Re: adding porn to collection

Christopher Lewis (
Tue, 28 Jan 2003 09:14:49 -0800 (PST)

I have not had to make the decision about buying porn for our collection
yet but I do take issue with librarians who position themselves as the
arbiters of what is and isn't a legitimate field of study. I'm strongly in
favor in breaking out of the Royal Academy mold of librarianship and I
believe that ephemeral and taboo materials have a place in University
libraries if in fact they are being discussed and studied.

Christopher Lewis
American University Library
Media Librarian

Maureen Tripp
<maureen_tripp@eme To: Multiple recipients of list> <>
Sent by: cc:
videolib@library.b Subject: adding porn to collection

01/28/03 11:10 AM
Please respond to

A faculty member told me today she is teaching a course on pornography, and
will be requesting several porn titles be purchased and added to the Media
Services collection. Another instructor does research in this area, and
way we handled his materials (all of which were old, relatively tame titles
from the 40s and 50s) was to purchase them from his department's budget,
house them in Media Services on reserve for him. In other words, they were
never cataloged and added to the collection. The professor who talked to
today doesn't like this; says they should be included in the collection,
we should be "adult" about it.

Our collection development policy does have a sentence saying we won't
collect material with "scurrilous" content. nevertheless, I anticipate
other instructors and library staff will get involved in this. I'd be
interested in any comments from list members. Thanks!

Maureen Tripp
Media Librarian
Media Services Center
180 Tremont St. 3rd Fl.
Boston, MA 02116