Perceive thyself!

What's your mask?Ask a librarian to describe the stereotype of librarians, and you’ll undoubtedly hear something like, “Wears thin wireframe glasses, hair-in-a-bun, drab sweater-vest or cardigan, long wool skirt, owns a cat, doesn’t like loud noise…” and the list goes on. I’ve even heard some librarians describe the stereotype as “Full Cat-bag.” In my experience, librarians – especially the ones who claim to hate the stereotype – have a crystal-clear picture of the exact librarian they don’t wish to be.

Non-librarians, though, might describe the stereotypical librarian if pressed, but if you simply ask them to picture a librarian chances are good it will look nothing like the stereotype. Librarians have been working long and hard to change the perception of librarians in popular culture–now, though, it’s our turn. If we keep working from the assumption that the stereotype is the place we have to start, suddenly we run the risk of perpetuating it.

This is an unusual post for me. I’ve been mulling this over since the wonderful Librarian Wardrobe conversation starter about librarian stereotypes at ALA Annual this past summer, and I still don’t know what I think. The topic needs to be discussed, but I don’t necessarily think I’m the one to lead the discussion.

Still, I wonder how we can turn the discussion into a proactive one. What do we, as library students, want the perception of our profession to be? Isn’t it more important that we start thinking about the profession and the cool stuff we’re doing than it is to worry about conforming to, or breaking away from, the stereotype?

We aren’t the only profession that has started to break away from traditional perceptions. Science, in all its many-headed forms, is dealing with much the same issue, and their solution, “This is what a Scientist Looks Like” has been copied by librarians as well.

At the recent R-Squared conference, one of the most interesting opening exercises was an 8-by-10 wall divided into three columns, asking participants to add cards listing things they were passionate about, things they were skilled at, and things they could teach. Instantly, it became clear that it was impossible to consider “librarians” as a one-dimensional group of people.

I contend that the stereotype is already broken–now, what perceptions of librarians should take its place? It’s in our hands–as we graduate and enter the field, we get to decide how we want it to look.

Categories: Big Picture

11 replies

  1. I think the stereotype has evolved from cat-eye glasses and hairbuns to ink and cool shoes.

    The real question, though, is “why are librarians so obsessed with their image?”

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  2. I think I we’ll look more like the folks at the Apple store, or like coders. The bun came about because women don’t want hair in their eyes when leaning over a book, pencil skirts for climbing library ladders, and glasses because dusty books and contact lenses don’t play well together. I’m at a computer more than I’m in the stacks, and I’m more likely to be helping solve multiple questions in the computing area than I am climbing a ladder.
    Long hair (no bun), contacts, and flouncier skirts or comfortable pants for kneeling next to a chair means that most people don’t peg me as a librarian. Also, I find louder and friendlier go a long way.

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  3. The question of how people perceive librarians is definitely important because it affects how people engage with librarians and libraries. And that engagement in turn affects how much people see librarians as people worth listening to when it comes to making policy and funding decisions.

    I think one response to the issue of stereotypes, then, is really to think about advocacy. Librarians need to be out and about, talking to people who might use library services and who make decisions about funding. Vocal advocates for supporting libraries can help shift the image of librarians.

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  4. If “everyone” thinks of the bun-and-glasses librarian, then maybe we should go back to that. It would at least solve the problem of pouting over questions like “you need a Master’s for that?” and patrons not being able to differentiate between librarians and other types of library worker. 🙂

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  5. ĸ�界限定100本 工業デザイナーのブルーノ・ベラミッシュと経営学を専門とするビジネスマンのカルロス・A・ロシロが、“自分たちの理想の時計”を目指してパリで創業した。
    2002年にはシリコンオイルでケース内部を満たすことで耐圧性を高め、1万m以上の防水性能を達成したハイドロマツクスでギネス記録も樹立した。
    当店で簡単な磨き仕上げ済みで概ね綺麗な状態です。
    店長メモ39mmのセラミックとステンレスを組み合わせた専用ケースにクォーツムーブメントを搭載。
    高級ブランド腕時計の中には人気があり正規店には物がなく並行品や中古品でもプレミア価格で販売されているモデルも多くあります。
    まとめると都心の人の場合は、宅配便でお安くならAmazon、店頭買いで夜遅くなるなら新宿のとらAかゲマ、心情的には三月兎さんげっと店、ですかね。
    買うとなると躊躇してしまう程の価格ですので20代の若者達が容易に買える筈もなく無理して買う必要もないと思います。
    寒暖差があり夜はさすがに肌寒くなりましたので体調管理に注意が必要になってきました。
    福岡・東区・香椎の世界のアンティークウォッチ&時計修理とジュエリー修理とジュエリーリフォームの店、Antiquwatch&Pocketwatch Gallerry Tamamushiです!普段あまりマケプレで買わないから、これ予約しようとして初めて知った・・・考えたら当たり前か。
    私うまくここのゲームの事説明できないから、↓旧版のレビューとか参考にすればいいのでは!腕時計のブランドの中には比較的安いブランドにボールウォッチやベル&ロス、タグ・ホイヤーなどあり若い世代にも人気のモデルは多くあります。
    ブリットポップ系が好きな人におすすめです割と本気で。
    ぼくは少しの間、腕時計のデザインに関連した業界に身を置いていましたが、世界中どの展示会に行っても「ベル&ロス(BR01)の模倣品ばかり」、という時期が数年は続いていたことが思い出されます。
    腕時計の中古を買うの?
    機械式時計は趣味の時計です。
    機械式時計で10年なんてピカピカのまたまだ一年生です!当時からともに時計収集が趣味という若者だったが、学校卒業後はカルロスは銀行員、ブルーノはアートの分野で活躍していたという。
    さらにベル&ロスは年々相場が下がっており、20万円以下で程度の良い腕時計が入手できる、というのが現状です。
    また展示品の為、多少の傷みや小キズなど有る場合がございますので予めご了承下さいませ。

    腕時計ショップ https://www.cocoejp1.com/ProductList1.aspx?TypeId=034930015349143

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