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: