Posted by: spottedpufferfish | March 4, 2010

Who’s a bad arse librarian?

I am!

My first years loved my library tatt, and they all came in to the library to pick up one of their own and a chuppa chup. YAY!! I’m getting them through the door!

Anyway, I’m trying hard to break down the barriers and the horrible preconceived notions of librarians that people have. My friend from the gym, R was physically REPULSED (he actually took a step BACK!!!) when I told him I was a librarian due to the bad experiences he’s had in the past! There’s been a whole lot of educational research about the bad experiences people have had with teachers in the past, and it impacting on their behaviour/attitude to them later in life when their kids are in school. The same must go for the librarian experience… someone needs to do some research on this… hmmm interesting!
When I first started working at a public library, many moons ago, my friend’s various reactions ranged from “what? You’re clothes are too cool to be a librarian!” to “what! You’re way too loud to be a librarian!” to “where’s your bun and brown daggy tweed skirt?”

You get my drift…. We need to break free of the stereotype people!!!!

There’s also this idea floating around that you don’t go ask librarians for help when you’re struggling with finding material for your assignment at uni. I mean, where did that come from? Even I thought I was supposed to just muddle through myself, when I was an undergrad, and it was only when I was DESPERATE while doing my Honours thesis that I actually struck up the courage to ask a librarian at the Information desk. To this day I am forever grateful to P for saving my life that day and getting me started in the right direction. (Cute aside- I am actually working alongside P today- we’re librarians in the same team in the same library!)

When do we lose the notion of asking for help? When do we go from blithely asking for help to find books at the public library as kids, to people who are afraid to approach the reference librarian at uni? Is it the traumatising experience of the dragon-lady secondary school librarian? Clearly I am exaggerating for effect here, but maybe there is something to be said over this… do school librarians give off “go away/don’t talk to me” vibes that set us all up to avoid them later on?



  1. Hey Crystal!

    I’ve never heard of this bad notion of librarians, I certainly don’t have any bad experiences, but I do have a slight apprehension to asking them for help. I didn’t realise librarians could help out, unless they’re really old and friendly and you can tell they’ve been there a while, in comparison to a young uni student type who’s probably working casually.

    Im curious what you think of pharmacists- i could write an essay on that! x

  2. Hey Sahar,

    You and just about everyone else, has had a bad experience with a librarian (or many)- and everyone knows which “type” of librarian they can approach, hence the stereotypes, due to their previous bad experiences!
    Crazy huh? I am really getting interested in this, and I’m starting to think that I should do some research in this area…

    Anyway, as to pharmacists, my opinion varies. It’s dependent on how competent I view them as. I obviously have no formal grounds to back my opinion on, seeing as I’m not a trained pharmacist, but it’s the vibe, service and how knowledgeable they seem, that makes me go back (if they are local to me). Otherwise it’s the convenience of getting a script filled, and here I just whore myself out willy nilly!

  3. All pharmacists are very knowledgeable and unfortunately this is a not well known fact.
    But I agree the vibe and service may have something to do with it, but these can be out of the pharmacists control (the quality of the pharmacy/shop assistants, the layout, etc which are all stupid factors associated with RETAIL, which I hate and didn’t do my degree for).
    One guy came in trying to be all political asking why he paid $15 for an antibiotic but can get it for $7 somewhere else. Well mate, thats really out of our control and if you really devalue our services down to just penny pinching, then take your shallow ignorant ass to Chemists’ Warehouse!!! >:0

    So yeah unfortunately every job has its battle, but do your research because I have never really thought about librarians and the prejudices they encounter.

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