This Is What a Librarian Looks Like


From Slate. Photos of librarians taken by Kyle Cassidy at the recent ALA Midwinter Conference.

Guess what? They look kinda like the rest of us.


Gee, didn't Slate get the memo that we're all 60-year-old spinsters with gray buns in our hair and 10 cats waiting for us at home?

Okay, all sarcasm aside...our library has a lot of hip, young-looking librarians who dress stylishly and people are amazed when they see some of us and are astonished we're librarians. It's very hard getting over the stereotype of what people think librarians look like.

The new librarian stereotype is the hipster.

Can librarians get over the whole image thing already? For the 2 decades I've been in the library profession, I've heard the same harping. "Heh world, we're not fuddy duddies. Check us out @ your library. We're hip and cool." Perhaps we doth protest too much.

Our profession's obsession with image just screams insecurity complex. And our constant complaining about our "image problem" makes us sound like a bunch of clucking old hens.

Be useful to people, provide valuable service and the image issue will take care of itself.

Totally agree. Let's get over it (image-obsessivenss) already. Sometimes I dress up a bit, sometimes I dress down a bit. My hair is sometimes up, sometimes down. I hardly ever think, "ooh, now what LIBRARIAN image am I trying to portray." I usually just want to look somewhat professional and try to do good work at my job. I tend to over-obsess regarding whether I'm doing a good enough job as a librarian and doing enough to keep pace with the myriad of trends that impact the profession (I often don't think I am, by the way, but that's a whole other topic).

I believe that the last sentence says it all "Guess what? They look kinda like the rest of us." Outside of actors and rock stars, what other profession has been so concerned about outward appearances? I didn't understand the need for it 15 years ago and still don't.

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