Cover Image: I Was a Stripper Librarian

I Was a Stripper Librarian

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Member Reviews

One thing that I really enjoyed about this book was that I think the author was very upfront about the fact that she came into stripping from quite a priveleged background, and that it gave her many advantages that other women did not have. She also acknowledges that whilst it was a choice for her, a lot of women are forced into it which is not ok.
Very insightful
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okay, to be very honest, as high as hopes I had for this one I DNFed it. I have never come across a book which talks about the lives of strippers in such an honest and open way, but though I'd like to know everything the author talks about in the book, I don't think I can read the book. It's very monotonous and full of unnecessary daily life details. However, I'll remember this book and maybe pick it up once again someday in the future if I feel intrigued but I'm not able to get into it after chapter five.
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This book was ok. I struggled too get into it. I wanted to read it but, in my opinion, it did not get going.

I would like to thank the author, publisher and NetGalley for giving me this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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The following review will be posted to the Little Literary Moments blog on October 10th. It will be available at the link provided on that day. (I also only added a rating based on the requirements of NetGalley. I do not usually rate memoirs.)

Title: I Was a Stripper Librarian

Author: Kristy Cooper

Rating: n/a (I don’t usually rate memoirs because it feels like I’m rating someone’s lived experience)

Favorite Quote: “It’s funny how shame works. I was never actually ashamed of stripping, but I was ashamed of how others might perceive me if they knew.” Cooper, Kristy. I Was a Stripper Librarian. Olivier, 2021.

Review: Thank you to the publisher, Olivier, and the NetGalley platform, for the free e-ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.

Even though I didn’t rate this book (rating memoirs just doesn’t sit right with me), I do have to say that I truly enjoyed this book. Cooper weaves a fascinating story of her time struggling through grad school and becoming a stripper with interesting insights. The narrative is also brimming with unexpected parallels - Cooper was a stripper and a fledgling librarian at a time of significant, destabilizing change in both professions, and her book does a great job showing her struggles with both. 

One potential criticism I have of this book is that it doesn’t offer much insight into the experiences of BIPOC strippers and trans or non-binary strippers, although Cooper does acknowledge that these experiences are different than her own. I did appreciate that acknowledgement.

I also would have liked to see more of an exploration of her decision not to branch out into different forms of sex work. She briefly mentions that as a regret, noting that her relationship with “The Architect” was her reason for not doing so, but (and perhaps this is me being too nosy), I wanted to know more about that regret. Was it the financial aspect that she regretted not participating in? Or the type of work itself? While much of this book is pretty well developed, creating a balance between her life as a student, her life as a stripper, and her life as a librarian, I thought this aspect of her experience would have been an interesting route to explore further.

This memoir was also incredibly relatable, even for someone like me who has never engaged in sex work. When Cooper was detailing her struggles with graduate work and a lack of fulfillment that came from that level of schooling, I 100% felt that. I also struggled in my graduate studies because I was really questioning whether I was where I wanted to be (and worried that I was doing a whole lot of work if it wasn’t going to culminate in a job that I wanted). I stuck with it, and though I often am stressed at work, I do believe I made the right choice, sticking with my chosen educational and professional path. But I definitely struggled and Cooper does an impeccable job capturing that feeling on the page. (Side note - I also did not attend my graduate school graduation, but unlike Cooper, my reason had less to do with that feeling of disillusionment and significantly more to do with the global pandemic.)

Finally, the ending was another aspect of the memoir that I really appreciated. Her focus turned more towards advocacy, both in regard to her own library workers advocacy, as well as advocacy groups that are looking to protect the rights of sex workers.

About that Quote: This quote was towards the beginning of Cooper’s memoir, and it really sets the tone for the rest of it. With regard to her stripping, there were two different perspectives that were sometimes at odds and sometimes in sync - her own feelings and how she perceived the feelings of people around her. She writes in great detail about strategically choosing her location, at first to minimize the risk of running into people from her school life. And then later, when she does end up getting clients from her university, and at least one from her specific school, her attitude has changed by that point, but there is still the remnants of nervousness and this emphasis on how those individuals will perceive her.

I Was a Stripper is out now! If you’ve read it, share your thoughts below!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a few copy of this book.

I was a little confused because it lists the book as fiction on the inside of the book, but is marketed as her memoir.

Kristy Cooper details her account of becoming a stripper while going through library school and subsequently searching for a job as a full time librarian. As a librarian, of course I was interested in what Kristy's experience was like. When I read that she had previously worked as a dominatrix though, I wasn't as shocked that she then tried out stripping. It was less of a mousy, quiet, shy and introverted librarian turning stripper and more of a somewhat introverted aspiring librarian who had already dabbled in the sex industry tried something new to pay off exorbitant student debt. Trust me, I know about that debt! I, myself, have some massive student loans that I will probably go to my grave with!

