I Was a Stripper Librarian
From Cardigans to G-strings
by Kristy Cooper
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 30 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 30 Sep 2021
No one at the library she worked at knew about Kristy Cooper's other job. On the surface, it seem that being a librarian and a stripper are polar opposite jobs, but in practice Kristy found that they were not nearly as different as most people would think. Strip club customers and library patrons both produce wild stories, and you have to be good at working with people in both professions (whether your clothes are off or not). In this first-hand account, Kristy describes her decision to get into stripping to make her student loan debt more manageable, overcome her introversion to learn how to hustle customers, learn about sex worker advocacy, and finally transition into full-time library work.
For years Kristy hid her stripping history to fit into the mold of a respectable librarian, but as time went on she realized this wasn't something she should feel ashamed about. Telling these kinds of stories helps destigmatize sex work, which makes it safer for current sex workers. Librarianship is changing, especially as the profession begins to evaluate itself through a greater anti-oppression lens. Librarians can learn a lot about class struggle and privacy advocacy from sex workers.
Print copies available for preorder soon!
Average rating from 78 members
First, I want to thank Kristy Cooper, Olivier, and NetGalley for providing me with this book so I may bring you this review. WOW!! Kristy Cooper, you knew I just had to read your book!! It is not everyday a librarian writes a book entitled I Was a Stripper Librarian From Cardigans to G-Strings! So, the shock value of the title and the awesome cover design I just had to know what the book was about. Plus, I am a huge fan of my local library and the librarians there. However, I can’t picture them stripping. This book is dedicated to all the sex workers who have come out before Kristy and have told their stories. And to all the sex workers who want to come out and tell their stories too. I commend Kristy for her bravery in sharing her extremely personal story with us. In this story she shares an in-depth view of the stripper world but oh so much more. You will meet all sorts of characters and learn their stories. This made for a very interesting eye opening read that is for sure! On the same front Kristy shares her journey she takes to become a librarian. I laughed at the point where she was more nervous going to a stripper interview than a job interview for a librarian job. Kristy does a fantastic job educating her readers on a boat load of topics related to sex workers and the meaning behind it. She also gives you terrific websites, book suggestions, and social media handles if you choose you want to learn more on the subject. You can tell this is a passionate subject for her and she wants to help others get help. Kristy definitely learned a lot about herself while on this journey.
I was so amazed with this book and I learned a lot. Surprisingly, Librarians and Sex Workers have a lot in common. 1. It's not like what you see on TV. Personally, my experience with strippers is limited to television. When I think of strippers, I think of women dancing on poles while men throw singles on the stage. The strip club scene Cooper describes, wasn't like that. Turns out, that was more back in the 80s and things have died down since then. With the rise of internet porn and sites like OnlyFans, people don't see a need to go out to strip clubs when they can just stay home. For librarians, they don't go around telling people to be quiet all day. Cooper even talks about a time when a library patron shushed her and another librarian. Librarians are all about helping you get the information you need. It's not just about books, but making all information accessible to everyone. 2. You need a license. Early on in the book, Cooper gets a job as a library aide at the Suburban Public Library in Michigan. However, before she could start, Cooper had to get her driver's license changed. She needed to be a Michigan resident in order to work for the public library. Strippers need a license too, of sorts. There is something called a dancer-card where you have to register with the city and have your information in a database. Cooper describes it as a "creepy database" and I have to agree with her. 3. Sex is everywhere. Nudity at a strip club isn't a surprise, but apparently its more common at libraries than you would expect. A lot of libraries have porn policies, which makes sense because kids are around and not all the computers are set up in a private area. However, policies and public computers don't stop people from trying. Cooper has an interesting story about her first porn patron encounter in her book that I thoroughly enjoyed. 4. Privacy is important. Why not just block the porn sites? Cooper discussed this as well: "There [are] libraries that philosophically wouldn't block or stop patrons from looking at anything because they considered that a form of censorship." Libraries and librarians do their best to ensure YOUR privacy rights are being upheld. Amazing right? That wasn't something I knew! This is where sex workers and librarians really connect. Sex workers and librarians are advocating for our privacy in a growing data driven world. If you want to learn more about librarians and privacy, check out the Library Freedom Institute's website. At the end of the day, I Was a Stripper Librarian blew my mind. I learned so much about two worlds that I considered polar opposites. Cooper was so open and honest about her experiences, prejudices, and privilege. I don't believe that anyone else could connect these two worlds better than she did. This is going on the list of books I recommend to others and it will one day be a part of my personal home library.
