“But you don’t look like a librarian!”

In one of my random searches for library related websites/blogs/videos/anything-to-humorous-to-help-me-remember-why-I’m-putting-myself- through-the-torture-of-some-of-my-classes I came across a very interesting site entitled You don’t look like a librarian! This website is the creation of Ruth Kneale. The cool thing about this website is that it features Kneale’s work on the image that being a librarian has in today’s society. Kneale began doing research and giving presentations, most of which is provided on the web page, about the image of librarians in today’s society after she received many a comment along the lines of the title of this website.

The webpage is entirely navigateable through the sidebar. Not only does Kneale post copies of her research and information about her talks, she also has links to the articles from her bimonthly column called Spectacles: How Pop Culture Sees Librarians which can be found in Marketing Library Services, and a list of links to other library-related websites that are humorous or help break the librarian stereotype. Some of the more amusing ones include The Bellydancing Librarian (no further explanation needed) and Butt Kicking Librarians! (librarians who do karate). Another cool feature to the site is that Kneale has a Flickr feed at the bottom of the page for photos tagged with “librarian,” so she can show the world what librarians really look like.

If you’re looking for some fun reading on the subject of librarians’ image in society or just something to use are a conversation piece next time you’re talking about your profession and someone says to you “But you don’t look like a librarian” then I suggest reading her article You Don’t Look Like a Librarian! Librarians’ views of public perception in the Internet age.

5 responses to ““But you don’t look like a librarian!”

  1. I love it! Bellydancing Librarian! I get so sick of stereotypes, they’re so boring, especially in the library world. Of course there is always the type that try to go against the stereotype by perpetuating the anti-stereotype. Does that make sense? The link to “leather Librarian” wouldn’t work, but I’ll keep trying. I hope that’s not stereotypical behavior on my part!

  2. Stereotypes, stereotypes, stereotypes. When I began library school was glad to see that some of the stereotypes seemed to be slipping away. My first semester of library school coincided with the release of Rex Libris the male crime fighting librarian graphic novel hero and his struggle against the forces of darkness. (see: http://www.jtillustration.com/rex/ for more info) Reading Rex Libris I felt empowered and a sense of awe, and had a sense that perhaps the stereotype of the librarian was shifting.

    Fast forward two months into the semester and I later learned from my 701 textbook that the general public perception’s of librarians is that it was something like the third most feminine career after manicurist and nurse. Some time after that a friend pointed out a new laxative commercial that features a librarian, in the commercial the poor woman is apparently “irregular” and in such discomfort she lets go of her cart it rolls out of control and causes all of the book stacks to topple over. And of course when I meet new people that inevitably as, “so what do you do” and I tell them that I am in library school the response is always, “Really, you don’t look like a librarian”.

    Thanks for posting about the site, it is quite entertaining. I think we all need to maintain our sense of humor about the way our profession is often portrayed, this site definitely embraces that sense of humor. I have to go now and practice my “Shhh”

  3. Relating to stereotypes: A new film titled “The Hollywood Librarian” had its world premiere at the recent ALA conference in Washington D.C.

    For more info on the film check out the public librarian association blog at


    One plan is to make the film available to public libraries as a marketing tool to help education the public about the library world.

  4. unfilteredlibrarian

    I have to say it is an intersting site. Humorous too! In my own mind I think it’s time that librarians get their due though. Computer geeks get to be cool and trendy, why not librarians too. On the other hand I wonder what it would be like for librarians to get their own reality makeover show…hmmmmm…I wonder if they would be shushed by the stylists or make-up artists?

  5. Alexwebmaster

    Hello webmaster
    I would like to share with you a link to your site
    write me here preonrelt@mail.ru

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