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[P]
The Anti-Stereotype Stereotype

By blisspix in Culture
Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:50:52 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

One of the greatest bugbears in librarianship continues to be stereotype and the image of librarians. Long perceived as old women who wear their hair in buns, glasses, and a twin-set, this image has become stereotype thanks to the image of librarians in film, novels, and journalism.


The American Library Association has decided that this impression needs to change, especially since a large percentage of librarians will retire in the next ten years and there will be many vacancies to fill. The ALA has embarked on a recruitment drive, promoting the work of a librarian as being worthwhile, awash with new technology, and overall, just 'cool'.

The ALA has attacked the recruitment problem by looking to youth to fill the void. In the US and Australia, a newly graduated librarian is rarely a hip, young, 20-something. Most graduates have come to librarianship after trying another profession, and are often in their mid-30s. The ALA is looking to change the age base of its new librarians by promoting the MLS to those who have just finished their undergraduate degrees in their mid-20's.

There's nothing wrong with looking to get younger people into librarianship. After all, libraries attract all age groups across the population, and we should a wide range of age groups in our staff to reflect that. What is wrong is the ALA's method of recruitment, which has the potential to divide old and young in librarianship.

Some articles that have appeared in recent months -

"Young librarians push for a makeover... To help coordinate the campaign, the Alliance Library System hired the Simantel Group Inc. of Peoria...Their branding specialists immediately set out to derail the priggish image associated with library workers. To do so they needed to show people the real men and women who roam library aisles."

"It's 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 Central)

I 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 York Times)

"Melissa Schneider 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)

"She 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.

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.

What do those outside the profession of librarianship think of us? Are we really boring and dowdy, or has the ALA got it wrong? Considering so many library school graduates have gone into IT instead, do you work with any library school graduates? How do you think we could recruit new blood without resorting to cheap image tactics?

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Related Links
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o Also by blisspix


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The Anti-Stereotype Stereotype | 97 comments (92 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
I don't know about you... (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by showboat on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 12:18:51 AM EST

My local library is staffed with at least one of these "old women who wear buns in their hair, glasses", and has been for the past twenty years or so. Granted, they recently hired a geeky, stringy guy to help with new computers they installed (that sure brought the teenagers in), and that type seems to be gaining importance in my small library. But the feeling of trust that I get when that stereotypical librarian tells me where that book is just can't be beat. (Especially when the computer system doesn't distinguish between holdings at one and another branch.)

But then, she's been there for decades. If she had some other style, I'm sure it would still work the same.



Can you say... (1.62 / 8) (#5)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 12:30:21 AM EST

He-He-Hello

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


What? Has nobody seen Party Girl? (2.00 / 1) (#60)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 04:17:58 PM EST

I mean, come on. Parker Posey surrounded by books wearing those frumpy old lady cat's eye glasses and knee-high stockings has to be one of the sexiest things ever captured on film. The original hip librarian!

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
I agree (4.75 / 4) (#6)
by kestrel13 on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 01:10:20 AM EST

I'm a college senior and I'm planning to get a library science master's degree upon graduation, which will make me a 20-something librarian when I'm done. I totally agree with you that there are more important things that the ALA should be focusing on, rather than creating a false image of "cool" librarians. The people coming out of library science programs now have the technological knowledge and skills that will be very important as our society becomes more and more information-centered and driven, not to mention what the article said about defending free speech and opposing censors. However, the average librarian is still paid about as much as a teacher, even though they have an advanced degree and work year-round. The ALA should be focusing on improving the situation for librarians, such as lobbying for more funding for public libraries, instead of trying to recruit people with a false image of librarians. Besides, librarians are already cool. ;)

Hello! (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by ti dave on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:34:49 AM EST

I have a question for you, and I ask this with all due seriousness.

How will earning a MLS make you a significantly better Librarian?

It seems to me that the prerequisites to become a Librarian are artificially high.
Perhaps that's one reason that Libraries are facing this shortage?

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Well, in my case... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by kestrel13 on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:38:29 AM EST

I want an MLS because I want to do academic librarianship or archives management. I'm planning to get a history degree as well. I need both degrees to be able to get tenure-track library positions, for example. As for whether the degree is necessary (in that you need to learn everything it teaches to be a good librarian), I don't know, since I haven't started it yet. But I would rather have more knowledge than less, and I think that if I didn't get the degree I would never be able to advance in the career (not just because people want the rubber stamp, but because I don't think I would have the necessary skills). I think one of the reasons we have a librarian shortage is because it's expensive to get a master's degree, and it'll take a lot longer for me to pay it off on a starting librarian's salary than it would if I went into something like business. This could be addressed by either providing more scholarships and aid (maybe through a program like the ones for teachers where your schooling is paid for in exchange for working in a public/school library for a couple years), or working on increasing the base salary for librarians. I suspect there could also be shorter and cheaper programs in the field that give you some kind of "certification" which could get you lower-level librarian jobs in public libraries, although you'd still have to get the full degree to get the high level ones.

[ Parent ]
re-phrased... (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by ti dave on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:39:56 PM EST

...you need to learn everything it teaches to be a good librarian

Is it possible to be a good Librarian with only a 4-year degree under your belt?
I suppose that was my original point, perhaps the degree requirements are inflated?

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Well, I don't know for sure. (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by kestrel13 on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:51:52 PM EST

I will have a 4-year degree in a year, and right now no, I don't think I could be a good librarian. I could be an okay one, I suppose, because I'm smart and I know how to do research and use computers, but there's a lot of technology stuff and skills I would like to learn before becoming one. I don't know if the degree requirements are inflated, though, because I haven't started the degree. I'll let you know in 3 years. ;) (No, it doesn't have to take 2 years. I have a friend who is doing it in one, but I'm also getting a history degree.)

[ Parent ]
yes and no... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by quodlibetic on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:03:41 PM EST

The requirements might be a little bit inflated, but not too much - library school is a lot more than just "how to check out a book" (and, for the record, I didn't even work in a library during grad school - I worked for an instructional technology center!).

