That library marketing librarian blogger person always has some ideas on library marketing. This time, though, I'm not so sure.
She writes about the Tylenol website, where she says you can find Tylenol "employees talking about their work and perspectives." She thinks this would be a great format for librarians, so that librarians can fight against the stereotypes.
"I think it would be nice idea if patrons could find their librarians talking about the issues they're concerned about, projects they're working on, hobbies they have, and so on, to put a friendly face on our services. I realize there are privacy issues implicit in this, but I just like the idea of patrons getting to see a more-well rounded version of us has human beings rather than one-dimensional bookish-types."
I see a huge potential problem with this. What if it turns out that librarians really are one-dimensional bookish types, who knit and play with their cats when they aren't reading cozies? Or that they're mostly helpful, overweight, middle-aged white women who are for the most part kind of boring? What then! Or worse. What if it turns out librarians are all annoyingly "hip" like those "hip" New York librarians? If you have to fight the stereotypes, the stereotypes have already won.
The most foolish of the stereotype fighters these days are the hipsters, and oh they don't seem to go away. Any claims about how librarians are all "hip" and "cool" now can be easily dispelled by wandering around the convention floor at an ALA Conference or looking at pictures of librarians online or just going into a library.
Unless that library is in Pittsburgh, I guess, where apparently all the librarians really are hepcats who dress in black and know a lot about heavy metal music and stuff. Those Pittsburgh librarians must really connect with the alienated teenage boy goth set. I wanted to write more about the Pittsburgh Hip Librarian Consortium, but after the New York hipster piece I just don't have the strength anymore. I feel as if I'm failing my faithful readers. Also, unlike the NYT article, these Pittsburgh "hipsters" didn't seem quite so full of themselves and the news article itself, though still "correcting those stereotypes," didn't seem like it was written by an idiot. And besides, who cares what happens in Pittsburgh.
I wouldn't mind if people thought of librarians as well rounded human beings (I'm passing up a bad joke there), but I don't think it will happen. People don't care what librarians are like. My advice to librarians: don't fight the stereotypes. It won't do you any good. News articles about how hip we all are just make us seem desperate. If you're really hip, you don't have to tell people. And if you're a normal person, you don't have to tell people, either. They'll just know.