I’m lucky enough to have a local “Friends of the Library” organization that holds monthly book sales for super cheap. I’m talking regular prices of fifty cents to one dollar on the books I buy. Not counting the — regularly occurring — five-for-a-dollar young adult fiction sales, ten-for-a-dollar youth paperback sales (including upper elementary, middle grades, and young adult books), and five dollar bag days. I use these sales not only to replenish my own reading stores — which, truth be told, includes a lot of fiction marketed to young adults — but also to stock up my FREE BOOKS shelf at school.
(Seriously, people. Free books. No check out. If you want it, take it. I will never hunt you down for late fees or returns.)
I’m also lucky enough to teach at a school where my students have access to a mobile family planning health clinic. That’s right — Once a week, a big ol’ condom-distributing, BC-pill-prescribing RV comes to campus and parks by the basketball courts. They have fliers in the nurse’s office. Each year, I take a ginormous handful, on account of some of my students will become sexually active whether they know about safer sex practices or not. So they might as well know.
I store my family planning clinic pamphlets on the same shelves with my free books. This way, I can tell my students —
“If you’re embarrassed to be taking a health clinic pamphlet, you can just tell people you were taking a book.”
“If you’re embarrassed to be taking a book, you can just tell people you were taking a birth control pamphlet.”
I mean, I don’t consider either pleasure reading or wanting to be educated about safer sex practices to be socially awkward pastimes. But I have always been a nerd, and at this point in my life, I do not have (basically, really, I don’t think) the same priorities as the average fourteen-year-old.