Personally, I believe that you can be an okay librarian without the Masters degree, but not a good one. The degree program really does provide a solid base of theory and information that can be built upon as you continue to gain experience in the field.

You'll find that the vast majority of librarians working (and hiring) in the field will want to see a librarian with a Masters degree. Occasionally, you may find a library willing to give a non-MLS-holding person a chance at working as a librarian. More likely, they'll offer you a job as a paraprofessional. :)

---------------------
"I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused..."
[ Parent ]

I'm not asking to mock you but (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by bigsexyjoe on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 04:39:56 AM EST

... why would you get a master's degree to earn as much as a teacher? Is library science really that compelling to you?

[ Parent ]
It's not all librarians (4.50 / 2) (#23)
by kestrel13 on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:27:34 AM EST

I meant mostly public librarians don't get paid enough, which isn't exactly what I want to do. I'm more interested in archives and academic librarianship, but I suspect I'll have to spend at least the first couple years at a public library before I can get a job in one of those fields. It's the programs that are government funded that are suffering for funds, same for schools, while lots of money goes to things like weapons budgets. And yes, it is really interesting and important to me, the same way many of my friends are going into elementary education because they think it's important, even though they don't get paid enough.

[ Parent ]
Teachers need a master's degree as well. (nt) (4.50 / 2) (#42)
by spcmanspiff on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 11:20:39 AM EST



[ Parent ]
No they don't. (none / 0) (#69)
by kestrel13 on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:48:19 PM EST

Many of them later get one, but they don't need one to get a job teaching in a public school in the US. They just need a bachelor's degree and a state teaching license.

[ Parent ]
California teachers... (none / 0) (#83)
by Gooba42 on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 01:15:44 PM EST

My mom just had to go through this whole deal to get certified. you don't need a Master's Degree at all to be a teacher, but it will get you a step raise.

We need info about what kind of teacher to which they are being compared. If a librarian with a Master's is getting paid comparable to a teacher with a Master's is a better comparison.

[ Parent ]
Question for the author (3.33 / 3) (#7)
by Irobot on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 01:18:14 AM EST

Last year sometime, the Department of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Hawai'i was folded into the Information and Computer Science department. Given the technology involved -- after all, even in its most basic form without internet connections, interlibrary networks, various media, etc., a library is one huge database of sorts -- I would think that the trend would be for IT types to choose to go into the "library sciences," rather than the other way around. Would you care to comment on the job duties/qualifications currently desired/necessary/expected to become a librarian?

It seems to me (personal opinion, of course) that the "hip" profession you speak of (or, more accurately, the ALA is pushing) will be a subset of computer science, and the stereotypical "schoolmarmish" librarians are going to be supplanted in the not-so-distant future. Or, at best, become a sort of service job not too far removed from a rental clerk (y'know -- nice smile, decent demeanor, knowledge of the stock but little knowledge of library and information science necessary.

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn

what librarians do (none / 0) (#87)
by blisspix on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 09:51:34 PM EST

Good info here

the primary role of a librarian tbese days is to bring information to the user. This involves acquiring materials, making them available to the user, organising knowledge, training users, and providing a reference service. You need to have good general knowledge, an aptitude for IT (more now than in the past), and frankly, patience. Most of us rarely see a book. We spend most of our time in front of computers or talking to users.

The IT vs Librarianship debate is a contentious one. There are many who feel that some MLS schools have become 'Comp. Sci. Lite' for those who couldn't do more rigourous courses, and many resent more traditional librarianship courses being dropped in favour of IT classes. Some students are no longer required to take cataloguing, for instance, which is bad if you plan on providing reference services and don't know how the library is organised.

I think that there will be a trend towards hiring non-degree qualified people to work desks and reference services, and the public will no longer see MLS qualified librarians doing the rounds. This is not a good thing.

There is another smaller group that is heading towards having librarians on par with professors in an academic setting. There is a growing number of librarians working towards PhDs (I'm one of them) and many who already have them who seek to make librarianship a more rigorous social science. There's not enough researchers in the field yet to make that so, so most research comes from practicioners writing about their own work. This too, will change in time.

[ Parent ]

Interesting (none / 0) (#93)
by Irobot on Sat Aug 31, 2002 at 02:39:26 AM EST

Thank you for answering my question - I couldn't figure out why I was getting modded down. Reading over the link you provided, it looks like librarians are expected to be...well...libraries themselves. What I mean is, it looks like they're expected to be sysadmins, customer service, stock-person, research consultants, and teachers, besides having an intimate knowledge of any field that may be of interest to the general public. In other words, they're expected to know everything.

I do have some other questions, if you don't mind. It's not often I have the attention of someone in the field (although I suppose I could go to the uni library and ask). BTW - italics indicate they came from the link you provided:

  • What's involved in "cataloguing?" Is that just knowing where something is put in the library stacks? I think there must be more to it...
  • What software is in use? Is there a "standard, off the shelf" program or are most systems contracted out for design/implementation? Or are many systems in use of the "roll your own" variety?
  • I get the impression that only an MLS is offered. Is there a PhD in Library Sciences? What schools have notable departments? If not, what is the degree you (or others generally) work towards?
  • What does analyze collections indicate? Is that akin to a valuation of sorts - monetary or otherwise?
  • What types of research grants do you get? Is that funding to "stock the shelves," or is it for publishing papers on library science. If the latter, what are some of the "cutting edge" topics?
  • Why do you feel that "the public will no longer see MLS qualified librarians doing the rounds" is a bad thing? (I ask this with the assumption that the technology involved will be adequate for most general needs. If it isn't, then I agree whole-heartedly with your assertion.)
  • Lastly, what is your opinion on the effect Google (and other such tech) has had on librarians' status? Do you think that technology will eventually eliminate the need for general positions, leaving only the specialized sort?
Again, thanks for answering...

