Libraries Change Lives

I am currently reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (which I am finding to be pedantic and annoying, but I like the audiobook narrator’s voice so I am going to stick with it for a bit longer), The Science of Yoga: the risks and the rewards by William J. Broad (which I am enjoying, but taking my time with), and…The Power of Habit: why we do what we do in life and business by Charles Duhigg. I am usually quite diplomatic when reading multiple books at once; I give them each their turn so as to not make the others feel bad. (Yeah, commit me…)

But The Power of Habit has successfully become my favorite child. I have turned my back on every other book piling up on my nightstand, passenger seat, desk, and coffee table…and I don’t even feel bad.

This book is so incredible that it is affecting my dear fiance. I interrupted him (while trying to read about the Navy Seals) approximately 6 times last night, in a span of only 30 minutes. I was gasping, reading passages aloud, and having full-blown conversations with a book. I have already used up half a pad of Post-It notes to mark interesting passages, and I’m only 150 pages in.

I will be posting a review once I have finished the book, but for now I want to share the 3rd coolest thing I learned while reading this book, which deals with libraries. Please forgive me, Mr. Duhigg, for any copyright law I break here.

So in the early 1970s a group of gay rights activists tried (unsuccessfully) to change people’s perceptions of homosexuals. At the time, homophobia was stronger than ever, the American Psychiatric Association defined homosexuality as a disease, and the Library of Congress cataloged books on homosexuality as “Abnormal Sexual Relations, Including Sexual Crimes”. “Then, in the early 1970’s, the American Library Association’s Task Force on Gay Liberation decided to focus on one modest goal: convincing the Library of Congress to reclassify books about the gay liberation movement…to another, less pejorative category.” So in 1972 the ALA and Gay Liberation Movement had a huge win when the LOC changed the classification to “Homosexuality, Lesbianism- Gay Liberation Movement, Homophile Movement.” The very next year, the American Psychiatric Association changed their “rewrote the definition of homosexuality so it was no longer a mental illness…”



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