The Library's Guide to Sexual and Reproductive Health Information

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

Surveying core sexual and reproductive health concepts, this straightforward and non-judgmental resource will support library workers in providing trustworthy guidance to patrons through fact-friendly reference and program services.

The need to find accurate information about sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, has never felt more urgent. At the same time, mis- and disinformation proliferates as never before. Libraries are uniquely positioned community organizations that can cut through the miasma and provide facts about sensitive health topics like contraception, fertility, pregnancy options, and sexually transmitted infections. Geared towards public libraries but applicable to other settings, this book from reference expert Alvarez

  • introduces the basic concept of sexual and reproductive health as a human right and the framework of reproductive justice, incorporating discussion of relevant legislation and historical concepts;
  • presents practical collection development and reference strategies, highlighting a wide variety of books, websites, databases, and other resources that provide evidence-based sexual and reproductive health information;
  • shares key facts and guidance on how to provide inclusive, non-judgmental services to all communities, including LGBTQIA+ and underrepresented populations;
  • ideas for addressing community health needs through educational programs, services, and collaborations with local health centers and organizations; and
  • includes suggestions for continued reading and education, with an appendix of recommended resources.


Part I: Foundation
Chapter 1: Introduction to Sexual and Reproductive Health Information
Chapter 2: Sexual and Reproductive Health Information as a Library Service
Chapter 3: Sexuality

Part II: Education
Chapter 4: Sexual Health
Chapter 5: Reproductive Health
Chapter 6: LGBTQIA+ Sexual and Reproductive Health Topics

Part III: Implementation
Chapter 7: Sexual and Reproductive Health at Your Library
Chapter 8: Moving Forward

Appendix A: Recommended Resources

Barbara A. Alvarez

Barbara A. Alvarez is an instructor in Library and Information Science. As a PhD student in Information Science, Barbara's research focus is information behavior and reproductive health information. Barbara has worked in libraries in Illinois and Wisconsin where she developed library-community collaborations. Barbara’s first book, Embedded Business Librarianship for the Public Librarian, was published by ALA Editions in 2016. She is a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker award recipient and a 2011 Spectrum Scholar.

"Over eight chapters, [Alvarez] describes how current events regarding conversion therapy, gender-affirming care, abortion, and LGBTQIA+ rights have increased the need for free access. Discussions incorporate definitions, library service tenets, and reasons for offering these materials. Chapters include sidebars, summaries, reflection questions, and endnotes, plus programming suggestions and recommended resources. Alvarez’s consideration of LGBTQIA+ needs in library settings is particularly valuable ... A helpful resource for library board members and LIS students needing basic information."
— Library Journal

"Alvarez, a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker award recipient, will continue to make waves with this timely volume. Serving as a resource guide sprinkled with applicable tips, her book does not shy away from diving into topics currently under fire in libraries. Librarians looking for a title that will challenge and expand their knowledge of sexual and reproductive health information should add The Library’s Guide to Sexual & Reproductive Health Information to their to-be-read list."
— College & Research Libraries

"At a time when the ability to access accurate, current information about sexual and reproductive health is increasingly difficult, libraries have become even more important as a trusted community resource. Alvarez, a doctoral candidate and library-school instructor, has created a guide to help public librarians provide this vital information in a way that is safe and comfortable for their patrons ... This is a very useful and abundant guide for public and consumer health librarians."
— Booklist