Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's okay to be quirky, self-obsessed and a loser, just as long as you're wearing great vintage clothing

I was sent this article on Counterpunch by a friend for shiz and giggles and as I was reading it in all it's snarky glory, I found myself both laughing and furrowing my eyebrows. Have I danced dangerously close to the edge of becoming a dreaded stereotype -- HIPSTER LIBRARIAN?!

"I liked _____ way before they were popular." Hipster, please!
(images from

Ok, I can at least swear that I'm not as bad as the above, but still "Bettie Page bangs and winsome skirts with felted bird appliqu├ęs" -- uh, yeah, that's me. The really tragic part is that I've been used to looking different from the general population for so long that I'm kinda shocked and disappointed that I've become a stereotype. And not just irritated that I've become a stereotype, but that I actually am a degree holdin' librarian, AND all those fake hipster librarians are doing it cooler than me. Where was this population when I was growing up? Why was I labeled weird for wearing handmade skirts with Salvation Army t-shirts and when exactly did big plastic framed glasses become hot?! I guess I should feel happy that at least today's nerdy teen girl can rock specs that could rival Larry King's and be worshiped for her sick gaming skills, but I'm also a wee bit jealous that this trend is 15 years too late to repair my own miserable teen experience.

While I would never label myself as a hipster librarian (especially since I find hipsters with their too tight jeans and complicated shoes annoying), I can certainly see some of my coworkers and probably some of the public I serve giving me that description and I don't know how I feel about that. I mean, I don't really care what most people think of me, and as long as I'm providing good information services it doesn't matter. However, I'd not like for a potential employer to judge me by my looks and think that I may not be "serious" about my career. Likewise, I would like patrons to respect me as a librarian and not some mall girl, just because I don't want to wear my hair in a bun and don a cat hair sweater -- you know, the other librarian stereotype. Because if we don't have facial piercings and wear vintage slips as dresses then we're the equivalent of a sexually repressed Cathy strip comic.

What bothers me the most is the fake hipster librarians wanting to be librarians...simply because they look like hipster librarians? Really, I cannot think of a worse way to choose a career and the stupid thing is so many of them think we just get to read all day. The Counterpunch article has some tips on how hipsters can fake a lifetime of getting food stuck in your braces and a worthless liberal arts degree in order to avoid becoming a real librarian. My advice is that your denim mini skirt and flowing scarf tend to get in the way when you've got to clean up some barf in the children's department.


  1. I know a handful of people at my library who dress like the above. Suddenly, I'm glad to dress as dully as possible.

  2. Shushie, I have a question for you. If there were going to be a book published in the future about happenings in the library (i.e. blog to book), would you be interested? Say, a book with multiple contributors about funny/strange/scary things that happen in libraries. It would include blog posts such as the ones you and I have written.

    This lies in the distant future, don't get too excited... yet.