This is a very honest book, introducing many of us to the world of strip clubs and sex workers. It is an autobiographical work and it thoroughly covers the topic. The very last chapter of the book is very wonkish and tells about her life as a political/activist librarian and is very interesting. There is also a very complete bibliography with recommended reading. I am not sure this book has changed my view of sex workers and strip clubs, but it certainly made me think. This book is not salacious. It is very honest and very clear and very serious. Well worth reading. And, before I read the book, I knew nothing about this topic. I have never been to a strip club. But I do spend a lot of time at the library!
I Was a Stripper Librarian is an interesting autobiography about Kristy Cooper. Sex work, including strippers, is still a very taboo subject. With Kristy's background and education, I found her reasoning and thought process to be incredibly interesting. I would have liked to read more about the transition from stripper to librarian, and I would have liked more details in her library defense days. The book focused more on the stripping rather than the librarian, and I would have enjoyed it a bit more to read more about the librarian work as well. As I followed her work with the Westland Library (and helped share the articles and news she put out), I would have enjoyed reading more about the issues she brought up, as they are deeper than what she wrote here. All together, I highly recommend reading it.
What an interesting read. There really is no need to write a short synopsis as the title explains the premise. And who could resist such a shocking title as I Was a Stripper Librarian? Not me. I went into this book thinking it would be similar to Belle de Jour's Call Girl diaries, but Cooper is a lot more matter-of-fact. The one aspect that stuck out for me the most was the strippers and librarians actually had much more in common than I previously thought. Although seemingly polar opposites, the rights of strippers and librarians are heavily interlaced through privacy rights being the main point Cooper brings up. I found it interesting how nobody seemed to recognise Cooper from the strip club when she was a librarian, or vice versa, she really was leading a double life. I wish that she had provided more detail on when she worked as a dominatrix before venturing into stripping. I liked how Cooper admits to preconceived notions in her early stripper career which change with emotional maturity and humility as her life progresses. Sex work is such a taboo still, even with websites such as OnlyFans being exceedingly popular. One hypocrisy that infuriates me about sex work is the misogyny, how a man can look down on a female for her life choices, yet it's usually the males paying sex workers to enable the profession in the first place. However, it's not just males that patronise the sex working professions. At one point in the book, a woman asks Cooper if she feels guilty about the wives whose husbands are receiving a lap dance from her, and Cooper emphasises the point that their monogamy was not her responsibility, nor does she actively seek married men. "Did everyone have to be polarised into the victim-predatory binary, or could there be a more nuanced explanation for the diverse patterns of human behaviour?" Overall, Cooper is extremely clever and insightful. A much needed activist for the rights of sex workers and librarians. And has lead an uncommon life worthy of the memoir written.
Fun and interesting book. Well worth the time to read. Thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. The title and cover of this book is definitely an attention grabber. As an employee of a public library, the librarian aspect was definitely relatable. Most of my coworkers who seek full time employment had to start as part time, low waged employees so that must be pretty typical. The stripper aspect of this book is fascinating. I've read a lot about sex trafficking but this book shows that not all sex workers are forced into the sex trade due to pimping and drug addiction. Kristy Cooper shows the side of sex work and stripping that is a personal choice. She does a good job of reducing the stigma of sex workers.
This book is a very brave and honest account of the author’s pursuit of an education and a job as a librarian. She wants to pursue this without accruing a ton of debt, and decides to become a stripper to help finance her education. The reader is provided a close up look into the world of stripping…both the pros and cons. I really was fascinated with the insight into this world, and did not realize how much a stripper job would mentally take out of the workers.
This was a fun book to read. Read this one and you will never think of strippers or librarians the same way again.
