I’m all for busting stereotypes, but does anyone really believe in the stodgy old spinster librarian trope anymore? The young, tattooed, vintage-classes wearing, pink-hair-having, runs-a-book-club-at-a-dive-bar “hip” librarian has become a trope itself and I just want to…
Just a public service announcement but that’s why sites like Librarian Wardrobe exist. If you are seeing images of librarians that don’t look like you guess what? Submit something. Be the change you wish to see. The submission guidelines don’t say must have tattoos or pink hair, you have to be a librarian, or a library student, or possibly even just generally involved in libraries somehow.
I can’t guarantee that will stop other media from publishing articles featuring young white people who dress a certain way but at least there will be a place where we as a profession can say “this is what we look like, here.” But it won’t stop if you don’t DO anything about it.
Ok, the point is that the focus on looks is not as important as the focus on the COOL STUFF THAT WE DO.
Also, I’m a fucking white as shit nerd woman, what the hell diversity in libraries do I even represent? PUT A BUN ON ME AND HAND ME MY READING GLASSES.
Besides the meanness of the “you missed the point” picture (which is a pretty stereotypical portrayal in media, the “mean librarian”) I don’t see anywhere that anyone is saying “what we look like is more important than what we do” or even close to that.
Changing discourse means showing different representations in media. For the public, especially those who haven’t stepped foot in a library in a long time, they are informed by what they see and read in media. A simple google image search still shows that the stereotype of the mean, older, lady librarian persists. I’m not arguing that the tattooed librarian is the answer either though. To me, the answer is having multiple representations of what a librarian can look like. That’s what is so great about Librarian Wardrobe. There’s really a range of people who work in our field, why not show it?
As for educating people on what we do, that’s something we can all do in our jobs. Efforts to change public perception is not a one size fit all answer. Everyone can do their part to create that change.
For a good read on representation of libraries and librarians in popular culture check out: Radford, G., & Radford, M. (2001). Libraries, librarians, and the discourse of fear. Library Quarterly, 71(3), 299-329.