This library has a directory for topics people might be embarrassed to ask for.

This library has a directory for topics people might be embarrassed to ask for.

Like any good incognito session, they should throw in some benign topics.

"I went to the suicide section, but there weren't any books there."

"Yeah, people don't usually bring them back."


Librarian here: we really, really don't judge you for what you read. Please don't be afraid to ask. This is a great sign though, either way.

Edit: Sorry, I can’t reply to everyone. My apologies to anyone who has felt judged by a Librarian. A big part of my schooling (and my personal philosophy) includes NOT judging people. I have no idea why people are looking for information on a particular topic and it’s none of my business. The profession has something called the Code of Ethics which we are all supposed to follow. Part of those ethics are: I. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources. II. We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted. III. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.

The majority of Librarians are wonderful, helpful, nonjudgmental people. If you encounter a Librarian who is not these things, please don’t think we are all like this. I have worked in academic and public and special collections Libraries in both the north and the south for over a decade and have never worked with any Librarian who was judging someone (out loud at least). Please continue to use and support your local Library – with the way things are going the Library might be the last place where money doesn’t affect one’s ability to access information. Looking at you FCC!

Getting away with murder......................187



Edit: added links

My friends and I occasionally get bored and play The Library Game. We each have 5 minutes to think of a question, then we trade questions and have an hour in the library to answer them with no use of technology whatsoever. The questions get really complex (like last time mine was “you’re shipwrecked in the South Pacific in the 18th century and you lost all your money in the wreck, you need to be back in Spain in a month. What do you do?”) and the person with the most complete answer wins.

I’ve learned by now that librarians tend to react to “Hey, I have a weird question and also you can’t use your computer for it....” with a lot more enthusiasm and a lot less scorn than I’d expect. Especially if it’s a slow day and you can tell they were bored too.

As someone who has worked in a library, usually the family does bring them back.

Well, that stopped my guilty chuckle real quick.

binary code..................0101


What do you mean? Suicide is right there.

That actually sounds really fun & now I wish I had friends that liked going to the library.

God I love libraries.


What a great idea.

Freeways on Fire........................405

TIL Physical books are returned digitally.



Don’t let it. As someone who worked at a library, 95% of books are returned in a Dropbox.



I played Wikipedia golf with my classmates growing up. There were two version.

Hit random and see how long it takes you to get to Jesus Christ. I think par is about 5 clicks.

One person picks two pages, either at random or deliberate, and the other person tries to get from one to the other by only clicking on links within the page. Then switch places. Whoever gets there in fewer clicks or in less time (you choose) wins.

I will be your library friend. This sounds super fun.

Looks like a nsfw search history

gotta look good for mommy




They never disappoint me.

I still feel guilty about never paying the late fee for some books back when I was broke in a shitty town I used to live in. =\ The library was the only well run institution there.

But think about the people looking for skincare tips who look like they're perusing the abuse/incest aisle

Don't worry, the suicide rate for books aren't very high.

A man goes into a library and asks "Excuse me, is The Big Book of Turtles in?"

"Hard back?"

"Yeah, with little heads"

Where’s the one for people coping with a micro penis?

It is. They should stick some helplines on there too.

2017 is weird.

Don’t feel too guilty. I work as a librarian and my library just joined the trend of going fine-free. Late fees make up a VERY small amount of “revenue.” It’s really just to incentivize the borrower to bring items back without punishing them too much.

If you still feel guilty though, you should make a small donation to your local Friends of the Library organization or donate some used books :)

I'm sending this link to my mother, she's a librarian in a poverty-stricken-but-religious area. People there would be embarrassed to ask about these things, maybe more so than other places. Small town where everyone knows everyone type of deal.

This is a brilliant idea, should absolutely be standard in libraries across the nation.


When I worked at a movie store when I was in college I erased a woman's late fees for that reason.

She came in to pay, like, $160 in late fees and mentioned as she was paying that she hadn't had time to drop them off on the way to the airport. I asked where she went, assuming it was holidays, and she said it was her son's funeral because he'd died by suicide.

I wasn't gonna take her money after that. We were allowed to erased invalid fees and so I just scrapped hers. My manager was a bit of a dick about erasing such a huge fee but I was only there as summer fill-in before going back to college so I didn't care that much.

We used to do a version of number 1 but with Adolph Hitler.

Topic -> person -> nationality -> WWII -> Adolf Hitler

Opening an incognito tab IRL

Great idea!

I'm almost tempted to propose something like this as an introductory course on library research for first semesters.

"Why Six Hates Seven".................789

That's a really sad thought :( hopefully it didn't happen too often?

Think: teenager. Everything is embarrassing to a teenager. Teenagers are interested in many of these Life topics, but embarrassed to ask.

Especially mine! "Hey, that dumb game I invented is now being TAUGHT in a COLLEGE. Who's a nerd NOW? Oh, still me? Okay."

The 362 section is taking a pounding. Abuse, Incest, Abusive Relationships, Alcohol, Drugs, Rape and Suicide. Jesus.

Actually it's under 531.8008

As a former librarian, I wish I got questions like those. Instead, I get "Can you help me find this book I read 8 years ago? It's blue and I think it had a cloud on the cover" and "Can you proofread this sexually explicit poem I wrote about librarians and make sure the commas are placed correctly?" And my personal favorite, "Could you please turn the clocks to face the wall so the CIA can't watch what books I'm looking at?"