Much of the book was really Kristy recounting tales of her day-to-day happenings and stories about people she worked with. I can't say anything was too shocking.

If you are interested in a library career, she isn't lying towards the end of the book about the costs associated with the required degrees and lack of payoff in the end in terms of financial compensation. No one goes into librarianship to get rich. Not to mention the oversaturated job market. Also, she comments on how many libraries are getting rid of the full time jobs and making part time jobs, which in many cases is also true, and doesn't help matters.

The idea of someone working in the sex industry to pay of XYZ debt is nothing new. You just don't hear about a lot of librarians doing it or they aren't publicizing it.

I guess the most interesting parts about the strip clubs was learning how they charge dancers fees, how they have to pay the bouncer and house mom, and what various clubs in various states allow or don't allow.
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The title of the book intrigued me immensely and considering that I love libraries, I decided to read this book. The book presents a real life account of the author who chose to work as a stripper in order to pay back her student loans while working as a librarian at the same time. 

The experience teaches her a lot about herself and helps her to embrace her sexuality. I do not agree with the life choice that the author makes but I do appreciate the honesty with which she narrated her experience. 

I was impressed by the author's zeal and determination to understand about libraries, books and education which she eventually embraced as her career. 

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for granting me this arc! 

As soon as I seen this I knew it would be something I’d be interested in and it didn’t disappoint!

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it
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Kristy Cooper's account of her dual existence as a cardigan-clad librarian and strip-club dancer explodes common stereotypes about the kinds of women who serve in both jobs. While employed at a suburban library branch, Cooper also danced at local strip clubs. As she becomes more confident in both roles, the reader learns how little each of us knows about the person working beside us. Cooper's narrative is honest and unvarnished and compels the reader to follow her journey through to the end. This is a well-written tale of an industry that suffers from a dearth of positive stories.
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This book delivered exactly what I was looking for. I love the simple yet effective writing style of Kristy Cooper. The journey through the author's life in grad school, working as a librarian and stripper was truly unique. I learned a lot about life and day-to-day in both professions. I have been fascinated about stripping as a profession but never found any good media that walked me through the depths of it. I highly recommend this book to anyone in the same position.

Plus, I admire Kristy Cooper's activism to defend, preserve and grow free libraries in all communities.
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I was a Stripper Librarian is a fascinating book about the author's life as a stripper when she was a graduate student studying to become a librarian. I really admire how she did what she could so survive and pay her student loans and how she currently pushes back against bureaucrats under funding libraries and canceling important library services.

This book broke a lot of stereotypes, especially ones about how lucrative sex work is. With the rise of internet porn, strippers have to offer more sexual services for less money to stay competitive. Strippers are also seen as independent contractors at many strip clubs so this book highlighted how gig economy exploitation has been going well before Uber. Her honest accounts have changed my mind about the industry. I used to think it was harmless to be a stripper but it was clear that the author and the other strippers suffered sever mental health consequences from their time in the industry.

I really liked the autobiographical parts of the book because she tells her story very well. However, she also parrots internet discourse about how sex work should be decriminalized no matter what. She freely admits that she had multiple minor breakdowns and eventually quit stripping because of a huge mental health breakdown, yet she freely advocates for the industry running unchecked and unregulated. She just talks about theory in these sections without much evidence. If she really thinks decriminalization is the answer she should have proven it with statistics and real life examples, not just proselytizing. Her portrayal of her opinions as facts are why I feel like this book is only worth 2 stars even though I liked the rest of the book.
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Did not finish. Something about the writing style didn't do it for me. Maybe I could have continued, but there are so many other books to read.
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The title really intrigued me but I was unable to get into this book too. I don't know why but the reading just wasn't smooth for me, so I gave up.
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I really wanted to like this book, reallly i did.
Maybe it was me giving it high hopes, i dont know, but this book 
just fell really flat for me.
I thought even though it was a true story that it would have been a bit more comical 
and like double life living. unfortunately that wasn't really the case.
it was boring, and not really attention grabbing.
I felt it was more the author just expressing her constant fears about being a stripper while she attended college to be a librarian.
i felt that there was no real meat or substance to the book, just a lot of woe is me, i'm a poor college student who's also a stripper in dive joints.

