Monday, February 13, 2012

What Superhero are You?

As I was waiting for my turn on “Word With Friends” on Facebook the other night I came across a couple of those “What Superhero are you?” posts. I resisted clicking on the links to find out until I saw that my daughter had done it. So, I gave in – reasoning that it might give us something fun to bond over. I was hoping for Batgirl whose alter ego works as a librarian by day. But without explanation, I was Catwoman, and a comic book representation was posted on my Timeline (formerly known as my Wall). This inspired friends to make comments like, “Wasn't Catwoman a villainess?” to which I replied that, like Catwoman, I too am “difficult to define.”

No one likes to be stereotyped. Librarians tend to believe we have been misunderstood and misrepresented in the media. Partly due to librarians campaigning for a fresh image, the notion that we are timid people who get to read books all day long but can shh the fun out of any situation, is probably no longer as widely held as it once was. Nevertheless, there is still the occasional comment that hits a raw nerve.

Very recently a friend of mine told me that they wanted to recommend someone to work in the library because they were socially awkward and needed a job that didn't involve much stress. They meant no offense but they didn't realize what stereotype paranoia they were feeding into! After I let out a laugh, I let my friend know that the library really needs people who are service minded people persons to work here.

I think, as a profession, librarians prefer being “difficult to define” to being stereotyped. Doesn't everybody?

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