In my last post, someone left a comment about libraries having Mrs Slocombe type people. For those of you who don’t know, Mrs Slocombe was woman in a show called Are You Being Served? (and it’s crappy sequel, Grace and Favour). She was rude and rather arrogant and always thought she knew better than the customers.
Unfortunately this seems to be a common stereotype of librarians. Imagine a tiny little old woman with her hair in a bun. A nice calming stereotype. Then ensure that she’s a Nazi sadist and that’s what some people think of librarians.
When I tell people that I’m a librarian they somehow feel guilty. It is as if, by telling them I’m a librarian, I am secretly saying “YOU DON’T READ AND I CAN TELL BECAUSE I KNOW ALL OF YOUR DIRTY SECRETS YOU EVIL LITTLE NON-READER”. I’ll often get the ‘oh I last went to a library in 1942 and still have the book out’ or ‘oh I never go to a library, I like to buy my books’ or, worst of all, ‘oh, a librarian, do you know the book Life as a Vapor as it changed my life and of course you’ve read it because you’re a librarian and…what? You don’t know it? How come? It won the Mumphmudge Prize for Literature’ thus making me feel as if I’ve failed in my many years of librarianing because I haven’t read some obscure book on the development of my soul.
Oops, lost my point…stereotypes. I wonder if we’re the only profession with our panties in a twist over the stereotype of us? As a whole I don’t think it’s TOO bad (a helpful little old woman is a nice stereotype…of course the evil school librarian stereotype isn’t so good, nor is the stereotype that because you have an overdue book we are going to beat you with encyclopædias if you ever step into our library).
Anyways, what does everyone think about our stereotypes?