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Day 7 of Blog every day in June 2012

This is what a Librarian looks like 

Not so long ago, ”breaking stereotypes” was a major trend in library conferences.  The misconception that female librarians wore glasses, their hair in a bun and the twinset and pearls was prevalent.  I’m guilty of 2/4 of those.

One night many years ago I was out to dinner with a friend and her workmates.  As usually happens when faced with people you’ve never met before conversation turns to “what do you do for a living?”  Rather than say straight out, I named some of the tasks librarians do – customer service, data entry, records management, website work etc, mentioned I worked in local government and asked them to guess. 

Conversation strayed but eventually came back to that question again.  So I again asked them to guess. Teacher? Typist? PA? No (although that was my first profession). No. And no.
When I told them I was a librarian the table went quiet.  Eventually, someone said “I didn’t want to say that ‘cos I thought it might offend you”. What part of my job would I be offended at?
I like the fact that the perception of library staff has changed over the last few years.  What I love even more is that fact that many of us are proud about what we do.  Librarianship as a career is as varied as the people who work in the industry.

To see the faces of our industry today – internationally – take a look at This is what a librarian looks like  Each image has a story behind it, and shows how diverse out industry workers are.


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