or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Snapshot of a Future Male Librarian

   August 8th, 2013

I saw this photo and immediately though, "hey, that's what it's like to be a male librarian":

only boy at a girls princess party

Of course it's not entirely true - I always see other guys at library conferences and things (especially tech-oriented library conferences). And I know I enjoy my job as much as any princess with a balloon. But it is not at all uncommon for me to go to meetings with reference librarians in the region and be the only guy in the room.

In fact, I thought that would be a good title for my memoirs: The Only Guy in the Room.

For a bit more on librarian gender stereotypes, check out Mr. Library Dude's post on Image, Public Perception, and Lego Librarians. The whole thing is funny, but the male fashion choices minifig especially made me laugh. However, I'm still unrepresented there: I don't drink coffee.

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6 Responses to “Snapshot of a Future Male Librarian”

  1. Alan Samry Says:

    Thanks for posting. I’m the only guy at our library and we have a staff of 20.

  2. Lisa Prolman Says:

    While I am female, I find a lot of the tech meetings I have been to are attended by a mix of men and women but are mainly run by men. Interesting. Oh, I don’t drink coffee, either. It smells good, but I find it tastes like crayons strained through water.

  3. Beverley Says:

    I keep wondering why people associate coffee with librarians. We have six staff and only one of us drinks coffee.

  4. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Alan: I’m one of four, excluding our pages and maintenance guys. But my first library job had to write their dress code to allow me to wear boy clothes, because it had been so long since they’d had a male on staff.

    @Lisa: I didn’t mean that in a gender-judgement way, but I really do notice more guys around when technology is involved, so it’s good to hear it’s not just my own observation.

    But wow, three non-coffee drinkers in one place. Like @Beverly, I also wonder about that association – coffee is so prevalent that I don’t really associate it with any particular group.

  5. Michael Says:

    As a prospective librarian and current lib assistant, I only hope that this gender gap will not make it more difficult to build meaningful professional relationships, not to mention personal friendships, with (in my case female) colleagues.

    Being polite is so rare these days…

  6. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Michael: I wouldn’t worry about it – this sort of thing comes down to personality, and the fact that you’re thinking about it means you’re probably the kind of person that will have no trouble interacting with colleagues of any type. Besides, it’s a good thing to spend time around people who aren’t exactly like you, because you each bring different perspectives and experiences.