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

re comments (none / 0) (#95)
by blisspix on Sun Sep 01, 2002 at 01:31:34 AM EST

In other words, they're expected to know everything.

Yup!

What's involved in "cataloguing?" Is that just knowing where something is put in the library stacks? I think there must be more to it...

Cataloguing involves the processing and identification of materials. At the most basic level, it's taking an item, working out where it should be placed in the library, working out a call number (Dewey or some other system), finding some subject headings (so you can find it in the catalogue) and then entering that information into a database.

Main references of cataloguers are AACR2 (which describes how database entries should be formatted), MARC (for machine readable databases), DDC (for call numbers), and LCSH (for subjects).

Sounds simple, but can actually be quite complex in practice, and most students take at least a couple of semester long classes just to get the basics.

What software is in use? Is there a "standard, off the shelf" program or are most systems contracted out for design/implementation? Or are many systems in use of the "roll your own" variety?

There's hundreds of different packages. Most of them are dreadful. Dynix is very popular in large systems. We use Textworks where I work, it's not very good. Many special libraries have custom solutions, using Filemaker.

There's also a new range of open source systems springing up, which are great for co-ops and non-profits. See Koha for example.

I get the impression that only an MLS is offered. Is there a PhD in Library Sciences? What schools have notable departments? If not, what is the degree you (or others generally) work towards?

MLS is the standard everywhere in the US, as it is the qualification that is most widely recognised by the ALA and employers. Those who want a doctorate get a Doctor of Philosophy, most schools offer it. Some librarians choose to study in other departments depending on the topic of the thesis. The best schools in the US are Rutgers, Illinois Urbana-Champagne, North Carolina Chapel Hill.

In Australia, there's no school that stands out as being well and truly beyond the rest.

What does analyze collections indicate? Is that akin to a valuation of sorts - monetary or otherwise?

Collections need to be managed and rationalised on a regular basis. Libraries have what's called a Collection Development Policy that lists the kinds of materials that they collect, conditions for accepting bequests, their specialities in different subject areas, etc.

Due to space and fiscal requirements, most libraries have to rationalise their collections by weeding or dropping subscriptions. The rising cost of journals has led to massive cuts in these resources in recent years across the world.

What types of research grants do you get? Is that funding to "stock the shelves," or is it for publishing papers on library science. If the latter, what are some of the "cutting edge" topics?

Grants come from many sources, public and private depending on the nature of the library. It may be to run an exhibition, purchase a new collection, build a new room, all sorts of things.

There's very little opportunity for researchers to get fellowships or reserch grants in the field. As most social science people will tell you, it all goes to the hard sciences.

Cutting edge topics? Where to start! I'm interested in Information Literacy, which is about how people find information. It's strongly related to lifelong learning and cognitive sciences. There's lots of development in every area of librarianship, it's such a diverse field that it's hard to know where to start!

Why do you feel that "the public will no longer see MLS qualified librarians doing the rounds" is a bad thing?

The average person assumes that the person they see at the circulation desk in their public library is a librarian. When that person can't answer their questions, they get upset and get a bad impression of what we do. This is nothing against library technicians, they do a fantastic job, but the public often has a hard time knowing what we actually do if we don't ever see us doing anything. Hence you get comments like, 'oh, you just shelve and stamp books, that's not hard'.

Lastly, what is your opinion on the effect Google (and other such tech) has had on librarians' status?

The only people who think Google can replace us are those who don't actually use libraries in the first place. There'll always be a place for every kind of librarian we have now. Automatic check out machines haven't replaced the circulation desk anyway.


[ Parent ]

The Anti-Anti-Stereotype Stereotype Stereotype (2.14 / 7) (#8)
by xriso on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:18:12 AM EST

Well, what is it? :-)
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
There is no doubt (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by Ig0r on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 11:06:42 AM EST

This is it

Jet Li as an ass-kicking super-soldier librarian has to be the best anti-anti-stereotype stereotype stereotype.

[ Parent ]
librarians are todays shamans (4.84 / 13) (#9)
by tealeaf on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:18:27 AM EST

I don't know what the librarian is supposed to be like.  My view of a good librarian is someone who is dedicated to preserving knowledge and wisdom.  That means stocking libraries with things other than latest infomercial books, but rather stocking them with high quality, well regarded reference materials as well as decent recreational reading material.  But, more importantly, it means librarians who actually KNOW the books they have because they've read them.  It means a librarian who can talk about any topic and who is literally a walking library.

Sure, we are talking about stereotypes here, but some of the best librarians I've met were old ladies just as described.  I could ask them any question and they could point me to the right books and give intelligent recommendations.  It can even be a question that you might not think they'd know about, like, "Hmm, got any cool sci fi to read?"  Sure, they do and they can tell you all about it, and when you read it, yea it is cool.

I think Libraries are the last bastion of freedom.  If big media conglomerates have their way, soon Libraries will be illegal.  Yea, imagine being able to check out a book for FREE and read it?  How is that not stealing the "intellectual property?"  (barf, puke).

Why is it that you can read the books for free in the libraries, but you can't watch videos for free, but instead you have to rent your videos from video store for money?  I don't get it.  How is video tape is different from a book?  Both are protected by the same law: Copyright.

You can rent videos at libraries. (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by gordonjcp on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:59:51 AM EST

My local library used to lend them for free, but since the council cut the library budget to put up hanging baskets everywhere they've started charging 1 per week.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
and CD's too (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by anon868 on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:30:07 AM EST

although it's been a while since i've been to my library. I bet the RIAA would get awfuly mad if they knew about that...
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]
Oh, wouldn't they just? (n/t) (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by gordonjcp on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:46:03 AM EST


Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Libraries will be illegal (4.66 / 3) (#16)
by FredBloggs on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 05:19:48 AM EST

Obligatory relevant Tom the Dancing Bug link.

