Librarians vs. Taxi Drivers

Terry Reese’s conversation with a taxi driver in Phili is worth taking a minute to read. At first I was a little offended that this driver was so degrading of librarians. Are librarians really all “boring and cheap”? Before I got too carried away though I stopped and asked myself, “Self, do I really care what a couple of taxi drivers think?”

I guess the point Terry was trying to make is this: sometimes it really helps to look at ourselves from the outside. Our little sub-culture is tens-of-thousands strong; there are bound to be some perceived eccentricities from non-library folk.

Recently it seems like our librarian image is becoming more positive. I know that we are always excited when articles like this come out but I still wonder how much impact the supposed shift from the hair-in-the-bun, shushing librarian image to the “cool” tech-savvy librarian image is actually having on our library traffic. Is the image shift really making a difference in the numbers?

Sometimes I buy into the question above and shudder; when I am really in a “the glass is half-full” kind of mood I feel like it is irrelevant. If there is even one librarian who feels like they are better–or just feels better about themselves–because the image is changing … well, isn’t that more important than the numbers? Librarian confidence and personal identity seem more important to me than whether reference stats go up or not.

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