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The Librarian Stereotype War

September 8, 2009 8 comments

Currently there’s a war going on between the “traditional stereotype of a librarian,” aka shy quiet ugly old maid with glasses, and “the new stereotype of a librarian,” aka tattooed digital-savvy hipster.

To both sides, may I just say: enough already!

To the librarians/whoever who are pushing the young, hip librarian stereotype: You are just making us look desperate.  You are making it look like we know we’re irrelevant, and we’ll do anything to try to keep our career in vogue–even getting a tattoo!

To the general public who still believe the old maid librarian stereotype: You are just demonstrating how few real librarians you’ve ever known.  You’re also missing out on all the intelligent, sexy librarians.  Think Tina Fey for an example.

To everyone: Librarians are people just like anyone else.  As is the case with most stereotyping, some of what is being said is true, but not all of it.  Yes, librarians can tend to be a bit *gasp* nerdy.  We are the purveyors of knowledge, so that’s not surprising.  However, we’re a bunch of individuals.  We have our own personalities.  For every hipster librarian there’s a librarian who can’t stand hipsters invading her farmer’s market.  For every grouchy older librarian there’s an older librarian leading a high-tech storytime.  The only thing that I think could be said to be universally true about librarians is that we love educating ourselves and we love providing you with the resources to educate yourself.

Finally, to my fellow librarians: Can we please just stop debating about the library’s image and what a librarian is and just go out into our community–whether a city, a hospital, or a university–and do what we do best?  No more debate will be needed when our community is well-aware of our existence and that *gasp* librarians are people.  Who’d have ever thought it, eh?