“Librarians in Fashion”

I’m not quite sure what the creator of this video is upset about. Every job has stereotypes, and it is up to the professional to either maintain or shatter those images. As a librarian, I respond negatively to this video and the YouTube community’s commentary associated with it because I LOVE being a stereotypical “sexy” or “stylish” librarian. I’m a curvy 5’7″ woman, but slim and trim enough not to look frumpy in a pencil skirt. My closet is brimming with cardigans, *fake* eyeglasses of the cat eye variety, waist belts and polka-dotted blouses with ascot bows. I like to take pictures wearing conservative yet fashionable clothing with a cute bun, bright red lipstick and *gasp* ducklips. Devious, eh?

What made me become a librarian? True story… I graduated from Ithaca College as a history major and music minor in 2007 and joined Teach For America as an elementary school teacher in the Bronx. After teaching 7th grade English for 2.5 years, I found an article in “Time Out New York” (of all places) about librarian chic fashion. “Wow,” I thought, “I could combine my love of literature, helping people and fashion! I could also go to NYU to obtain an expensive pair of master’s degrees in library science and humanities live happily ever after!” Now, three years later, here I am at Bobst Library in Greenwich Village, a performing arts librarian, wearing bright red MAC lipstick, a frilly cardigan and a work-appropriate albeit sexy cotton pencil skirt. I also have three literature tattoos, two of which are very visible. And you know what? If anything, my patrons value my input because I am professional but “with it.” Being a “sexy” librarian is not harmful for the profession, and there are plenty of us who push this stereotype to the max within professional limits. When I go to bars, gentlemen are initially surprised to meet a real live librarian (“Those still exist?”), but they believe I fulfill the stereotype. And they are not rude about it.

In summary, I’m proud to be a librarian, and I’m proud to LOOK like a young, hip, urban librarian.

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