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The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Perceptions and Presentations of Information Work

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Book Chapter

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Librarians -- Public opinion, Libraries and society -- Public opinion, Librarians -- Professional ethics


Chapter 12. In this chapter, we examine the connection between increasing diversity in the library workplace and dispelling stereotypes. We explore how diversity in the academic library workforce can have positive effects in dispelling stereotypes through visibility, outreach, and education. We also want to rethink what we mean when we discuss diversity and what it entails. This is important to the process of examining library diversity initiatives and how they can fall short of complete inclusion. We also explore how activist librarians have defied the librarian stereotype and what we can learn from them. In order to create desired changes, we also need to see what the field is currently doing in terms of recruiting for diversity and what we can do to create a culture of inclusion at our institutions.

Academic libraries are in the position to reimagine their place on campus to be more than just a warehouse for books, and many are well along in this process. Librarians with different and diverse backgrounds, who are able to effectively communicate with a wide variety of individuals, will dispel antiquated library stereotypes. Students’ perceptions will change once dynamic, diverse, and future-thinking librarians start working directly with them. The answer to dispelling stereotypes and increasing diversity in library staff is not simple, but by better understanding our past endeavors, we can create better steps for the future.


This is the publisher's final PDF.


This chapter was originally published in Pagowsky, Nicole and Miriam Rigby (Editors). The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Perceptions and Presentations of Information Work. Chicago, IL: Association of College & Research Libraries, 2014.

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