Look It Up

August 16th, 2012

I attended two library conferences this summer, ALA and SLA. (If you don’t know what those are, you will need to look it up.) I know what you’re thinking: Shhhhh. Since earning my degree in Library Science (paper will officially be in hand by December), I am surrounded by thousands of librarians. So I have become more familiar with the librarian stereotypes out there and librarian culture as well. We’re a smart bunch, but a bit insecure. Throughout my program, I have been trying to figure what “type” of librarian I will be (in addition to what type of library I would like to work in).

Do I let my hair go grey, get some reading glasses affixed to a chain, buy loads of cardigans, and become an Old Maid Librarian? I do already have two cats.

I could also get a mini skirt, high heels, and a too-tight blouse, and spend my afternoons crossing and uncrossing my legs like The Sexy Librarian.

Or, I could get a few book-related tattoos, ironic cat eye glasses, dye my hair green, tweet about storytime, and be The Hipster Librarian.  What’s that? I’m too old to be a hipster? Come on now, we are talking librarian, not book store/coffee house owner.

I say this all in fun, but librarians as a profession do seem to have a complex about the library persona. There was even a panel about it at ALA, where they argued the merits of What Not To Wear (the show) and what not to wear (for real).

I think it’s time for the intelligent women (and men) of the world to reclaim libraries as the place to go for information, research, and social outreach. I promise I won’t ‘Shhhh’ you!

Check out all the amazing things your local library has to offer. You don’t even have to go in, you can access most services from your home computer or personal device. And when I tell you I’m a librarian, don’t give me that knowing smirk — librarians rock!



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Our Friends Say
  1. Gina Kathryn Weever says:

    My knucklehead guy friends who say they’re attracted to the librarian type only ever point out caricatures never actual librarians + I never see them with ANY women. I would urge you to be yourself! Leave the sexualized cartoons for the clowns they attract. Remember, smart is sexy too! And for the record (in this post-Fifty Shades of Grey world) gray hair pulls nicely also.

  2. Nothing is more attractive than a well read woman. Librarians win!

  3. J. Nelson says:

    Why shouldn’t Archival Science be sexy? Sure it’s got a boner-killer of a name, but that’s where creative and progressive faculty come in and liven up the field!

    A friend of mine hired the Cadence Group, a library placement firm founded by women, learned that the other candidates were similarly qualified, but lifeless! You’re anything but!

    Don’t second guess any tendency toward being yourself. It’s an asset to be flaunted. I mean, yeah – lay off the fishnets and the opening and closing of your legs, so co-workers don’t think you have some kind of muscular disorder, but be yourself while you find a place for yourself!


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