No stereotypes!

You Don't Look Like a Librarian!

The survey itself

Do you look like a librarian?

Isn't that an interesting question?  What are we supposed to look like?
Ask any person in the street and inevitably they'll answer an older
woman, with her hair in a tight bun, wearing glasses, a cardigan, and
sensible shoes.  For those of us who don't match this stereotypical
image, the usual response is "But you don't look like one!"

Why not?  Why do people think that we not only still look like the mid-
century's stereotype, but that we're not the folks to ask about computers,
Internet searches, or the World Wide Web?

I am researching the perception of librarians in the Internet Age.  I'll
be collating the responses I get to the below short survey and presenting
them as part of my talk at SLA 2002 called "You don't look like a
librarian!".  I'll also be presenting examples, both positive and negative,
from all types of media on the topic.

Please take just a moment and answer the questions below.  Please send your
responses directly back to me ( and not to the listserv

What's your gender?  ___Male    ___Female

Your age range?  ___ <20  ____20-29  ___30-30 ___40-49  ___50-59  ___60-69
___ 70+

Where are you located? (state/country)

Do you have a college degree(s)?  __Y  __N  If so, in what?

What year did you graduate?  Or, how many years have you spent in

What type of library do you work in?  ____Public  ____Academic
____Corporate/private  ___Other (please specify)

What's your title?  Has your title changed recently, and if so to what?

What's your salary range?  (in $5K increments please, as in $20-25K)

What are your hobbies / activities outside work?

Do fellow hobbyists comment on your profession?  Are comments generally more
positive or negative?

Do you have visible body art?  __Y  __N    Do patrons comment on your
bodyart at work, or do you get comments directly on your profession about
your bodyart?  (anything like "I didn't know librarians had tattoos!",

Do you get other comments, in general, about your appearance related to
your job?   Too young, too old, "I didn't know librarians dressed like
that!", etc.?

Do you feel that the public perception of librarians has changed in the
last ten years?  __Y  __N      For better or worse?

Do you have a favorite recent (since 1990) portrayal of librarians in
media?  (Books, movies, etc)  Or, do you have a recent portrayal that
you really dislike?

Do you have any short stories you'd like to share that have happened to
you in relation to your appearance and profession?

Thank you so very much for taking the time to add your voice - I hope
to see you in Los Angeles!

Ruth A. Kneale,, June 25, 2002. No, I don't look like a librarian.