Librarians…who are they really???

I came across a great blog recently written by a librarian in Arizona, Ruth Kneale, who was featuring an article written by a woman named Maura Seale entitled “Old Maids, Policemen and Social Rejects : Mass Media Representations and Public Perceptions of Librarians”. This research paper goes about describing how the media has portrayed librarians, how the public views librarians, and finally, what effect these perceptions have on the world.

The first topic talks about five different types of librarians that the media has given us over the years. There is the Old Maid Librarian, the Policeman Librarian, the librarian as parody (which is mainly a parody of the Old Maid stereotype), the Inept Librarian and the librarian as Hero or Heroine. So….are these types of librarians really true? Do you have one or more of these types of librarians in your public library? I’d like to think that at our library, we really don’t fall into any type of mold. No stereotypes whatsoever. We have a fantastic librarian who is very community involved, has a cute puppy that she adores and has the best memory around! (Okay, so she does wear glasses, but I’ve NEVER seen her hair in a bun!)

Librarians these days are much more mainstream than they were in years past. They are no longer the older, single woman in glasses and a tight bun. You probably could not walk down the street and pick out a librarian in the crowd. (Although that is a fun pastime…..trying to decide on someone’s vocation by the way they look. Try it if you are bored!)

So how has the media portrayed librarians and will it continue to stereotype and throw us into a mold? Check out a few of these great sites to see what you think:

http://www.librarian-image.net/img07/

http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v09n01/seale_m01.html#_edn10

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Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 7:56 am  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. yes it’s so true that it’s nice to be a librarian. That is why I choose it as my coarse in college. So I’m now a graduating student of Bachelor of Library and Information Science which I am proud about. Knowing what other people would associate librarians I just laugh and say I’m not like that old maid that they are used to see in a library. And I’m not a boring person and I have pleasing personalities which offers a smile to everybody and lastly I don’t wear eyeglasses. So what I’m trying to say is that people should not generalize librarians as an old maid people who always wear eyeglasses. Lastly, don’t discriminate us (Librarians)because our job is not that easy task. There’s more beyond what you think about us.

    • You’re right….there’s a lot more to us than the typical stereotype allows.

      • Please proofread your responses and use a dictionary, I am a librarian and your lack of attention to detail is not an attribute of any librarian I know.

      • I was not going to approve the comment by Laura Brown regarding her comment to jlyn who responded earlier, but I felt a need to point something out to Ms. Brown.

        First of all, anyone is free to leave a comment, but to ridicule someone on their grammatical errors is exactly what this post was all about…a stereotype. The High and Mighty Librarian does not earn any brownie points in life.

        Secondly, if you want to be so picky, you should have re-read your own response. There should have been a period at the end of your sentence Please proofread your responses and use a dictionary
        You used a comma which was incorrect and caused a run-on sentence.

        In the future, I will not post such inane comments.

  2. Your photo of the librarian posing on the index cards is wonderful. Is it copyright free and ca we use it in our library? If not, who do I contact for permission?

    Simon Harper

    • Hi Simon….

      It was quite a while ago that I did this post, but I believe the image must be copyright free. You can find many versions of it all over the net. (Just google librarian image). Everyone from bloggers to library websites have it online.

      Thanks!


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