Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I have an idea! Let's design Librarian Insignia!

I had a conversation the other day with a former student and a former LR&W instructor. They commented first on how students needed to learn to respect librarians (Yay! gotta love these folks!), and then the conversation turned to how confusing it was for students who did not know if they were speaking to a professional librarian, a full time staffer or a student working part-time at the desk. This is a serious problem! How can students learn to genuflect to librarians properly if they don't know which of us are the librarians?

So, I had a brainstorm. Let's design something to set librarians apart. You could go modest and have a name tag. How boring! Nurses get those cute little hats (I don't think I've seen a nurse's hat for years, but you still see them in cartoons). Why couldn't there be a librarian uniform?

You could take off on the Order of the Coif (for top law students at school that belong to the Order; kind of like Phi Beta Kapp keys. But the coif means a little wig or bit of cloth like a hair-do:

In England of the medieval period, serjeants-at-law wore, as a required mark of their station, a close-fitting hood covering all but the face. As a consequence of this special headdress, they were known also as serjeants of the coif and their corporate society as the Order of the Coif. When wigs came into fashion,
the symbol became a circular piece of white lawn fastened to the top of the wig. What gave significance to the Order was the fact that for centuries only its members were appointed judges of the Court of Common Pleas or, later, of King's Bench.
Librarians could have the Order of the Bun.

Ooh, that's so stereotypical! No, no, no! How about black leather and whips? That would put some oomph into the Pop Cop routine! "You aren't allowed to have a disposable or open container drink in the library, sir. {CRACK!}" Or the Conan the Librarian outfit? Actually, I don't think that one would be very attractive on most of us. Hmm. Ideas, folks? How can we design some kind of insignia or uniform to mark us a librarians?


lo-fi librarian said...

Or we could earn badges like boy scouts, and stitch them to our cardigans/twin sets. These could range from the easily earned 'fixing the photocopier' badge to the more advanced 'cataloguing and classification' badge.

Jim Milles said...

I want to earn my black belt in librarianship!

Betsy McKenzie said...

I love both ideas! Jim, you will delight in Butt-Kicking Librarians, at, and that there is a new book, Black Belt Librarians: Every Librarian's Real World Guide to a Safer Workplace. See, you knew! Maybe we could have the badges on the belt? Though I really like the cardigans/twin set comment! Maybe we could have special glasses chains?

Amy Wright said...

Marketing is one way that law school librarians can distinguish themselves from the rest of the library staff. At USF, we have very large pictures of the reference staff at the library entrance, which includes information about our degrees.

Connie said...

In Canada, engineers have the Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer. The Ritual was written by Rudyard Kipling and newly minted engineers receive a special iron ring signifying humility, to remind them of a bridge that failed (the original rings were supposedly made from the metal of that bridge).

Read more here:

I think it's going to be kinda difficult to top that. Canadian engineers do take the ritual seriously and wear the ring on the little finger of their dominant hand.

That being said, since librarianship really is a martial art I vote for a black belt as well. 8-)

Betsy McKenzie said...

Gee, Connie, maybe we could cut up pages of discarded books and make paper loops and hats of the failed books? I had never heard of Calling of the Engineer. That's so cool! MIT grads used to always get the Brass Beaver (really! it's a brass graduation ring with a beaver -- the dam-building animal, silly! Get your mind out of the gutter!), but nothing like a ritual. The pictures are very useful, but not nearly as much fun as considering uniforms and costumes.