Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Librarians: impressions and behind closed doors

I think anyone involved in the profession today is quite tired of the old stereotype: the bun, the ugly shoes, the oatmeal colored cardigan. But then again, how many librarians actually look like that (oh, I know a few and quite worse) and what are we doing about it?
Last year I couldn’t help but get annoyed every time some media person labeled Sarah Palin physically as having the “sexy librarian” look, especially since she was someone that I thought epitomized all things not librarian (like somewhat educated
or against censorship). But maybe I was more irritated that the description was referring to the uptight librarian stereotype of someone who is thought to be mild, bookish, and sexy only because they appear so completely the opposite (repressed). And how unfair is it that someone not even part of our profession was incorrectly identified as not only being one of us, but also being the “sexy” one?
What made me start thinking about this was this article about the ALA conference last week (yes, I know it has been mentioned a lot, but sometimes I’m a little late on these things (and no, I was not there!)). I found myself both shocked and amused – a Twitter account to post wanted sexual encounters during a professional conference was created by a bunch of librarians?!? I’ll admit, I was guilty at first of imagining a stomach-churning clumsy orgy of hobbit looking people: a mass of pasty cankles, coke-bottle glasses, and unfortunate facial hair on both genders. However, at the same time I am “inspired by the perceived lack of cultural acceptance for a librarian’s sex life” and agree with the poster who commented, “I am an adult. I am a librarian. I enjoy good sex…What’s the problem?”

And to add one more question to this already loaded post, is all this coming to light more sexually liberating for librarians or TMI?


  1. Love the cartoon.

    The real stereotype should be of librarians covered in book dust.

  2. I'm going to have to go with TMI. I know that everybody has sex (OK, maybe not lawyers who just engage in a violent mating thing followed by litigation) but I prefer not to think about it too much. Especially the library folk in my library. Oh my God, Shushie, you just put the image of Betsy in Technical Services doing it in my head. I hate you!

  3. Oh, no - my apologies! I will admit, nothing is less pleasant than imagining Herman ("the Hermit") of Access Services wearing his orthopedic shoes and gettin' it on.