Yes, I requested the ARC for "I Was a Stripper Librarian" because the title was too catchy to pass up on. This book lives up to the title and successfully highlights the pros and cons of both lines of work. I am only familiar with the library half of the book, and I really appreciate how she went into detail about the librarian career path. I was fortunate enough to go to a state school in another part of the country altogether, but a lot of what was in the book really resonated. Love of books or dreams of being locked in a library overnight as a child are great, but that's not always enough to sustain your career or pay your student loans. Cooper did very well in describing how she played up to her strengths and made strategic decisions to advance her careers. Maybe I was reading it too fast and don't remember if she mentioned that the loans all got paid off, but the last few chapters were very satisfying. I'd recommend this book to anyone dealing with student loans, people who want to know more about taking a more analytical view of sex work, and anyone who thinks it would be nice to become a librarian. (I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.)
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you to NetGalley and Olivier Publishing for providing me with a copy. I was immediately drawn to this title. Not only does it provide a look into perhaps some of the more ridiculous requirements in the field of librarianship, but also an inside look into the world of sex work and how it can be both liberating and explotive. This book was both engaging and informative both from the perspective as a librarian but also as someone who has very little knowledge of stripping and sex work in general. Oftentimes I felt uncomfortable while reading the author's account, but I realized that was the point. The truth seldom is about making people comfortable. This was a fun read that provides a glimpse into two completely different worlds, but are closer than one might think.
I truly enjoyed reading this book, what a life she had. I found the title to be funny since I am a librarian and work in a bar on the weekends. And yes the money is better in the bar. I loved her honesty and stories, especially how it all came to be. I think we all could learn some life lessons after reading this book!!
If you've read Diary of an Angry Stripper, you're familiar with how student debt can drive someone into stripping. She went to an out-of-state university to get her master's degree. She seems to not value having a master's degree all that highly. She discusses issues which face both strippers and librarians. She gets involved in librarian activism that shows up at the end of the book. It's a riveting tale that is worth a look.
Thank you to NetGalley and Oliver Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. <i>I Was a Stripper Librarian</i> is scheduled for release on July 30th, 2021. I Was a Stripper Librarian by Kristy Cooper is a woman’s memoir about her journey to pursue her masters in library sciences and how that introduced her to the world of sex work and how that in turn influenced the rest of her life and her career as a librarian. I love that this book reads like a novel but I still felt like I was learning about a whole new world (even if I’ve already forgotten most if not all of it by the time I sat down to write this review). Kristy’s writing is concise and funny and it really makes you feel like you’re there with her in the club or at the library reference desk. While this was a fun and entertaining read, it also opened my eyes to the fact that there are a lot of issues in the library community. For one, Kristy’s particular grad program was absolute bullshit and needs to be stopped. Another thing is that apparently local politicians actively want to get rid of libraries. I already know how important libraries are and that they need to be protected at all costs from the demon spawns spelled “über-wealthy” and the capitalist hellscape that we are currently living in (sorry, that just got away from me for a second), but I didn’t know how difficult that would prove to be. I Was a Stripper Librarian is a great book that is at the crossroads of sex work, activism, and life after college. Obviously it has mature themes a day yes, the author does use curse words. I really enjoyed this book end I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about life as a sex worker or recent dramatic library history or anyone looking for a good memoir.
I found I Was a Stripper Librarian by Kristy Cooper to be a very honest and interesting read, giving us a real introduction and glimpse of her life as a sex worker and a librarian. Honestly, prior to reading this book, I knew nothing about either topic. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about her life as a political activist and how she strived to improve the overall perception, worker's rights, and value of librarians in the world today.
I was a stripper Librarian was an interesting read , and the two careers whilst very different from each other obviously suited Kirsty Cooper very well. I liked the way she described her work in a very matter of fact way , and it never came across as seedy .
