Challenging Librarian Stereotypes

Two blog posts I have come across today linked to some great information about librarians, and will give you food for thought about what it means to deliver information to those who need it.

First, Mary McGregor‘s Brooklyn Biblio blog has a post entitled Extreme librarianship : Biblioburro! (20.07.2011), which links to information about a documentary shown on the American Public Broadcasting Service called Biblioburro : The Donkey Library (NB: the documentary isn’t available in Australia due to restricted rights [currently that is] but the trailer can be seen on Youtube from Simon and Schuster under the title Biblioburro).  The documentary aired on 19.07.2011 in the USA on PBS, and hopefully it will get an airing  in Australia.  For some other online information about this film, see this saved search, the Biblioburro Facebook page, and the works listed at Trove.

Secondly, Jessica Danielle writes, in an article entitled Libriotypes : putting the SUPER in superficial (03.08.2011), about challenging stereotypes by showing that many librarians just don’t fit the usual expectations society has of them.  Jessica says

if they took a few more minutes to know me, perhaps they could shake some of those ridiculous concepts out of their heads and appreciate that I am a person who likes to help people find information, gain knowledge, learn technology, and understand how to sift through the rubble to find reliable material. 

There is a link to the Warrior Librarian Weekly’s article, Rejecting the stereotypical librarian image, with a list of websites about librarians (the list is from 2008, and a few of the links are now dead).  Jessica Danielle’s blog is Librarians + Stereotypes :: A blog about the two.

UPDATED 20.08.2011

I have managed to find an Australian story about the Biblioburro.  SBS’ Dateline current affairs program made a story about Columbia’s Luis Soriano titled ‘Four-legged library’ – I decided to put it up in another post because it was worth a look.  Go to it here…

3 Comments to “Challenging Librarian Stereotypes”

  1. Hello! Thanks for linking to my blog! I’m glad you enjoyed my post and I hope you do get to see the full film. The trailer only scratches the surface about how moving this story truly is.

  2. I’d like to also add my thanks for the recognition of my blog (and myself) in this post…many more to come, stay tuned!

  3. Mary and Jessica, thanks for your comments.

    Not many of the librarians or library support staff I’ve met have ever fitted with the ‘stereotype.’ Actually, discussion of stereotypes made me think that allot of professions suffer from stereotypical views (think police for instance), but that the reality is often different from the stereotype. The problem is when the stereotype is negative and allows people to dismiss others in some way. With librarians, the ‘bun in the hair’ image of librarians is still prevalent out there, but I don’t think that is the biggest problem for librarians. A bigger problem for librarians is the stereotype that says that librarians “only sort of manage books, and computers and the internet have made librarians obsolete.” That view is really damaging. IT is the resource which really needs someone to help manage and negotiate, and librarians are well placed to be those ‘information guides.’

    If there is one thing which I could say seems to apply to almost all the librarians it is that they want to make information available to others, because they can see how important it is, and how it can change people’s lives for the better. That might be a stereotype to promote!

    A few other links to add to this:
    A saved search of for “librarian stereotype”

    The Wikipedia page ‘Librarians in popular culture’

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