“You Don’t Look Like a Librarian!”

What? Only 10? (From http://www.librarian-image.net/)

What? Only 10? (From http://www.librarian-image.net/)

Yesterday I attended a resource fair for incoming students.  While manning my booth, I greeted people who walked by, trying to make the Library seem like a great place to visit and hopefully utilize over the next four years of their college experience.  A few people seemed genuinely interested, but one in particular jived with me and my message.  In fact, this new student told me, and I quote, “It’s a good thing they [the library] sent you here; you don’t look like a librarian, you look like a student.”

As petty as it now sounds, I took it as a compliment. It seems that even for the class of 2017, “librarian” means old, stuffy, and out of touch. While of course it means a variety of characteristics – because all librarians are unique, awesome snowflakes – I couldn’t help but thank the kid for insinuating that I’m young, friendly and do not smell like I own ten cats.  I mean, that’s what he meant, right?  How strange must his high school library experience must have been, or how many times must he have seen The Music Man, for him to point out how much I stick out in my line of work?  I smiled and nodded at him, but in hindsight I wish I would have asked him what his frame of reference was, to whom was he comparing me, and oh bee tee dubs, mind if I blog about this?

This line of thought makes me want to check out “You Don’t Look Like a Librarian: Shattering Stereotypes and Creating Positive New Images in the Internet Age” by Ruth Kneale.  Has anyone read it?  I feel like I need to commiserate with others on this point.

So, I’m the Worst Blogger Ever

librarian meta tattoo

Librarian meta tattoos are the way to go (via Pinterest)

My goodness, has it really been that long since I’ve posted?  Just when I was starting to delve into the complicated world of librarians in popular culture, I went MIA. Even my post on Guybrarians and Male Librarians, which went viral and garnered thousands of views (!!!) and several dozen amazingly insightful comments, didn’t help cover my absence.  I certainly want to get back to posting regularly – and I will! – but a little explanation may be in order.

In mid-April I became a professional librarian.  After nearly seven years of being an off-and-on-again student as well as a member of the support staff of a mid-sized academic library, I was promoted to the rank of faculty and the new position of Public Services Librarian in charge of marketing and outreach.  It’s been thrilling and exciting and bright and shiny and new, but it’s also greatly taken away from my trolling on the interwebs online activities.

Still, now that I am an actual librarian, this blog all of a sudden seems so much more important, so let’s forget about my brief disappearing act and get back to discussing why librarians are depicted the way they are in media and why that’s good/bad/wrong/hilarious.  Okay?

Morris Lessmore and his Fantastic Flying Books... or, what I thought being a librarian would feel like.

Morris Lessmore and his Fantastic Flying Books… or, what I thought being a librarian would feel like. Not so much?