July 9, 2007

The Librarians Speak Up

Bet the authors of the NYTimes and NYSun articles previously mentioned didn't anticipate the reactions...and I have to admit, neither did I! (Maybe I need more coffee.) It's been quite interesting (and illuminating) reading what other librarians are saying about these articles:

* Caveat Lector says, "Talk about what we do", not how we spend our recreational time;
* Free Range Librarian says, "To be cool is to be young and male?" (The "guybrarian" thing is really not good; based on the comments, messages and IMs I've gotten, every guy I know who's a librarian is offended by it. Not to mention all the women who've said same);
* The Cool Librarian points out that the coolest librarians she knew were the older, more technically challenged librarians she first worked with, and they're why she went on to her MLS;
* Hedgehog Librarian points out the inadequacies of the salaries quoted in the articles (amongst other things);
* Information Wants to be Free is relieved she didn't end up quoted in the article after all (be sure to read the comments, too!);
* Pop Goes the Library wants to throw these articles across the room.


As the self-styled Maven of All Things Librarian Image (*laugh*snort*), I just want to add two more cents to my earlier postings. (1) Both articles were in the, shall we say, "fluffier" sections of the respective papers, and I didn't expect anything serious at that point; (2) Sometimes just getting us out there in front of the public in a way that isn't behind the desk is good; (3) epithets are bad; and (4) I don't expect these articles will do much to affect the overarching image we have to Joe Q. Public. On the other hand... small steps, people, small steps, and the more of them the better - maybe J.Q.P will surprise us!


Abigail said...

Thanks for the link!! Isn't it crazy to see everyone's reactions? So many strong opinions on these fluffy articles. I think the general concern I'm hearing is a lack of respect in the articles. I don't remember seeing articles (I may have missed them) on doctors or lawyers being "young and trendy"--but maybe they don't have to redefine their professions to the public?

Sarah said...

As one of the people quoted (and pictured) in both articles, I want to thank you for your thoughtful post. I can't say it enough, but once more for the cheap seats - it was in the STYLE section!

However, I would like to point out that (thanks to editors, not reporters) neither the Sun nor the Times mentioned that the dance party we threw was also a benefit for Books Through Bars (http://www.abcnorio.org/affiliated/btb.html),and we donated about 150 books that will be sent to prisoners around the country.

The Desk Set events are meant to be social - just for fun - but we are librarians, so most of them tend to have a thoughtful element as well.

As to the "lack of respect" that hedgehog librarian mentioned, I can only offer this: both journalists wrote the pieces because they think that librarianship is a terrific field - whether peopled by the "hip" or not. They wanted to give us a shout-out. I rather think that's nice.