Meet Cute at the Library!

The Teen Guide to Dating coverThe Teen Guide to Dating

Back in the day, I would have gladly grabbed a book about teen dating. Being a total dating failure for most of my life, I would have loved help on this subject.  Does dating advice change? Maybe not, but the cultural references do.  Do kids use the term “go steady?”  I thought that was fading as a term when I was in high school.

While we are at it, as a person who has been working in libraries for over 10 years and being a consistent library user prior to that, I am here to tell you that you don’t really want to meet guys at the circ desk.  I will leave it to academic librarians to let me know if it is better at the college library circ desk.

Broken record time: For the love of God, please weed your teen nonfiction.  Good rule of thumb: if the book is older than your audience, it’s time to reconsider!


Teen Guide to Dating contents

Teen Guide to Dating excerpt


  1. I’d say dating advice most definitely does change. Sure, there are fundamental axioms about how relationships work, but the way they’re put into practice by society? Always in flux.

  2. Well, I met my husband at the library. I was a librarian and he was a student when we met, but we didn’t start dating until he was a “real” staff member and working on his MLS. We didn’t date at work, so people were shocked when we got engaged!

  3. “commenting on the various library materials they selected”?? That’s a big no-no at my local library.

  4. I worked with teenagers, and I would definitely weed anything that doesn’t mention current technology. They may be too young for Internet dating, but they’re all on Facebook, they all have cell phones, and they all text like there is no tomorrow–basically their relationships are all mediated in some way through social-networking or cell phones. Any book that’s not on top of all that is going to seem pretty irrelevant.

    And the cover image is dated even for 1980. I was a teenager in the ’80s, and the two-kids-share-an-ice-cream-soda thing existed only in Archie cartoons and Norman Rockwell paintings. I wouldn’t have picked this up, because even back then I would have assumed the advice was really old-fashioned. (Try cheerleading! Stuff your bra! Don’t act too smart! Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses!)

  5. When I worked the Circ desk as a freshman, I met my first older boyfriend (36 v. 18) one late night. That relationship didn’t work out too well, but I found my current boyfriend (together 10 years) the next year (38 v. 19) at the Rocky Horror Picture Show, so I don’t think the previous breakup was due to the age gap. I also dated someone my exact age in between, which also didn’t work out. (We met during a popcorn fire in the dorm in PJs on the sidewalk and went to the Union arcade.) Long story short, don’t rule out ANY avenue!

  6. “Go steady” sounded dated (sorry for the bad pun) by the time I was a teen, but I was born just before 1980.

    I would definitely weed this in favor of something with more updated info in the chapter on meeting people and cheap dates and especially the chapter on sex. Sexually transmitted diseases are definitely something where current, factual information is necessary; HIV and AIDS may not be covered in this book. Plus there are so many more options for birth control nowadays. And while we can debate whether or not today’s teens are that much more sexually active than at any other period of time, it’s definitely true that today’s teens have easy access to a lot more information and misinformation on sex thanks to TV and the internet.

  7. I like the covor illustration, but, just by looking at it my thought was that the book was from the 60s. Surprised at the 1980 date.

  8. I worked at the library all through my undergrad years and then in library school, which I attended immediately after college. I did socialize quite a bit with the people I worked with, and my other friends would also come to see me at the library, but I never dated anyone I met at the library.

    I did, however, have a HUGE crush on my undergrad library director’s stepson, who worked in the library during the summer and was also in a band! Oh, the flirting I did while shifting periodicals and adding the spine labels to recataloged books with him…but sadly, it came to nothing. Hopefully Wendy did better!

  9. I don’t mind them meeting here, but for god’s sake don’t have sex in the library!

    Really, there is a time and a place for everything.

  10. I have been working in both public and academic libraries for 15 years. The only action I have ever received at a circ desk was working in the public library. You can only be hugged by so many pervy, homeless smelling, old men. Before I left, the count was 3 hugs and one flasher. That does not count the one I caught defecating in my potted plant.

    I give a lot of credit to public librarians. You are amazing, I don’t have it.

  11. There’s commenting and “commenting.” I often chat with patrons about things they check out, but only if they initiate the conversation. Commenting as in asking if it’s good or if they liked it isn’t the same as judging or condemning. If a patron feels self conscious about what they check out they aren’t usually commenting about it.
    I sometimes say “Oh, I’ve been wanting to read that let me know how you like it.” I don’t see a problem with that. We can go overboard on the sensitivity thing.

  12. I wonder if ANY dating books are even worth having. For teens or adults. I always find they never have a single lick of advice that pertains to me. I think we just need books on STDs and the like and books on how to love yourself and leave the dating crap alone.

    Funny thing is, I came close to submitting a dating book – for adults – yesterday. This one to be exact.…_How_to_Find_Your_Perfect_Mate

    But I just couldn’t decide if it qualified because oddly enough, our copy is the dating book that circulates the most.

  13. “Wendy met scores of new people.”

    I am fairly certain none of my students have every used score as a numerical term. In fact, I can hear some of them now: “Wait, she scored with new people? EW.”

  14. Dating @your library… ;->
    In my town, there is a surplus of single young men (many of them quite cute), coming to the public library to borrow free internet-time. Also, getting a smile from the youngish librarians is always a bonus for them. And so, I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked out since I started here two years ago.
    Unfortunally for them, I have already run off with the young, very cute science fiction nerd librarian….
    And yes, we are kissing semisecretly between the shelves while tidying and reshelving. He gets *so* embarassed if he thinks someone sees us.
    Anyways, what I ment to say was, love can be found in the most unlikely places – as long as you don’t go there just to find someone!
    My date-advice book would look something like this: Be yourself, be interesting and be interested. The end.

  15. I found panties on the floor at this academic library, so I’m assuming someone is meeting someone here.

  16. Two straws, one “malt” or whatever they called it at the “malt shop” – good grief, a whole store just for those? Anyway, about as relevant as bobbysoxers.

  17. I can top Anon’s story. I worked as a student aide library shelver when I was an undergrad. One morning my boss found a used condom.

  18. Jennidy–And what exactly is the problem with that? As moklspa pointed out, there are perfectly acceptable ways to do that, especially if it’s someone who’s at the library a lot. When I was younger, I was at the library several times a week, and I always talked to the librarians. They would frequently comment on the books I was checking out: “I loved this book,” “I’ve been meaning to read that, you’ll have to tell me how good it is,” “I thought you would want to read this one,” “You’ve read this before, haven’t you?” (I reread most books), things like that. There is nothing wrong with any of those.

    The only issue I could see with commenting on someone’s book selection would be something like, for instance, if a teen is checking out a book on sex, or someone has some sort of medical-related book (unless it’s a general health book or something…I got a comment when I checked out a family medical guide, but then, those are a couple thousand pages), because those are normally checked out for personal reasons and people may be self-conscious or private about that. Then again, if it’s someone you’ve talked to a lot and they’re checking out a book on cancer, asking would probably seem natural and I doubt it would be anything most people would be horribly offended by.

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