You don’t look like a librarian…

October 24, 2012

Belle da Costa Greene, the first-ever director of the Morgan Library (and total badass, not to mention my library idol) famously said “Just because I’m a librarian doesn’t mean I have to dress like one.”

Truer words were never spoken, Belle.

And in this age when tattoos and piercings are becoming more socially acceptable, society will soon need to reevaluate just what they think a librarian looks like.

Rewinding a few months back to orientation, I approached the 6th floor of our Manhattan building — the floor dedicated to library science classes — with excitement and some trepidation. How would I find my future classmates? I need not have worried.

It’s possible that being in New York has somewhat skewed this data, but a large cross-section of my program is tattooed and/or pierced. We have discarded the prim and proper visage of the librarians of yesteryear in favor of self-expression. I believe some of this has to do with society’s growing acceptance of tattoos and piercings, but I’m curious about how those within the profession view the change in appearance.

Libraries are funny when it comes to change. By virtue of our purpose we must be some of the first to adopt it, but historically the underlying structure is incredibly resistant to change. Would older librarians, those that fit the stereotype, be scandalized by my and my classmates’ appearances? Or could this be a good thing– a way to further connect to those whom we serve?

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One Response to “You don’t look like a librarian…”

  1. Kenya said

    I really like your blog! Is there anyway I can contact you about possible review titles. Please email me kenya(dot)walker@us(dot)penguingroup(dot)com

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