In 2007, TCU systems librarian Walter Betts will be known by a different name: Mr. July.Betts, who joined the Mary Couts Burnett Library staff in August, is among 18 Texas librarians and library supporters featured in the 2007 Men of Texas Libraries calendar, a fund-raiser put together by the Texas Library Association.
Proceeds from the calendar will benefit the TLA disaster relief fund, a fund established to help libraries affected by natural disasters. The fund has been in need of extra resources in recent years, due to the hurricanes that hit the Texas Gulf Coast.
Betts said after a disaster, such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it can often take a while for libraries to get back on their feet. He said the fund exists to provide libraries in need with a financial and morale boost.
Betts said he has never considered himself to be the typical pin-up model and the calendar was done in fun. He said he has suffered no more than a little good-natured teasing from co-workers.
Each month, in the 18-month calendar, features a photo along with an information box containing quick facts about the man-of-the-month.
For the photo shoot, Betts was told to wear what he felt comfortable in, which, for him, was a Hawaiian shirt.
Betts posed with his saxophone, since he has a degree in saxophone performance.
Steve Brown, president-elect of the Texas Library Association, said the idea for the calendar came almost a year before production began.
“The library community is probably 80 to 85 percent women,” Brown said. “If you’re going to make a calendar to sell to the library community, it needs to have pictures of guys.”
Gretchen Hoffmann, a former president of TLA, said the calendar breaks away from traditional views of librarians.
“Having male models was a great way to poke fun at stereotypes of librarians, Hoffmann said.
Betts said the calendar has been a success so far.
“They sold out the first printing, and they are doing well with the second,” Betts said.
TLA Texas Men of Libraries calendars sell for $20 each. Betts said that because most of the work was done in-house, the cost of producing the calendar was low, giving it a strong profit potential.