[ Parent ]
maybe because your library is cheapskate ?? (none / 0) (#96)
by parasite on Sun Sep 01, 2002 at 04:48:30 AM EST

maybe because your library is cheapskate ??

Even in the fucking redneck hills of West Virginia, Parkersburg
library has a couple HUNDRED VHS casettes for free check out,
as well as a smaller selection of VDs

[ Parent ]

Stereotype confirmed (4.00 / 2) (#11)
by Meatbomb on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:37:12 AM EST

My great aunt is a librarian.

She wears her hair in a bun.
She has big, thick glasses.
She drinks tea and listens to classical music.
She speaks quietly.
She wears dowdy, conservative clothes.

Maybe she is the archtype?

_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

archetype? [nt] (3.25 / 4) (#12)
by showboat on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:46:06 AM EST



[ Parent ]
thx, thought that looked wrong <nt> (none / 0) (#85)
by Meatbomb on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 05:53:11 PM EST



_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]
Buffy to the rescue! (4.00 / 3) (#15)
by GavinWheeler on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 04:42:33 AM EST

Long perceived as old women who wear their hair in buns, glasses, and a twin-set, this image has become stereotype thanks to the image of librarians in film, novels, and journalism.

Arguably the most popular portrayal of a librarian in pop culture recently is Rupert Giles, from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. While he panders to some of the stereotypes, especially early in the series, he was undeniably 'cool' in the later episodes, even if you didn't like his guitar playing.

The best way to revamp the image of librarians in the minds of teenagers is to get more characters such as Rupert Giles into programs such as BtVS.

Re: Buffy to the rescue! (none / 0) (#58)
by Nachtfalke on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:36:12 PM EST

I've heard rumors that Giles will get his own series, maybe that's all part of the plot...

[ Parent ]
Only slightly related ... (4.83 / 6) (#17)
by Simon Kinahan on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 05:51:08 AM EST

... but in England there is an organisation called the Campaign for Real Ale (abbreviated to CAMRA). Their goal is to promote "real" English beer. The brown, room-temperature stuff, brewed by lots of little, and some not so little, local breweries. They have a vague association with folk music and morris dancing.

As you may be able to imagine, CAMRA consists largely of portly middle aged men with beards. Some of them have pony-tails, but somehow that fails to overcome the desperate unhipness of the whole enterprise. Although the beer is very nice indeed, most people treat CAMRA-sponsored events with great caution, due to the high risk of having to speak to immensely dull middle-aged men with beards.

Recently it seems they've become aware of this, and embarked on a campaign to improve their image. Many of their publicity materials now feature Ally McBeal-esque young career women. Their mascot is now a mini-skirted rendition of the goddess Ninkas. Unfortunately CAMRA events still seem to be populated by overweight men with facial hair, so it is all a bit unconvincing.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate

Hypocrite (none / 0) (#66)
by medham on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 06:52:56 PM EST

How many stone you carrying these days?

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

I've considered being a librarian (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by Echo5ive on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 07:26:43 AM EST

I'n an unemployed bum, and one job type that I keep looking for is as a librarian. I love reading books.

And for the stereotype: I'm 22, male, and have assault red hair.

Sure, it's not all excitement, but it pays the bills. Unfortunately, all librarian jobs I've applied for want a "librarian university degree." C'mon, how hard can it be? Ads for jobs always exaggerate...



--
Frozen Skies: mental masturbation.

You would fit the bill... (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by bayankaran on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:05:21 AM EST

...of an anti-stereotype stereotype librarian.

[ Parent ]
the magic of titles (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by khallow on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:07:42 AM EST

I think this problem originates in the universities. Ie, nobody is respected there unless they have some sort of degree. Some places, people who are trying to get a degree get respect too.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Question (4.00 / 2) (#34)
by krek on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:10:48 AM EST

Since you were looking, maybe you know... How much do librarians get paid?

[ Parent ]
Librarians' salaries (4.50 / 2) (#45)
by louboy on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 12:58:59 PM EST

Talking to my neighbor, who's a librarian, she mentioned that starting salaries it the San Francisco public library begin in the low 50K range. You won't live the high life on this salary in the Bay Area, but you won't have to live in a studio in East Oakland... I assume other areas pay less, but still enough to land you solidly in the middle of the middle class.

[ Parent ]
Old-lady librarian stereotype (3.66 / 6) (#20)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:01:17 AM EST

First of all, that stereotype has a lot of basis in fact. I've never seen a twenties-something librarian (outside of college) and they are more generally 50 and up, always women. I've got a fairly large sample size having frequented, let's see, about 7 different libraries in 5 different states over the years.

Second, I think you've got the problem backwards (though maybe I'm not reading closely enough). You seem to be blaming library non-coolness on the presence of hair-in-buns, shushing librarians. I think this is backwards. Libraries attract uncool employees because libraries are uncool places. This is because reading is an uncool activity because being smart is an uncool state of mind.

I mean, let's imagine we hired some young hotties to run the library. Can you really imagine that people would start flocking to the shelves to borrow books? Keep in mind that the actual rules of the library (be quiet, no food or drink, no running, etc) would have to remain the same because these are simply how a place dedicated to reading and study have to be. The hottie librarians will still be busy doing their regular work so they won't be in the back row of periodicals making out with the patrons. I just don't see getting young librarians, in itself, solving anything.

Play 囲碁

clarification (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by krek on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:09:25 AM EST

I do not think the the problem is that librarians are not hot enough, the problem is that all of the stereotypical old-lady librarians are about to retire in a very stereotypical old-person way. They are looking for new blood, physical perfection not required.

[ Parent ]
alas - you are incorrect... (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by quodlibetic on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:18:59 PM EST

First of all, that stereotype has a lot of basis in fact. I've never seen a twenties-something librarian (outside of college) and they are more generally 50 and up, always women. I've got a fairly large sample size having frequented, let's see, about 7 different libraries in 5 different states over the years.

Obviously you're not looking in the right places, then. We do indeed exist.

