Librarian Stereotypes

So everyone knows the “Marian the Librarian” stereotypes. The big glasses, the bun, the pencil skirt, and the finger always ready to shush you.  (If you haven’t seen the Music Man, watch this!) Hopefully, those stereotypes are on the out. In fact there is a great Tumblr called This is What a Librarian Looks Like that shows that librarians are anything but that.

One stereotype that seems to persist though at Simmons is that librarians love cats. It has a basis in fact I guess since everyone around me seems obsessed. There are multiple GSLIS professors who use Lol Cats in their powerpoint presentations, my friends spend dinner oohing and aahing over cute animal pictures and even the “Be a Sweetie, Wipe the Seatie” sign in my hall’s bathroom is a kitten…I don’t know, perhaps I have no heart but that is one professional stereotype I do not represent. Cute children? Yes. Puppies? A lot of the time. Cats? Uh, no.

Sorry cats.

However, I have noticed something interesting about all the librarian friends I’ve been making during my Simmons education. There are an awful lot of sci-fi/fantasy fans. Perhaps it simply goes with the nerd territory but I don’t think I have ever seen so many Doctor Who fans outside of ComicCon (or Emerson, which has its own Doctor Who Fan Club). Perfectly ok with me! The grad school dorm is fondly nicknamed “North Castle” and the accompanying welcome handout urged students to think of it as the castle they like best “whether Hogwarts, Devil’s Run or Minas Tirith.”

It’s hard battling stereotypes in every realm and right now librarians are fighting the stereotype that libraries are antiquated when in fact librarians are some of the most tech-savvy people out there. (Or at least that is my experience as the librarian student next to me writes programming code that makes my jaw drop). Simmons College is focused on teaching these skills and it’s a very good thing. (Even though I hate my CSS assignment for this week). The stereotype of being cat-lovers or even Doctor Who fans won’t hurt the profession in the long run but if people consistently think we are out-dated, whether it is true or not, it will harm our chances to be useful to society at large. Simmons is fighting that and I’m glad to be a part of it!

 

Libraries | People | Students | Technology


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