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Out with The Old, In With the New 'Young Hip Librarians'

SAN DIEGO — The American Library Association capped its national conference at the San Diego Convention Center by honoring creators of children's books. One recurring theme at the conference was how libraries stay relevant in the lives of young readers as many librarians near retirement.

Stand-up comedian Meredith Myers (above) is part of a new group of young librarians who are busting stereotypes about who is a "typical librarian."

“I think we need cool librarians,” said Myers, who sports a stylish hat, bright red hair and black biker boots. “Image is important. (Younger patrons) are more likely to ask for help from people who they can identify with.”

Myers is part of a growing number of young librarians who are busting stereotypes of the “typical librarian” and forcing change within their own libraries. They said it is not uncommon today to see librarians wearing Doc Martin boots, tattoos and dreadlocks. And some new librarians say they are more interested in pop culture than historical text.

Library advocates said it is all part of the 21st Century library – a place with cool technology and cool people. “For 32 years we’ve been fighting this stereotype of the typical librarian who is old, has a bun and glasses. We haven’t been that way for a long time,” said Audra Caplan, president of the Public Library Association. “I think the excitement of new technologies and new ways to respond make it really exciting to this upcoming generation.”

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