(twentysomething librarian, no buns, not prim and proper, paid well, never shushes anyone. Hooray for breaking stereotypes!)

---------------------
"I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused..."
[ Parent ]

I hate you. (4.00 / 2) (#57)
by Kintanon on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:24:14 PM EST

If you are a librarian that never shushes anyone then I hate you. I want you to tell that woman with 3 screaming kids between the ages of 4 and 10 that they need to shut the hell up. I want you to tell that guy talking on his cellphone in the reference section to please take it out side. I want you to tell the group of 14yr olds on the computers playing games to stop screaming at each other. Because when I'm in a library I expect it to be a QUIET place so that I can read or study. And I expect it to be part of the librarian's job to make sure it remains quiet.
And no, I'm not old and crusty either. I'm 22, and yes, I do hate children.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Aha! (none / 0) (#64)
by quodlibetic on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 06:18:22 PM EST

Actually, you don't hate me: I don't work for a public library! I'm a librarian for a government-type bank, and my library's closed to the general public. The only people that walk through the doors are grownup employees of the bank. I'm not terribly fond of children either, which is why I went the private library route. :)

---------------------
"I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused..."
[ Parent ]
OK, I forgive you... (none / 0) (#76)
by Kintanon on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 08:06:43 AM EST

This time.>:)
From what I've heard from some of the librarians I know the library has turned into a free babysitting service and a lot of times the librarians aren't allowed to say anything to people any more.>:\ Just seems kind of wrong to let young kids go screaming through the library... So be glad you're in the government sector!

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Librarians lead the fight (3.40 / 5) (#22)
by imrdkl on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:11:01 AM EST

And they've been doing a pretty good job lately... even winning a few.

Librarians are geeks (4.77 / 9) (#26)
by jabber on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:46:07 AM EST

And so are the rest of us.

What was the image of computer geeks a few years back? Nerdy, socially inept, poor hygiene, obviously single... Well, all that's changed...

Actually, not really, we're still seen as nerdy, socially inept, with poor hygiene and obviously single, only now we drive Bimmers to work and ride around the office on Razor scooters and play with Nerf toys all day, or something like that.

Anyway, my point is, librarians are information geeks.

I took a Library Science course while in college (ok, all you closet jocks can stop snickering right now! It was very useful! And, and, oh what's the use...) and found a whole new respect for librarians in the process.

These people KNOW their stuff, and when they don't, they know who does. They have some really cool tech, and the information they have access too can put Google to shame.

Do they need a makeover? Well, do we really need to see a movie called The Stacks, where a nerdy librarian shows off how cool she really is by foiling an international publishers crime ring that wants to infiltrate every index and card catalog in the world by putting a little "pi" symbol in the corner of every page of every important book out there? Do we want to see Addison Wesley come out with ads showing librarians in their natural environment, in bright clothes, doing fun things, subtitled "Generation B"?

Librarians don't need a PR campaign. They don't need to "be cool". Kids simply need to be taught that reading is cool, and that people who know things, and who know where to find out things, are cool too.

Kids need to have their minds pryed open, and Harley riding bookworms are not going to do it.

After all, if there is a PR campaign to make librarians seem cool, everyone will want one. Can you imagine the Vatican trying to improve public relations between priests and their congregations by showing ads of athletic priests interacting with kids in healthy, supportive "Abercrombie and Fitch" ways, like on rope swings over backwater swimming holes, or helping their community as wrestling coaches? But, well, that's a different topic altogether.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Umm... (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by anon868 on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:24:31 AM EST

only now we drive Bimmers to work and ride around the office on Razor scooters and play with Nerf toys all day, or something like that.

Where do you work, and are they hiring?
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
[ Parent ]

Almost agree (3.50 / 2) (#61)
by devon on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 05:36:47 PM EST

... except with this part: Kids simply need to be taught that reading is cool, and that people who know things, and who know where to find out things, are cool too.

It would be better if kids were taught that being cool isn't really as important as they think and that being intelligent is much more important than they think. Perhaps a subtle distinction, but an important one none-the-less.



--
Call yourself a computer professional? Congratulations. You are responsible for the imminent collapse of civilization.
[ Parent ]
Cool means good. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by CokeFiend on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 06:02:44 PM EST

Cool means good, not necessarily popular. At least, it always has to me.

[ Parent ]
Cool and intelligent are not opposites (none / 0) (#86)
by mmaster on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 08:27:34 PM EST

All too often we confuse cool/popular as being the opposite of intelligent. That's why the stereotypical geek is anti-social, but very intelligent.

The strength of popularity is the ability to create a strong network in which to propogate ideas. Unfortunately, most ideas aren't even thought out by the propogators. So we are left with masses of people aspiring to coolness without a shred of well thought out ideas.

The coolest people I've ever met are both able to converse freely and openly with anyone (race, gender, IQ, etc) and bring that person, on occasion, to a point of reflective thought. They don't press that person into their viewpoint, but pose it as their conclusion thus far and a possiblity that they could be wrong. These people are aware that neither intelligence nor coolness are factors by which to judge and condemn people.

Mitesh

Mitesh Master

"Listen lady, I don't come down to where you work and slap the dick out of your mouth."
--Mr. Show, Season 1 Episode 2, Consultant Skit
[ Parent ]

they could catalog *you* (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by 5pectre on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:49:22 AM EST

http://www.librarianavengers.com/library.html

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

Ha! Ha! (3.50 / 4) (#28)
by krek on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:51:59 AM EST

old women who wear their hair in buns, glasses, and a twin-set, this image has become stereotype thanks to the image of librarians in film, novels, and journalism

shortly followed by

especially since a large percentage of librarians will retire in the next ten years

That is quite funny.

I am going to continue reading now.

I must be strange (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by Skippy on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:54:53 AM EST

Because I personally know 4 or 5 librarians all of whom could be part of this organizations "new, hip, trendy librarians" campaign. As a matter of fact, of the local libraries I frequent, I have seen a distinct LACK of the old, dowdy librarian ladies.

