The library can be sexy too, say naked students

Photo: Miroslav Pospíšil

The concept of the library needs some spicing up, it seems. Too drab, too grey, too asexual, say student bookworms at Brno’s Masaryk University. So how to improve the situation? How about taking off the librarian’s clothes? Guerrilla Readers, an association whose primary aim is to promote reading, has printed a calendar to give some sex appeal to libraries in 2010.

You would have a hard time concentrating in the kind of library shown on Guerrilla Readers’ 2010 calendar, what with the bunch of naked people filing books, sorting card catalogues and even hiding in the bookshelves. But it’s all in the name of changing the image of the 21st century library, as Marek Vetchý of the association of book lovers, librarians and information technology students told me.

“We just want to show that the library is not a boring place, because many people think it is, and that librarians are boring people. And with this calendar we want to show that it’s not true, that the library is a place where you can have a lot of fun and that it’s a sexy place.”

A calendar called “Librarians 2010” would probably have a small niche market indeed. “The Library is Sexy” though, hopes to find a broader audience, consisting of black-and-white photographs of rather – well – sexy un-bookish types with body-painted bibliographical information, ISBN codes and the like, leaving little to the imagination. All taken in the Moravian Library in Brno and using real library workers as models, “The Library is Sexy” aims to be a kind of Pirelli calendar of librarians. They are only doing the project once: if you want to see the secret charms of Czech libraries in calendar form, you’ll have to do it in 2010.

“We don’t want to repeat this idea, because I think it won’t work again.”

It’s a new limelight for Czech librarians to be sure; still, young Czechs going buff for a good cause is not unusual. 15 girls from the town of Vyžlovka made a nude calendar last year to save their local swimming pool, and the screenwriting department of the FAMU film academy did a similar project a few years back (though more for sheer fun than promotion).