Thursday, 10 May 2012
Me and librarian stereotypes
Can't decide if to laugh or be cross at lazy librarian stereotypes - so thought I'd have a little ramble on the subject.
Let's start with clothes. I have rarely met a librarian in real life wearing a twin set; although I am very partial to cardigans - the library where I work being either tropical or frigid so clothes that can easily (and decently) be removed are de rigueur. The librarians of my acquaintance do not dress as one - just as well as several are men. Although strangely, in recent years, when shopping I have been attracted to items of apparel for their very 'librarianishness' - my favourite black Gap pinafore being such an example - must try to control this instinct.
Now what about going 'shush' ? Actually caught myself doing this yesterday in an ironic sort of way - suspect the students just thought I was doing it in a tight-arsed-librarian sort of way. It just seemed inappropriate to bellow 'Be quiet, this area is for silent work!' hence the need for 'shushing'. Tool of the trade - nothing more, nothing less -generally doesn't give us a big thrill to do it.
I suppose in past years,when generally only unmarried women worked and the single state was thought something to be pitied, we were an easy target - a profession mainly of women, the vestal virgins of books. But I bet you even those horn-rimmed spectacle-wearing, twin set toting, pursed lips 'shushing' library gals of yesteryear won't quite as buttoned-up as people like to imagine - just think of all those books they had available to them - Valley of the Dolls, Peyton Place, endless romantic novels - life lessons between the covers.
BUT ... the rest of the time the librarians of my acquaintance like rock music, play various musical instruments including concertinas, run, cycle, have relationships with living creatures other than cats, like fashion, don't always wear specs, laugh loudly in the library and have to be told to pipe down, adore Michael Fassbender/Ryan Gosling/Ryan Reynolds (theme going on here -could that just be anyone called Ryan?), like cake (see http://librarycakes.tumblr.com/ curated by a colleague - excellent - if slightly sick-making), get drunk and disgrace themselves (n.b. I'm not actually referring to myself- although a short while ago I found I was unable to walk in a straight line after two white wine spritzers - complete lightweight).
Have decided to stop saying rude things about accountants.