I also can't believe that no one has yet mentioned the "naughty librarian" stereotype. You know, the young, attractive, dowdily-dressed woman wearing half-glasses with her hair in a bun that turns into a crazy woman in the bedroom.

# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

Bedroom? (4.33 / 6) (#38)
by Spork on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:40:34 AM EST

Proper librarians get naughty in the bathroom. It's closer! Also good are those dark film screening rooms that some libraries have, or in the abandoned stacks of the "obsolete science books" section that every library seems to have.

Stereotypes like "librarians do it in bedrooms" is exactly the type of predjudice that's keeping the profession down.

[ Parent ]

Typo here... (5.00 / 6) (#52)
by dcheesi on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:32:30 PM EST

You typed "stereotype" instead of "male sex fantasy" ;-)

[ Parent ]
I am fairly confident in saying (1.00 / 7) (#30)
by krek on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 09:59:11 AM EST

that Freud has caused, and will continue to cause, the most damage to society of any single person in all of history. But, I suppose it is unfair to blame him, someone would have figured it out sooner or latter.

How so? (1.00 / 1) (#47)
by DLWormwood on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 01:41:17 PM EST

This comment strikes me as a non-sequitur, but maybe you know something I don't.

--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]
Marketing, Public Relations and Focus Groups (none / 0) (#77)
by krek on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 09:29:31 AM EST

It was not actually Freud, his son took his work and turned it into a method of using peoples insecurities to make them want to buy stuff.

[ Parent ]
Answer (4.66 / 3) (#31)
by krek on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:01:49 AM EST

How do you think we could recruit new blood without resorting to cheap image tactics?

Pay stupid amounts of money, it transformed computer geekdom into the towering image of success that it is today.

Welcome to marketing! (4.66 / 3) (#35)
by chemista on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 10:11:09 AM EST

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.

Ever notice those silly commercials on TV about the US military services? They try to give the image of being either individualists (Ha!) or that most people become extremely proficient in advanced technology, instead of showing people playing cards in a 115 degree desert waiting for their superiors to tell them what to do next. Some jobs aren't glamorous, even if they do require technical skill.

It [sic] 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.

It would look "cool" to me, and probably much of k5, but in the minds of most youth, that equals "geeky," which generally speaking (present company excepted :)) is an "uncool" thing. Moreover, what was listed appeals to the left-of-center and possibly the center (depending on where you live), but "protecting freedom of speech" and especially "oppo[sing] filtering" are anathema to much of the US Right. If you are looking to expand the number of people entering a field, you have to be gooey and generic, so no one is repulsed by it!
Stop reminding people about the overvalued stock market! I'm depending on that overvalued stock market to retire some day! - porkchop_d_clown
Who do you want as librarians? (none / 0) (#55)
by Shpongle Spore on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:14:08 PM EST

Personally I'm glad anti-free speech right wingers and people who think knowledge is dorky are underrepresented in our libraries, and I'd like to keep it that way.
__
I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor bar,
drinking 'Mad Dog' margaritas and not caring where you are
[ Parent ]
given... (none / 0) (#89)
by blisspix on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 10:04:12 PM EST

... ALA policy on Freedom to Read and other policies of librarianship, it does seem to me to be a profession that aligns more closely with the left-leaning. Even more so since most jobs are in the public sector.

There are left-leaning  groups but I don't know of any right-leaning ones. There are certainly right-leaning librarians, but they don't seem to be as big a force as the left.

It is a difficult time for librarianship as laws come into effect that restrict the freedoms of our users, particularly the Patriot Act. As a result, I think the ALA has become more left-leaning as we reassert our opposition to censorship. If people don't like that, then they don't really belong in librarianship.

[ Parent ]

What do librarians do? (4.00 / 3) (#41)
by reshippie on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 11:07:26 AM EST

Somewhat off topic, but aside from tell me where to find the books I'm looking for, the only other thing that I know a librarian does is choose the books to be in the library.

I know that you can actually go to school to be a librarian, I just can't imagine it taking 4-6 years to learn the Dewey Decimal System.

Maybe the reason that there are no young people desiring to be librarians is that many you people think that there is next to nothing to do as a librarian, and thus is exceedingly boring.

Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)

What Do Librarians Do? (4.50 / 6) (#43)
by virg on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 11:56:56 AM EST

> I know that you can actually go to school to be a librarian, I just can't imagine it taking 4-6 years to learn the Dewey Decimal System.

Actually, it takes 4-6 years to learn the Library of Congress system. 8) Really, though, most librarians study to be research librarians, which involves (as the name suggests) research skills. Don't think "finding the book you want", but instead "finding the information you want, wherever it may be (in books, on line, in periodicals, and so on)". Choosing books and cataloging is also part of the job, but this also includes such things as making sure there's a broad range of viewpoints on subjects, making sure that political agendas don't poison the mix, verifying (and possibly removing) data that turns out to be inaccurate, and other methods to make sure the collection and resource set is beneficial to as many people as possible, within budget constraints.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
I know what Finnish librarians did last summer (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by Atomic Eco on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 01:51:58 AM EST

I've worked in a library, and my friend's mom has worked for a long time as a librarian. Here are some things Finnish librarians do. Also a note: I believe Finland has one of the finest and most extensive public library systems in the world.

- Choose, acquire, process (repair, stamp etc.) and store publications (which include books, Magazines, CDs, videos, etc.)
- Maintain and develop information systems: databases, Internet access terminals, library home pages and electronic services
- Customer service: reservations, keeping publications in order (well it is very important!), looking for information/publications at request, answering mail and phone, removing drunks from the premises :D (does happen occasionally)
- Arrange displays, theme days (such as story days and evenings for kids), art exhibitions, poetry readings, concerts and plays (most Finnish libraries have some general purpose space that is used for these purposes)
- Work on research projects, personal or assigned
- Attend book fairs and some other assemblies that target librarians

These are just some of the more obvious things from the top of my head. So there.

