Why a website on "Image and the Librarian?"
Many people like librarians and have a great image of what a librarian is
like. On the other hand, for decades those in the library profession have
been perplexed by negative stereotypes and impressions of librarians.
Indeed, there are people within and outside the profession who
believe that negative images have affected the professional status
and self-image of librarians. Where
these stereotypes come from, how they affect library
professionals, and whether our new role as "information
specialists" relying on computer technology will change how we're
regarded will be explored here.
How We Did It!
"Image and the Librarian" was researched and designed by myself, Stacie
Marinelli, and my classmate Tim Baker, when we were students in
Information Technology, taught by Dr. Douglas Oard, at the
University of Maryland/College
of Information Studies. Both of us are now working in the
library world, and I will attempt to keep up the site as time
To develop content for
the page, we researched several databases, including ERIC, Library Lit and
of collections at the University of Maryland and George Washington
University, as well as library journals (including the Image column in
discovered websites to link up to using Yahoo and Metacrawler
search engines (searching for such access points as "Librarians and Image"
and "Librarians and Status"). In the process we discovered a large and
long-lived literature that was both anecdotal and experimental.
Citations for articles and books mentioned in these web pages can be
found on our Resources page. We welcome all Web Explorers, librarian
and non-librarian alike!
Explore the Image Website
We envision our website as an overview that will introduce viewers to some
of the major concerns about librarians and image, and will provide
resources with which they can explore further.
There is a considerable literature in the field on professional image and
status, and a large literature on "stereotypes" in the field of sociology
and social psychology. Through research into literature and websites,
three central "image issues" are explored. Both serious and humorous
approaches will be included. Other related topics: websites and articles
addressing media images of librarians; a summary of the concerns
librarians have had for a long time about professional status (including
inadequate salaries; lack of respect from public; reputation as stuffy and
unpleasant (including "the bun image"); possible sociological and
issues surrounding the "low status/poor image problem," including the
concept of internalized oppression; the impact of technology on job
opportunities, the nature of the work, and how we are seen by the public.
News Flash! Website to Check Out!
Are librarians powerful and cool? Erica Olson thinks so. Check out why you
should fall to your knees and worship a librarian and see why!
Maybe the ALA will model an annual poster on this website...
Popular Culture Committee and Conference, April 8-11, 1998
The Popular Culture Association has a section on
"Libraries and Popular Culture" which participated in the
Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association
conference in 1998 in Orlando, Florida. Many of the conference panels
mirrored topics discussed on this website. PCA's "Libraries and Popular
Culture" is a formal committee open to anyone doing research in this area.
News of future conferences can be found on the
newsgroup "bit.listserv.libref-1" or by going to the Popular Culture
Association website at http://h-net2.msu.edu/~pcaaca. For more information
on the committee, contact:
Allen Ellis, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY 41099-6101
Maintenance of Site
Librarians and information school students have been emailing the Image
and the Librarian website since it first appeared. Given such
enthusiastic support (!), the site will be kept up indefintely,
though its URL (web address) may change as it should be moving to a new
web server soon. As much as possible, links will be checked and kept up to
date. Much of the material on the
pages is retrospective and therefore static; the only changes currently
envisioned would be any obvious change in technology or image (though
major shifts are not expected in such a short timeframe), and addition of
new or deletion of expired websites.
Let us know your comments! Contact
This page was last updated on
December 2, 2000.
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