You don’t look like a librarian [book]

15 02 2009

youdontlooklikealibrarianI just read an interesting book suggestion at the Dutch Blog “MOQUB’s Bibliotheek der Dingen” (2009/02/15): “Jij lijkt helemaal niet op iemand die in een bibliotheek werkt” or You don’t look like a librarian“.

The title of the blog post just dragged me in. As many librarians I don’ t think I look like a librarian, and I don’t think I behave like one (except for the occasional “shhht”). In fact I know little nothing of cataloguing, interlibrary loans and other typical librarian things (I started my career as researcher).

You don’t look like a librarian” appeared to refer to a book with that title and the subtitle. “Shattering Stereotypes and Creating Positive New Images in the Internet Age”, written by Ruth Kneale

The following questions are addressed: “How pervasive are such stereotypes in the digital era, how are they changing, and how do they affect our daily work, our careers, and the future success of the profession? What can we do to defeat tired old perceptions and create positive new images? In addition to presenting the results of a 1,000+-respondent survey and interviews with opinionated librarians across the spectrum, Kneale draws on published literature and lively discussions from her website” ( According to the publisher, the result is a unique, entertaining, and eye-opening look at librarian stereotypes and their real-world consequences in the Internet Age. As off March 30 (2009) you can order it at It costs less than $30

ISBN 978-1-57387-366-6



5 responses

16 02 2009
Jenny Reiswig

Based on going to a lot of ALA meetings over the last 5 years, there really aren’t many librarians that look like the old stereotype. However, there is definitely a librarian “type” and it’s easy to spot us and differentiate us from the vendors. Taken by the hundred, basically we look like nice people – curious, friendly, social, and not overly concerned with being up on the last five-minute fashion trend. And I’m OK fitting into that.

16 02 2009

🙂 Think you’re right! My impression as well.

16 02 2009

Almost every time I step into a Border’s or a Barnes & Noble Bookstore to look around, someone comes up to me and says “Do you work here?”. And I smile, and say gently, “No, but I’m a librarian”. Maybe we just look approachable and ‘bookish’?

18 02 2009

hi, all –

Laika, thanks for the mention! I just wanted to agree with all of you – there aren’t a lot of the “stereotypical” librarians out there anymore, and yet that image keeps persisting, and does have an impact on our day-to-day job. I keep getting emails about it – just today I got an email from a librarian in Thailand bemoaning the fact that her boss keeps telling her she doesn’t look like a librarian is supposed to look like! When the emails stop, I’ll have a big ‘ol victory party, and then retire my web site 🙂


22 02 2009
Bibliotheekontwikkelingen in februari 2009 « Dee’tjes: over internet, zoeken en bibliotheken

[…] Positieve geluiden over het werken in een bien: diverse blogs (Moqub,laika en laika bv) hebben al aandacht besteed aan het feit dat bibliotheekpersoneel er nog niet als […]

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