refresher course in standing up [...]

  78. Michelle Says:

    I have two chronic abusers right now. One is a man who seems grandfatherly but is way overly touchy feely. He’s tried everything from slapping my hand, massaging my neck, putting his arm around my shoulders or waist. The first time, it completely shocked me, and I didn’t react appropriately. Now when I see him coming, I keep him at arm’s length at all times. Maybe I seem rude, but I go home unviolated.

    The other is a potentially mentally disabled man. We’re not sure. He comes in alone and mutters a lot. He stares at the reference librarians. Once he asked me a question, but stared at my chest the whole time. Then one day he caught me in the stacks, and we played a dance around each other until I realized he had no purpose in being there other than to try and run up against me. I left the area quickly.

    I’ve reported these incidents to our guard staff. That’s all we can do unless they push it further. My boss recommends I go hide in the back whenever I see these two guys in the library, but that’s a pain. I want to do my job. It makes me angry.

  79. Your Questions About Sexual Tension Between Friends Boyfriend | Signs You Met the Right One Says:

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  80. Meg Says:

    Thank you for writing this. I am so sorry about all of the utter crap it sounds like you are dealing with. That you have still been willing to put yourself out there and be involved to the extent you have is a testament to newer librarians like me. One of the biggest problems with sexual harassment and assault is the degree to which it is simply shaken off as par for the course or simply not talked about. That you wrote the first post and then decided to revisit such a painful subject to underline how little things have changed is amazing. You should not be expected to trot out your unfortunate and painful experiences for the sake of others, but that you are willing to so eloquently describe these awful experiences as a female public figure is appreciated. I, perhaps naively, like to think that talking about the full extent of the problem is helpful in making change. It is despicable that you’ve had to go through this. Absolutely. But, it is touching that despite distancing yourself from blogging and public engagements, despite all of the incredibly awful things going wrong, you have taken out time to share that things did not magically get better after writing the first post. Unfortunately, they will likely not get magically better after this post. But, in my mind, it makes what you say no less important. I rarely comment directly on blogs, and even further, when I do it is rarely because I agree with the poster. But, I felt so strongly that I needed to let you know that this particular post is deeply appreciated. For what it is worth, you have my sincerest sympathy for all of this crap happening in your life right now.

  81. abdul rahimov Says:

    please delete post #77, its a commercial spam, thks, i cant abide spam comments.

  82. Sarah Says:

    Done! Thanks for catching that!

  83. Jill Brown Says:

    I am a newly minted librarian and am currently experiencing a stalker. Thank you very much for sharing this…

  84. Dear Book Nerd: "What's the Best Pick-Up Line to Use on a Librarian?" Says:

    […] gals around town (because a good librarian always provides further resources). In her post “The Creepy Librarian Stalker Hypothesis,” Sarah Houghton (a.k.a. The Librarian in Black), blogged about some harrowing sexual […]

  85. eddy bliss Says:

    hi,um sorry but theres a lot of female stalkers or harassing woman I mean too so stop being so discriminatory please ans youre one of those narrowminded for sure I take it folks as its obvious youre into this guys always the perps when alotta femaels do it too,.i speak from vast experiences ok!

  86. eddy bliss Says:

    one last thing please as I liked your article to a point but its the most aggravating pieve of writing ive probably barred none ever ever read.i never get this boisterous usually as to reply to things I just ran across but if you wanna help people out here as I believe its an ego thing more or less ive something to share then ill bid you leave.well ive been being stalked by a gorgeous female librarian but creepy and a degenerate nonetheless.im into karate and all that jazz too for decades so when she gets people after me I can easily easily injure them and w/o problem.but I don’t act like im so tough Gods gift to women coz yes im very handsome and very smart too.theres a such thing as females at libraries beinfg complete sorry to says whores.i know from experiences I said plural there.yes youre right in a lot or most of what you say but some women are merely being wooed by admirers and at least theyre not old ugly fat ones nobody except complete and total utter losers want.i think its cute when women blow kisses at me or kiss me right on the cheek and im not so high and mighty like some out there to accept the compliment.yes they can go too far and us men are branded Frankenstein when we simply are independent and headstrong testosterone controlled enough to say bug off or scram creep and many many women are creepy not just the men.its time us really nice and really handsome men like me stood up to unfair predjuces from a hateful spiteful world.otherwise I liked your article except the aggravating and inciteful parts which is about 80 or more of it lol!

  87. sobenyree Says:

    I had no idea! Thank you for sharing.

  88. Why ALA Needs a Code of Conduct | Backtalk Says:

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  89. The ALA Statement of Appropriate Conduct: a FAQ Says:

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    […] to put in chronological order. But to set the mood, I’m kicking things off with a piece by Sarah Houghton from 2011 about her experiences with professional sexual harassment, and adding in my own piece when I got […]

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