This book had real promise based on the title alone, Just fell flat the whole book.
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This book tells the true story of a library student who lives a double life by working in the only job that has any chance to help her pay off her graduate school loans, stripping.  During the day she goes to classes and does group projects and in the evenings she drives to a nearby town to appear on stage and dance on stage.  The author makes clear that she was in no way, other than financially through the ruinous student loan system, coerced into doing this work and she reflects on how she feels about being a sex worker.

This might be interesting enough on it's own but the author is able to consider her own privledge in race, social class, and upbringing.  This insight is combined with an analytical but sensitive anthropologist's eye wherein she views those around her: other strippers, club patrons, library school students and professors, and her own family and potential dates in ways that explore their thoughts, motivations and opinions.  

Since graduating and later quitting stripping she has become what Mother Jones would describe as a "Hellraiser" working for social and economic justice issues in libraries and a mother of two.  

I would recommend this book for anyone who has experience in either the library or stripping professions and to those who are interested in taking a close look at how people different than themselves live and think.

I was provided an eArc of this book through NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.
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3.5 stars - this succeeded in being a somewhat entertaining memoir. One thing I have to give the author credit for was her willingness to tell the story. My issue with the book is that most of the stories were pretty mild and the book moved at a relatively slow pace, especially early on. Overall though, I prefer this over an exaggerated or sensationalized memoir that will attempt to trade lies for more buys and readers.

Another thing I’m grateful for is the author put any of my personal dreams of having a second career as a librarian to rest. It sounds nearly impossible to find meaningful, adequately paying work in the field. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this to read and review!
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The title felt a little bit like a click bait title but I was ready to get involved. I wasn’t expecting to learn so much. This is not a salacious click bait book, it’s interesting, clever and deeply personal. I would recommend a name change of the book but this is a must read.
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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

Kristy Cooper is leading a double life.  In this autobiography, Kristy relays her story about working her way through graduate school stripping. The pay was better than waitressing; however she is worried about anyone finding out due to the stigma that job brings.  She was careful to keep that life, and her librarian life (what she was studying for) completely separate.

The book highlights multiple issues in our culture in the States.  The stigma of stripping, the overpricing of education in our society, the lack of resources - or want to help - when it comes to the education system.  She also discusses student loan debt and the high cost of it and the crushing feeling of being under it.  The issues in the librarian system were very interesting to learn about.  I had no idea it was such an underserved, government entity but I should not be surprised.  In today's society, reading and education do not seem to the be in the forefront of life and libraries will suffer.
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While the title and blurb had me heavily intrigued, this book was unfortunately thin on actually compelling elements. One of the struggles with writing a memoir is finding a way to make normal life interesting - this book only succeeds at the act in fits and starts.
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An interesting premise, and very eye catching cover. But I found myself struggling to get through this book. I think the writing style was not quite right for my tastes. I felt like the book took too long to make the connections between Ms. Cooper's two careers. For the most part, it was really a memoir of her time as a stripper. That's fine, but it was not exactly what I was expecting. 

I appreciate the honesty and vulnerability that the author demonstrated by writing and publishing this story. That being said, there were a few parts I struggled with, thinking in terms of her being a mother, as am I. But, that is surely my own biases coming to surface, and it is good for me to continue to read things that challenge those. 

While this was not really what I expected, and unfortunately not a book that really grabbed me and drew me in, it is still an interesting idea and a good read for someone who wants to know more about stripping or sex work in general.
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3.5 ⭐️

I wasn’t particularly sure what to expect from this book but I was certainly more than a little intrigued by the title.

I considered that it would be filled with humorous stories and anecdotes from the author, based on her real life experiences, but it actually made for quite sad and stark reading.

It throws you into the deep end straight away without much introduction and the author states that stripping became “an itch I needed to scratch.”  I never really understood why that was the case other than she met a stripper and thought it seemed like a good way to make money to make dents in her quite substantial student debts.  This idea of it being an itch to scratch didn’t really make much sense to me since she clearly did have some issue with people finding out her secret identity and although she did not feel ashamed to get her goods out for money, she also did not appear to enjoy it either?  

Don’t get me wrong, I found this book to be an interesting read and it made sense of course that many strippers had not actually chosen this path because of drug addiction, social situation, background, because they had no other option or because they had been forced into it.  Many strippers are from privileged backgrounds and are there because they want to be and do not require “saving” as the author explains.  What was also interesting was the discussion about other forms of sex work and the current laws around this.  The author is not for decriminalising all sex work, and instead talks about things that could be put in place to make trafficking more difficult and making the industry a safer place.

The final part of the book I found to be at odds with the rest.  The author goes into a bit of a strange political rant about library activism.  Yes she’s also a librarian and I get that, but it was written in a different style to the rest of the book and it just felt weird and tacked on.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher Olivier for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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