From Old Maids to Action Heroes: Librarians and the Meanings of Librarian Stereotypes

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2005-05-31

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This study examines the history of librarian stereotypes, the responses of librarians to them, and the resulting negotiations as librarians try to work beyond the stereotypes. Chapter One frames the study, which takes a cultural studies approach, and sets out research questions and methodology. Chapter Two looks at the history of librarian stereotypes, examines library literature on stereotypes, and analyses websites that feature representations of librarians. Chapters Three and Four present public librarians' discussions of stereotypes. By looking at librarian stereotypes through a combination of lenses, namely cultural studies, material and visual culture, and ethnography, I expand upon the ways in which librarian stereotypes have typically been examined. Chapter 5 concludes that librarians negotiate daily and in multiple ways with images and stereotypes of librarians that are maintained by society and culture and as well as by the library as institution.

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