Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Librarians - fashionistas or not?

Last week a large group of librarians gathered in Rotorua for a national conference. Apparently a scheduled appearance by Paula Ryan drew an angry response from the librarians.

Why? Librarians said her appearance supports the dated librarian stereotype.

Click here to read the full story (don't' forget to read the comments!) and view the video clip on TV3 News then come back and tell me what you think.

Are the librarians at your library fashionistas - such as this librarian blogger ;are they library reading divas ; are they appropriately dressed for a professional position that many times requires a masters degree; do they need a a makeover; or is this much todo about nothing?

Now I don't wish to offend any librarians by bringing this up because I HEART LIBRARIES! I'm just curious what you think.

I fondly recall as a child eagerly awaiting the weekly stop by the Bookmobile. Stepping aboard that truck with the rows and rows of books was sheer bliss. I would check out as many books as my little arms could handle and race home to begin my travels to another world.

My love for libraries has never waned and now libraries offer so much more than book! And most librarians I know? Well, they ROCK!

Those professionals are the ones to turn to when you need more information than a Google search can provide or when you don't know what audio book to check out for your non-reading husband so he can listen to a book while on a long road trip. And let me tell you, when you play Trivial Pursuit you want a librarian on your team!

However when it comes to professional attire I have to admit there have been times when I have been in a library (not my own local library of course) where I haven't been able to distinguish between a librarian, a shelver, and a patron. But I would guess the same could be true of any office in any industry filled with professional and non-professional level staff.

I understand that there are times that comfort and practicality takes precedence over fashion, such as when a children’s librarian is on the floor reading stories to a group of toddlers or leading a hands-on craft project for preschoolers.

Personally, if I had a chance to attend a free workshop by a renowned stylist I wouldn't care if it was needed it or not - I'd be thrilled to soak up any words of wisdom tossed my way.

So what to do you think? Would you react the same way the librarians did if a stylist was scheduled to give a free workshop on how to improve your image at a conference for your industry?

Oh, since we're on the subject of libraries and librarians, are any of you going to see the documentary The Hollywood Librarian?

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  1. Well Sharon I can't get the video to load--I waited because I think the short one in front is angry and I think angry librarians are pretty adorable!

    I'm split down the middle--but not really, I guess. I think librarians must be able to move around, reach, bend, sit on the floor as you mentioned. Yet at the same time, I want to know my librarian is professional. I really do. What's the answer? You're the fashion expert--something easy to wear but something professional.

    *PS, yes, Sharon, you loveable seamstress, you. Go over and tell GiGi when my b-day is. No no no, I'm not having a 40th blog bash. But if I were to, what would you sew me? Just wonderin. xoxoxo

  2. I happen to be a masters degree toting librarian. When I worked with the public, I did a lot of sweater sets and nice slacks/skirts (with some funky jewelry to jazz it up). What I didn't make myself was usually Ann Taylor Loft-ish.

    And although I admit, a lot of my fellow librarians miss the mark fashion-wise (it seems they either go way too casual or way too business, nothing in the middle), I would have been pretty cranky to have that as a speaker at a professional conference. I would have been less offended at a booth or display or something, but a speaker....erk.

    Fortunately for me, I work in archives now and not a lot with the public--which means mostly jeans and clothes I don't mind getting dirty in.

  3. Ah Brooke you are one of those wonderful gatekeepers to knowledge.

    You know, I've discovered over the years that many people don't realize that most librarians have masters degrees. I think a sweater set with slacks is a nice classy yet comfortable solution.

    I see your point about having that as a speaker at a professional conference. Now that I think about it more, if that was a featured workshop at a professional conference I was attending I think I'd be insulted.

    I'm glad you left a comment!



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