Who/what/why am I?

Neil Gaiman quote

I’m a librarian.  I work in a library.  I wear glasses.  I read often, and for pleasure.  I drink tea.  I enjoy research and other academic pursuits.

As many students will attest, most research begins with Wikipedia.  According to the almighty W, “Stereotypes of librarians in popular culture are frequently negative: librarians are portrayed as puritanical, punitive, unattractive, and introverted if female, or timid, unattractive, and effeminate if male.” The librarians in popular culture article notes that librarians in film are “often portrayed as meek, timid, and unassertive in nature.”  They’re spinsters, eggheads, and recluses.  What a sad, pitiful existence these librarians keep.

So what does this umbrella of (mostly negative) connotations  mean to me, a self-professed non-stereotypical librarian?  Mostly it amuses me.  Yes, I’m a librarian — but I’m young!  Yes, I work in a library — but I’m studying web design and Web 2.0 applications!  And yes, I wear glasses, drink tea, and read for pleasure — but I also curse, do yoga, and read comic books.  I also edit Wikipedia.

The librarian field has been evolving for the past two decades.  Rather than ruling the roost of dusty tomes, librarians navigate the information highway that is the internet.  We are male, female, young, old, gay, straight, tattooed, be-spectacled — you name it.  Above all, we value knowledge and the passing of knowledge from one person to another.

I am not a stereotype, but some stereotypes are built upon truth.

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2 thoughts on “Who/what/why am I?

  1. Visiting from FB. 🙂 This is a topic that interests me too. To look at me, one might think I am the stereotype since I wear glasses and often have my hair in a bun (so what? it’s convenient), but I don’t think I am a stereotype either. I read a fair bit, but rarely fiction. And I spent most of my school years avoiding assigned books because they didn’t appeal to me. My passion is knowledge and sharing it. If anything, that should be the new librarian stereotype.
    You should try to publish something on this topic once you “finish.”

    • Yay Stephanie! Hey, buns are awesome; I wore mine proudly for years until I chopped all my hair off. 😉 Stereotypes are kind of like horoscopes in that you can easily “see” yourself in them. Simplified conceptions of people based on past experiences and assumptions. I’m extremely bookish, admittedly socially awkward, and quite nerdy, all of which often represent tropes used to describe librarians. Similarly, I’m completely bull-headed, stubborn and self-indulgent — the perfect Taurus if you go for that sort of thing. Teachers also share a passion for sharing knowledge, so what sets us apart in popular culture? Seclusion? Lack of patience? Hatred of grading assignments? We’re sometimes seen as similar sad creatures, but librarians are a quirky group. When I tell people I’m studying to become a librarian, they look surprised. Like, “those still exist?” And you know, no one ever wrote a song about being “Hot for Librarian”. Sorry for the ramble, but you can see this topic really interests me!

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