My main motive for my recent post was to generate discussion on the topic of stereotypes of male librarians, technology, and our profession. It can get lonely as a writer when you do not have exchange with readers. It was not meant to be an opinion piece. I wanted to move away from posting on a technology review or share something I tried at my library. I wanted to present information I found while reading. These negative views of our profession are alive and well in our society – to not write about it is to sweep it under the rug.
It may be an exploration of my own experience. I live it every day. I am a 40 year old male librarian who fits the stereotype and all these stereotypical elements point to someone who is less than. When I tell someone that I am a librarian, I get the “you must read a lot” comment which insinuates that my job is not that important if I am leisurely reading passively. Or that librarianship is a “women’s profession” and not worthy of respect. Or I could not make it in a more stressful, rigorous career environment, so librarianship became my default. Being a librarian was my first choice and I continue to love this profession. Only recently have I seen a shift in reactions, since I work at a College of Medicine. Since medicine has a higher reputation, I get some more respect and aww. I am a father and married to my lovely wife, and I hold the opinion that our sexuality is fluid and not a box you can check off. I do not follow or play sports. I am not a manly man. I love to read and consider myself scholarly. I wear thick plastic glasses on purpose and did before the fad and will continue after the fad fades. I am categorized as brown or colored in some parts of the nation. All these elements make me less than in society’s eyes.
These are elements that affect the way we are perceived, affecting our salaries, seat at tables, and, most importantly, the level of respect our profession receives from the outside world.
I do recommend reading this month’s ALA article in American Libraries magazine, The Stereotype Stereotype: Our Obsession with Librarian Representation, that goes into the topic further at http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2015/10/30/the-stereotype-stereotype/