attack of the hipster librarians.

thanks to everybody who has sent me the new york times article about the rise of histper librarians. for those of you who’ve some how managed to miss it, basically somewhere in brooklyn (where there is a critial mass of trendy kids) there’s a regular meet up of hip librarians. they sit around, talk about how awesome and cool they are as librarians because they’re young and hip. it’s a new trend in librarianship, if you didn’t know.  goodbye bunhead, hello cute girl with plastic rim glasses and a bad haircut. (oh wait, that’d be me.)

it’s hard not to make fun of this article. there are many different library blogs that have already lambasted the article. it might show that one stereotype of the typical librarian is on the way out (the uptight, quiet, shushing bunhead), as free range librarian points out the profession is still largely white and largely female. not much is changing on that front. i think pop goes the librarian articulates what’s wrong with the article, and to a certain extent the willingness to embrace the image of the hipster librarian:

When I see a group all eager to promote one way of being a librarian, I’m not going to follow that crowd. I may do all the things they do, but I don’t look like they do. And that’s okay, you know? For both them and me, our outward appearances don’t affect the tasks we do, the service we give. I just hate the thought that in some minds, appearances and performance are linked, and the only way you can be a cool librarian is to have an eyebrow piercing or go out for drinks that are identified by Dewey call numbers.

i know this is a bit rich coming from me, somebody with a tattoo (more to come post chemo) and a lip ring, but i don’t think that should make me a member of some club. i sometime joke that i need more tattoos as a networking tool and career development because then i’d be easily marketed as a hip or alterna librarian. it’s sad that there’s that trend in the library profession, but it’s somewhat true.

one of my student employees joked that the article was about my people. to her my people include anybody wearing a black hoodie, glasses, and plaid shirts. i guess it is, but i’d rather work with passionate librarians who have pride in their work and excellent service than some my age who happen to like similar things. the article is very shallow, but then again it wasn’t really written for librarians.

[tags]librarians, library 2.0, hipsters[/tags]


  1. K.G. Schneider

    Kendra, I agree, for all my bluster, Pop Goes the Library exactly nailed what I was feeling… the whole icky clique nonsense. Your comments ring true as well. Don’t get too many more tattoos, though. You have nice skin :-)

    Good luck with the chemo et al.

  2. Pingback: librarians, and hipsters, and cocktails, oh my! « m00se
  3. Neil

    Are those people having a “who can catch the most flies” competition?

    I like the fact America is so big you can even be bothered to create Librarian cliques.

  4. sam

    Can we get rid of “guybrarian” before it becomes common? I’d never heard/read it before yesterday, and it’s already bothering me.

  5. Jenn

    I don’t think any self-respecting male librarian would allow themselves to be called a “guybrarian”. Must be an east coast thing

  6. Pingback: Library Attack » Blog Archive » No rhinestones in the library.

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