So why have hipsters latched onto librarians? Because we’re losers, at least in the public’s mind. Ask anyone with French tip nails and a frappuccino, and they’ll pretty much describe us as the Amy Winehouse of occupations: people with odd hair and odder interests. We’re crazy cat lady of professions, except we don’t smell like cat pee. Most of the time. But to those whose idea of the perfect day is having a quote from The Aeneid inked in Latin onto their forearm after scoring the perfect cardigan from Goodwill (preferably one designed for the opposite sex), a librarian is the personification of their post-millennial aspirations: props from friends for being the smarty-pants slacker that they are. But if you hold such aspirations, you don’t have to go to library school to be a librarian: you can at the very least look and act like a librarian. Why incur student loan debt and classmates with the demeanor of Dick Cheney without the sparkling repartee when all you need are your English lit books and access to your grandparents’ closet?
I think I owe the author of this piece, Linda Ueki Absher, a drink. Specifically, I’m thinking of a box of wine. I had written about librarian stereotypes as a guest post for Will Manley’s blog over the summer, but Mrs. Absher’s piece on the image of the librarian has taken it to a completely new level of brilliance. It embraces the darkest elements of the librarian stereotype: useless liberal arts degree, the drudgery of public service, and the quirky/deviant nature of the people who aspire to provide information service in this day and age. It’s does in one piece what the Annoyed Librarian can’t do in ten or twenty entries; bring the full on ridiculousness of the hipster librarian, display it in all its glory, and send it on its way like a loved but wayward child.
Yes, we are librarians. We are a fun, hard working, hard drinking, and defiantly curious and quirky bunch. But that’s the way we like it.