becoming a younger profession," said Paige Wasson, an American Library Association
spokeswoman, who donned sneakers at the event. "You see folks with dreadlocks
and chunky boots. They're not the 'shush, be quiet' librarians of old." (Arizona
like to go out to eat," she said. "I like to go to bars. I like to travel.
Pretty much, I'm up for anything. I consider myself very adventurous." (New
kickboxes, wears trendy clothes and at 25 is a far cry from the image of
the schoolmarmish librarian in reading glasses, finger pressed to pursed lips."
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
straddled a red Harley-Davidson, flashed her bright smile and spread her
arms wide open. It wasn't a typical photo shoot for the director of the Ocean
County Library System, but it sure was fun." (Asbury Park Press)
These articles are all about image, and a false one at that. Even more worrying
is that these articles are the beginnings of an "anti-stereotype stereotype".
Simply, that they do nothing more but create a new negative image about librarianship
that is just as unreal as the old one. The ALA's determination to get away from
the old image will only cause more confusion amongst librarians about what we
really stand for.
Not once are the values of a librarian mentioned, nor what they actually do
in their day to day work, or how much money they make. These are the things
that people need to know to choose a career. It matters nothing if they get
to wear "trendy clothes" or not.
How do older members of our profession feel about being relegated to the "shushing
schoolmarm" category? Has the ALA forgotten that most of the hip young librarians
will in fact be working with the "schoolmarms"? Division between young and old
can only be a recipe for disaster. All members of the profession need to work
together towards the same common goals.
Creating a new image based on the library's "coolness factor" would not be
wrong if it was about values. It librarians were written up in the press as
defenders of free speech, opponents to filtering, technologically-savvy individuals,
we would be doing well. Surely that would make a profession appear "cool" to
anyone, not just youth.
We want to be a profession that includes all kinds of people, not just those
who fit the stereotypical box.
Links and further references -
New looks pull kids into libraries http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0316libraries16.html
Web overturning image of book-filing librarian http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2000/04/03/focus4.html
Librarians Adjust Image in an Effort to Fill Jobs http://college3.nytimes.com/guests/articles/2001/08/23/864013.xml
Few check out the work, so librarian hiring lags http://www.jsonline.com/news/wauk/apr02/35296.asp
Biking for books: Library director dons leather for Harley fund-raiser poster
Image and the Librarian http://home.earthlink.net/~cyberresearcher/ImageHomepage.htm
Wear lipstick, have a tattoo, belly-dance, then get naked: The making of a virtual librarian http://www.careerdevelopmentgroup.org.uk/impact/archives/abrewerton.htm If you have any information to add to this page (links, comments etc) please drop me an email!