You’ve binged on P-Valley and Beyond the Pole but now you want to hear about the real life of a stripper? I was a Stripper Librarian is the perfect book for you. The author goes beyond the scenes and introduces us to many of her stripper friends. While some focus on the usual stripper tales of lazy pimp boyfriends and drug abuse, most are more complex than that. It also is a cautionary tale about deciding on a college school and major. The author states she got into stripping to pay her expenses during the second year of her master’s program in Information (the new name for Library Science). Her student loans after graduation are $80,000. Her annual salary perhaps a third of that. As someone with over $120,000 in loans, I can relate. This topic has also been discussed in major magazines recently making this truly relevant right now. Again, if you want to learn more about stripping or being a librarian, I was a Stripper Librarian is the perfect book for you. Note this is not a salacious tell-all. Still, it’s an entertaining read. 4 stars! Thanks to author and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
This was an interesting read. The title obviously had me drawn in right away but the honesty and interesting information is what kept me reading.
Summary: Kristy reflects on her time as a graduate student and pending librarian. While in school and in an attempt to curb her student debt Kristy takes up stripping and in a surprising twist learns to challenge social taboos and stereotypes. Thoughts: I want to be a stripper! I only picked this book because of the title and the cover but I completely loved it. I learned a lot about stripping and the life of strippers. I always thought that strippers would be bonded through their creepy customers but it seems like stripping is pretty cut throat and I would fail miserably at it but I liked seeing the stripping world it and how it really works. It’s crazy to me that strippers have to pay to strip but I guess being an independent contracted does give them more freedoms. The majority of the book is about her experience as a stripper rather than the studying, her internship at the library, and her attempts to find a librarian job. I can totally see why, most of the excitement happens at the club. I have to say I was surprised that strippers have such a loyal fanbase I never realized that strippers like bartenders, have regulars but I have to say I’m not mad at them for living for the hustle. While I wish they had healthier romantic partners, that is my only objection to the strippers mentioned. Also it was interesting to see how the stripping turned into more intimate interactions for some and the stigma around it even in the stripping world but I have to say it makes sense. The only thing that gives me pause is actually dating the guys that come in, I know a lot of the girls did but it still seems weird and unsafe so I’m with Kristy. It’s crazy how much more liberal a stripper she becomes but again it makes sense that as she’s gets more comfortable she gets more adventurous and if I were in her shoes I’d be annoyed about the escort opportunity too. Overall this is an extremely interesting read and now I need to go find a new book to learn more about my future stripping career.
Kristy Cooper gives a great bird's eye view of what it's like to be a stripper, especially if you come from an academic, privileged, or "vanilla" background. We make many assumptions and place people into stereotypes based on narratives we've learned in our upbringing, environments, and the media; this concept is blown out of the water in this memoir! Not all women strip to please abusing boyfriends or pimps, and sex work IS REAL WORK, and one that should be made safer for those choose it. Cooper made valid points when speaking about the library industry-it's a profession that costs a lot of money to go to school for, yet is not high paid and extremely hard to attain a fulltime position that pays enough. This speaks volumes about the costs of our educational system and how we continue to encourage youngsters to go to college despite knowing that it will do nothing but cripple them financially with no guarantee of a steady job upon graduation. People want to look down upon those who strip, yet why is it those that strip can earn a higher wage than those working in these so-called "noble fields" like librarianship? It's high time people realize that there is NO shame in wanting to earn more money, and when you get down to the bare bones, money is money, no matter how it's made! Public librarians and strippers do share a common denominator, believe it or not, they engage with customers and participate in exchange of information, and often times, both sets of regular patrons are very lonely. As a former burlesque performer and professional librarian, I really enjoyed reading this biography and can't wait to recommend to every librarian and/or dancer I know! Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for sending this ARC!
To be honest, I'm not sure that the title and cover of this book do it justice. While, they are certainly attention-grabbing, I fear that many will write this book off as being a joke and not take it seriously. Don't get me wrong, the title made me laugh, but I just hope potential readers take the time to read the description to actually get a sense of what Kristy Cooper is actually writing about and what she hopes to accomplish by sharing her story. Cooper writes intelligently and honestly about her experiences as a stripper, as well as in the library field, and it is fascinating to read about the similarities between the two. I would have liked to read more about her library advocacy days, but overall it was an eye-opening read.