Books not found............404



"Summoning Demonic Entities For Dummies"......................666

"Friends"........ 0.0

Had to look up what kind of books are classified under the incest number. It's about child abuse, not Southern romances. Just FYI.

why not look at both

Huh most of these would be considered "conventional genres" on /sub/anime

but why

I can’t believe you’re done this to me


The reminds me of a true story from my life. Last year a plumber was at my house and asked what lives in the cage in my living room. I told him it was a rabbit and he goes, "A rabbit? You mean one of those little furry animals with the long ears?"

I was like, "Um... Yes. One of those."

It was weird.


She should also add atheism, philosophy, and a few other topics as well.

Well items like "acne/skincare" and "health/hygiene" aren't too awkward (especially if they look decently well-kept), and while "death" might invite unwanted pity it's not embarrassing. Maybe you wouldn't want to accidentally out yourself by someone seeing you look up "LGBTQ," but it's also not the shameful topic it would have been several decades ago.

And I mean, this got posted on /sub/mildlyinteresting. I bet plenty of people stop to look at the sign all the time, just out of plain curiosity.

EDIT: Let me try to clarify some more. The sign is an excellent idea. I would absolutely use it myself. But I don't think they really need to add any "benign topics." I'm trying to say that being embarrassed by these things isn't always rational, that people SHOULDN'T feel ashamed for needing to look these things up. For someone with massive anxiety problems like me it's easy to expect the worst scenario, and to believe that people will judge me when in reality they probably don't even think about me for a second longer than they have to. While it's natural to have an emotional response, I'm trying to demonstrate how those feelings might not be founded in logic.

When I go to the store to buy tampons, I really prefer to use a self-checkout lane. Why should I feel that way? I'm a girl. I get my period and bleed out of my uterus. That's a basic, inevitable problem I can't blame myself for. I need something to stop the blood from leaking everywhere. My embarrassment is mostly illogical, and I try to remember that. It doesn't mean I'll stop using the self-checkout lane if it's there, but if I have to go up to a cashier, I can at least find some solace in the logic of the situation.

I'M NOT TRYING TO DECIDE WHO GETS TO BE EMBARRASSED AND WHO DOESN'T. I'm trying to show people how this sign doesn't have to be that embarrassing to use. Yes, it's easier than asking someone directly, and I would LOVE having that option. But there's not much more we can do besides that to make it easier on someone. You can make a sign that lists everything in the entire goddamn library, but if you have the kind of mindset where you can always find something to be ashamed or self-conscious about, it won't make anything easier.


I hate people sometimes


Can confirm. Wish I couldn't. Fuck heroin. Didn't think I'd ever get out towards the end. Over 4 years now though, thanks to some amazing people.

This is really, really cool. Librarians are the best.

The Crusades and the Inquisition

why is religion in the same section as drugs, rape, and suicide? smh. /s

You da real MVP

Even better.

Holy crap that's way more effective than I expected. Even starting with a random article about a song -> by a singer -> from Sweden ->

"As in the first world war, Sweden remained officially neutral during World War II"

Obviously its not always going to be the most direct route, but it should be repeatable from just about anywhere.

I definitely appreciate that, but I'm sure that there are plenty of librarians out there that aren't as non-judgmental and open-minded as you and your colleagues.

A public library near me in upstate NY posted this and it got on the local news because some "concerned parents" were trying to get them to take it down.



Ah, the ol' reddit switcharoo!

It should work in any library, thanks Dewey Decimal System!


You'll make a bunch of peoples days for sure.

My library has addiction helpline posters in the bathroom (where people would be most likely to shoot up).

Ex librarian here. This shows the Dewey decimal number location so you could use this in any library.

Sex.................................613.907 Coconuts.......................613.909


The 646 is for sewing, clothing and personal living. 646.7 is split between personal and family living and grooming. That is why they are together. The extra numbers will be getting down to the more specifics.

nobody ever does

Unfortunately, I can't totally disagree with you. But, I truly believe those people are the exception to the rule and, hopefully, are retiring out of the profession. Librarians, in general, are all pretty liberal and don't believe in censorship in any form. I certainly don't care what you read. Maybe you are doing a research paper, for all I know!? I just want you to use the library!


CSB time: When my wife was looking at grad schools for family therapy, she looked at one school in Indiana. They said the primary issue families came in for was incest. So, it's fairly prevalent.

It is, but there is a downside: now other people are more likely to know that you're over there in the incest aisle. But on the whole I think it's a good move.

Oh yeah there were some fun ones. I had a guy call in for me specifically multiple times over the course of a year and a half for help with his treasure maps. He was convinced he was gonna find gold, and he always made me swear to keep it on the down low.

Really sad that it's happened often enough that you can use the term "usually"

"Secret societies"..................777

Hold my book, I'm going in!

We are...........138.

It is fun! Especially on rainy days with nothing else to do. I’m sure you could find some friend to play with you, especially if you raise the stakes by saying winner gets $10 or something

This is a great idea, but knowing libraries all those books were published in the 60's.

You don’t know libraries then, lol. If a book isn’t checked out in a calendar year they will likely withdraw it from the collection and sell it to raise money for the library. Library acquisitions departments are super cool and always looking for the latest books. There are literally librarians who’s whole job is acquiring new stuff for the library. They don’t even shush people.

My libraries must just suck

You're right, places with money do generally have money.