Monday, August 28, 2006

Librarian -- THE IMAGE!

Tip of the hat to Professor Emeritus Alfred Maleson for sending along this terrific link from Ruth Kneale for the Special Library Association. This is a terrific and entertaining website about a survey Ms. Kneale did on library (mostly) patrons:

What's your image of a librarian?

Male or female?
Her survey of patrons showed that 92.7% of respondents could imagine a male librarian, compared to 97.2% who could also envision a female librarian.

Do librarians have to be old?
The survey showed that 93.1% of respondents can imagine young as well as older librarians.

What kind of clothes do librarians wear?
Only 89.3% expect to see their librarians in suits, while 93.9% expect to see librarians in casual attire.

Of course, that doesn't touch the Lipstick librarian's desire for actual couture in the library.... But it gets us past the dowdy librarian concerns of the past. She goes on, though to present naked librarian calendars (Wow! I don't know how good a fundraiser that might be, but that's apparently a hot seller in England, see Camden Girls Calendar) and this DVD from Tori Amos, Tales of a Librarian. The difference is that the naked ones are real librarians, while Tori Amos is just a wanna-be. It's definitely worth a scroll down the very long page! See the amazing librarian action figure! (I don't know of a law prof or lawyer action figure, so there!) You don't want to miss the video clip download of Conan the Librarian, either (the image above is from this website -- deal with that past-due patron, or the folks who rip pages or spill coffee!).

Follow up with a look at Ms. Kneale's 2002 web page, You Don't Look Like a Librarian. She covers her first survey, of librarians, dealing with the stereotypical image. Here are some awesome quotes given by librarians in her survey, examples of patrons' and strangers' reactions to the revelation that they are speaking to a librarian:

* You sure fit the stereotype.
* I never would have guessed you're a librarian.
* Libraries are really changing, huh?
* No, really, what do you do?
* You have a Master's Degree?!?
* I like to read, I should be a librarian too!
* You dance really well for a librarian!
* Since you have a bun and glasses it's a good thing you don't dress like a librarian!
* What are you doing in this field?
* I've never met a black librarian before.
* I didn't know librarians could be so young!
* If librarians looked like you while I was in school, I would have spent a lot more time in the Library!
* Isn't that a woman's job?
* You're not a typical librarian, are you.
* I never met a librarian who rode a motorcycle before.
* Where's your bun?
* I didn't know you had to go to school to be a librarian!
* You're too to be a librarian.
* You don't dress like a librarian.
* You dress too hip to be a librarian.

Be sure to cheer yourself back up by downloading that Conan video or visiting the ever-sassy Lipstick Librarian here! Or there's the Laughing Librarian on Cool Librarians. Visit the Butt-kicking Librarian here, with a blackbelt in karate and kobudo.

Further research, including links to librarian cartoons and movie librarians: There is this terrific article on the impact of images for librarians Here. The Internet Public Library has This webography on Librarian Images, sorted by type.

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