I will skip the synopsis because the title pretty much tells it all. This book was fun, but also important. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work at a strip club, here’s your chance. As a former club worker, her stories really brought memories back for me. Kristy really showed the balance between real life and a club persona. I also loved how this helped to show most dancers are working out of personal choice, and it can be very empowering. I wasn’t as into the librarian aspect of the memoir, but I know for many, that will be even more interesting! There’s a balance to the story, just like the author’s experiences. “That was when I was in the strangest, most anxious state of mind - sitting somewhere in public, trying to mentally transition from acting serious and responsible to being sexy and fun.” I Was A Stripper Librarian comes out 7/30.
This book tells the story of the author's experiences working as a stripper, and then as a librarian, and later her efforts as an activist and advocate for sex workers. The first few chapters describe how Cooper came to the decision to become a stripper, primarily to pay off her student loans. Her candid account of her experience is surprising, and it helps to remove old stereotypes about sex workers. She explains battling with her nerves and trying to build up the courage to go onstage, and later pushing through her introverted personality to offer dances to customers. Later chapters deal more with working as a librarian; and here too, certain stereotypes are dashed as she explains what her life was like. It was interesting to hear about the types of tasks that made up her day as a librarian; and entertaining to hear about how she was able to juggle the “double life” of working both jobs. Overall, I actually learned quite a bit about both professions, and Cooper's storytelling ability made it an easy and fun read. I found her story inspiring, and was impressed with her desire to make the world a safer place for other less fortunate people that are forced into the sex worker life.
I Was a Stripper Librarian by Kristy Cooper is an in-depth look at the struggles of librarianship and affording the growing cost of higher education. I am a librarian, so this book gave me a lot of feels. All the parts about librarianship, paying for school, and earning a degree marketed as necessary and then not being able to find a job, hit me right in the gut. I found the stripping parts interesting, but surprisingly I was hoping for more on Cooper’s library career. The content of the book was super interesting, however I think this book could have been helped with some more editing. The organization of the stories was a little off and all over the place, and the writing could have been stronger. But Cooper’s story is strong enough to carry the book despite these flaws. A solid read that all librarians and library professionals will appreciate. I definitely recommend! 3.75 stars. I received a free digital ARC from NetGalley and Victory Editing NetGalley Co-op in exchange for an honest review.
I found this book to be very eye opening. I had no idea about the struggle behind sex work. After reading this book, I have more knowledge about the topic and respect for the people within this type of work. The title alone caught my eye and I am glad that I was given the opportunity to read this one. To Kristy- I am sorry that you were afraid to give this book to publishers originally with your real name on it. This is not something that should be hidden or embarrassed about. Penelope, I think you are brave and courageous. I applaud you for putting your voice out here and telling your readers the truth. This is a book that everyone needs to read.
I was a stripper librarian was such a great read :) I learnt so much about what it takes to be a librarian and the raw inside view of the stripper world :) this had me wanting to keep turning the pages and find out how and where she ended up :) loved it and I’m excited to check out her other books :)
I was really skeptical about this book when I first saw it, but was intrigued enough to request the title and begin reading. I'm still not completely sure how I feel about it, but as far as memoirs from non-celebreties go...I am enjoying it. Cooper's writing is well done (before she got her MLIS and before she became a stripper she was an english major) and her voice is entertaining. From the first couple pages she captures you. She talks about her time as a struggling grad student which, recently a grad student myself, was all too relatable. She writes in a way that makes you feel that she is just like you. She has the same struggles, same bills to pay, same worries at night, and through this voice and writing you understand why she made the choice to become a stripper. Cooper's story is fun as well as eye opening. She isn't the first or only woman to go into stripping to make ends meet and along the way you are introduced to an interesting group of people just trying to make their way in the world.
How crippling education fees led to a part time job as a stripper. Not a forced or coerced decision but a rational one. How trying to find a full-time job in the professional environment of public libraries was difficult. A very honest and revealing book. Not a seedy or graphic but real.
I enjoyed reading this book and considering the similarities and differences between a stripper and librarian! The author gives plenty of detail and is open about her views and choices she has made. I struggled with the writing style at times, it took me a while to get into the story. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.