Finland.. where polar bears roam the streets.
[ Parent ]
Your chance to enlighten K5... (4.00 / 2) (#44)
by pla on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 12:36:30 PM EST

Okay, so they didn't mention the important aspects of choosing "librarian" as a career, such as pay, what librarians actually do, and what they "stand for". Consider this your chance to enlighten at least a few thousand readers. Tell us about it.

I admit that *I* know relatively little about what a librarian does. 15 years ago, back in 7th grade, I spent my free periods as a library assistant, and it quite simply sucked. It stripped away all the pleasure I normally associate with books, stomped on it, and handed it back as an obsession with properly alphabetizing things that persists to this day (Yes, I agonize over whether "Tori Amos" goes under "A" or "T", since as an essentially one-person band, it should go under under last name. But she doesn't have "Tori" as her real first name, so does the name "Tori Amos" count as a band name that should go under "T"?).

But I digress.

So, tell us all about the *reality* of working as a librarian in the modern world.


Tori Amos (2.00 / 1) (#46)
by Shren on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 01:21:13 PM EST

Got to go with A.

[ Parent ]
alphabetizing (1.00 / 1) (#56)
by eudas on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 03:17:12 PM EST

what i hate is trying to figure out if i should put "the dave matthews band" together with "dave matthews band"... :)

I always hated "something, the". sure if you file it under "the something" you wind up with most shit in the "T" section, but what the fuck? it does start with "the". same thing with "Amos, tori"... quit confusing people and just let the title be the damned title. bleh.

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Order your CDs by spine color (none / 0) (#73)
by dcturner on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 02:47:16 AM EST

Much prettier.

Remove the opinion on spam to reply.


[ Parent ]
Yes! (none / 0) (#91)
by Josh A on Sat Aug 31, 2002 at 01:53:50 AM EST

This is a fantastic, visually striking method that boggles your friends and makes use of a different kind of association in your memory. Who wants to bother with the alphabet? (Imagine me saying "alphabet" like one might say "manure". This is not a troll; the alphabet is damnable.)

Plus, it's easy to keep sections apart and hard for CDs to get "out of order", and it's much easier to deal with when a section outgrows a shelf. Plus it requires less discipline to use, because it's much easier to, say, put a  CD "back in the red section", rather than "After Ec- but before El-", etc.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
marilyn manson (none / 0) (#74)
by bigsexyjoe on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 03:40:02 AM EST

Tori Amos does go under 'A' because she is not a one woman band. One woman bands usually drum with there feet and have harmonica near there mouth that they can play without holding it with her hands. She is an individual artist. Tori Amos is her name, even if it is a stage name. Alphabetize by last name. Amos is her real last name anyway.

Jethro Tull is somewhat tricky because that is the name of the band. It is named in honor of the inventor of the plow who lived like a thousand years ago. The correct answer is to put it under 'J' since it is the name of the band.

Someone mentioned The Dave Matthews Band. It goes under D. We do not alphabetize by the word "the." It doesn't go under 'M' because it is a band name not a person name.

Marilyn Manson is the tricky case. It is unclear whether it is the name of the band or if the stage name of the individual whom has a back-up band. One might think that it is relevant that Marilyn Manson is a stage name, and that it should possibly be alphabetized under Josh Saviano, Marilyn Manson's real name but this is not the case. No, after careful analysis it would seem that it should be put under 'M,' but I'm not sure I'd love to get feedback.

Other interesting problems would be how to alphabetize a Chinese artist because the first name is the family name in China. However, the Chinese write backwards so in a sense it the first name which is really the last name is really the first name.

An even more difficult problem would be what to do if an artist's last name was "The." And what if that artist was Chinese...

[ Parent ]

Jethro Tull (none / 0) (#75)
by o reor on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 07:53:01 AM EST

Actually, Jethro Tull (1674-1741) died less than 3 centuries ago. Oh, well... (more details here)

[ Parent ]
Oh, sorry that was an honest mistake. (none / 0) (#82)
by bigsexyjoe on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 01:06:01 PM EST

I really thought he died like a thousand years ago. That other guy fell for an obvious troll.

[ Parent ]
Liar :) (none / 0) (#92)
by Josh A on Sat Aug 31, 2002 at 01:57:01 AM EST

You're using this mistake to make it appear like you really meant the first mistake as a troll, but you are transparent. We see plans within plans. We see that not knowing when Jethro Tull died is much less embarrassing...

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
pedantic note (none / 0) (#80)
by FourDegreez on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 11:56:23 AM EST

Marilyn Manson's real name is actually Brian Warner. He was not Paul from The Wonder Years.

[ Parent ]
HA! HA! I trolled you! (none / 0) (#81)
by bigsexyjoe on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 01:04:12 PM EST



[ Parent ]
My pet peeve (none / 0) (#79)
by p3d0 on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 10:21:08 AM EST

<RANT>

I wish record stores (and everyone else, actually) would spell things on labels the same way they are alphabetized. Visually, when I glance at this:

Bachman-Turner Overdrive
The Beatles
David Bowie
Burton Cummings

...it takes some figuring to see that I'm in the B's section, and even more to determine where the Bs end and the Cs begin. Much better for scanning this way:

Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Beatles, The
Bowie, David
Cummings, Burton

If people really hate this, perhaps they could have wider labels, with the former on the left and the latter on the right. That should satisfy everyone.

</RANT>

I have nothing more relevant to say at this time.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]

see this comment - (none / 0) (#88)
by blisspix on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 09:56:42 PM EST

see this comment

[ Parent ]
Sorry, man (4.83 / 6) (#48)
by trhurler on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 01:50:19 PM EST

My mom works in a public library, and the problems of library recruiting are simple and twofold.

First, it is not a job people aspire to - it is a job they do because it is available, but it requires certain qualifications, so the pool of qualified applicants is tiny.

Second, it doesn't pay worth a damn, so most applicants decide they can do better elsewhere.

Granted, corporate librarian jobs are often better, but they're also not what you're talking about. Clothes, personality, and so on have very little to do with the root problem, though, which is that being a librarian is a low paid, nearly thankless job where you have to deal with the public, have certain specialized skills, and know for a fact that short of a career change, things aren't going to get better with time or experience or anything else. Pay raises are tiny, and your coworkers are probably just as bitter and petty as the job has driven you to be(certainly all the ones my mom works with are, although she herself would deny it, and while she's a decent enough person normally(I love her) she can be downright catty about stuff at work.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

I think I speak for everyone when I say... (2.00 / 4) (#49)
by STFUYHBT on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 01:53:53 PM EST

Shhhhhh! You are disturbing everyone else's concentration.

-
"Of all the myriad forms of life here, the 'troll-diagnostic' is surely the lowest, yes?" -medham
Meta? (3.00 / 3) (#50)
by eudas on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:01:46 PM EST

this whole "anti-stereotype stereotype" sounds suspiciously like the whole "rating a comment to change the average vs rating a comment what you think it deserves" issue.

Because that's what they're trying to do -- people have an ultra-conservative view of what librarians are, and therefore they (the ALA) are trying to promote an ultra-rebel view of what librarians are in order to force the average view to, well, average, and therefore meet somewhere in the middle.

..shrug..

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat

The ALA got it wrong (4.00 / 3) (#53)
by mami on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:38:35 PM EST

1. What would I have against old ladies? I am all for old ladies working in libraries, it's a decent job for someone who is physically over his peak, but mentally young and seasoned at once.

Don't make me compete with someone young and hip, you heartless ALA-marketing gurus.

2. Second, where do you see all the old ladies in libraries? I can't. Actually some ladies I have seen as librarians and archivists etc. are outright "ripe, juicy and well rounded". A real treat to chat with... :-)

3. If they want someone hip and young, so be it, but make sure they know what they are doing and know where to find what the reader/researcher is looking for. It's a pain to look for something and not being able to find it. I enjoy librarian's help anytime and very much.

The "Average" Librarian (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by phliar on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:47:03 PM EST

Reading all that, I was thinking "Anyone who's been inside a library will know that the decrepit prudish woman saying shush! stereotype is totally bogus." I do haunt libraries, and of the people I find there the impression I have is "people like us" (PLU) -- in their twenties and thirties, well educated, care about books and freedom of information, political activists, as likely to wear green hair and Doc Maartens as chinos and oxfords.

But then again, my exposure to libraries has been in college towns in the western US and San Francisco. Maybe things are different in "Generic Mid-size Town USA."


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...

young people (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by turmeric on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 06:05:52 PM EST

if library managers had respect for young people then they would probably join up. but yougn people can instinctively smell a repressive bureaucracy where the lower ranks are considered idiots without useful input, and they flee from it. you cant attract people to something that is not attractive by dressing it up in PR bullshit. youh ave to fundamentally change the way libraries work. that or pay people a shitload of money (not gonna happen).

all that free speech stuff is nice but the truth is the people who decide what goes on library shelves are not 'the people', they are the cataloging and acquisitions folks or some rich bozo who donates a couple million dollars to the school. they arent exactly 'friendly' to peopel who have suggestions about what they need to have on the shelves, nor what they need to take off.



Not all are in favor of this... (none / 0) (#65)
by wumpus on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 06:28:24 PM EST

In NYC (Queens actually), there are librarians protesting their new dress code, Nose rings, tattoos, mini skirts and sandals are forbidden, while hair buns are still allowed. The BBC website had this story on August 3,2002. It seems to only be in google's cache now. Wumpus

Let me call my buddy Chris (none / 0) (#67)
by Tatarigami on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 07:53:34 PM EST

He's a hard-drinkin', tattooed, pierced transvestite librarian with a philosophy degree and a bolt through his face.

...on the other hand, maybe I can help best by staying out of it...

In this day and age, I think they might have a better response by selling an impression of librarians as information professionals -- not in the sense of IT staff, but in having the skills and experience at tracking down information. Present librarians as bright young things in smart but attractive business wear carry laptops and PDAs and I think they'd manage to generate the right kind of interest.

hmm. (3.00 / 1) (#68)
by grandpa jive on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 08:02:58 PM EST

Where's Conan the Librarian when you need him?

Dont you know the Dewey Decimal System? *shtuck*

He's Conan the Octogenarian now. [NT] (none / 0) (#78)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 09:48:42 AM EST


--
So many freaks, so few circuses.


[ Parent ]

Viewing librarians from outside the profession (none / 0) (#84)
by Scrymarch on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 03:35:08 PM EST

And Sarah still looked like the sexiest librarian on earth, which as those of you who frequent libraries will know means very sexy indeed, but with that extra owlish touch that drives you wild.

    -- Kim Stanley Robinson, "Escape From Kathmandu"

Cool article.  

Outer Limits (none / 0) (#90)
by ph317 on Sat Aug 31, 2002 at 01:15:13 AM EST


Remember that Outer Limits (I think?) episode where the Librarian was on trial (in a ficticious and horrible future) for being obsolete, and was sentenced to death?

it wasn't the outer limits (none / 0) (#94)
by Shmoe on Sat Aug 31, 2002 at 01:46:31 PM EST

it was a twilight zone episode :)

[ Parent ]
The Other side of stereotype (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by livus on Mon Sep 02, 2002 at 07:32:55 AM EST

That's kind of funny because there is another stereotype which some librarians also object to, but which some of the things you note are probably playing right into - the "hot, horny" librarian of pornography.

Someone took this so seriously that he conducted a study of pornographic fiction novels.
http://www.riverofdata.com/librariana/porn/

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

The Anti-Stereotype Stereotype | 97 comments (92 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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