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Not Your Ordinary Librarian - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781843346708, 9781780632964

Not Your Ordinary Librarian

1st Edition

Debunking the Popular Perceptions of Librarians

Author: Ashanti White
Paperback ISBN: 9781843346708
eBook ISBN: 9781780632964
Imprint: Chandos Publishing
Published Date: 19th March 2012
Page Count: 228
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Table of Contents

  • List of figures and table
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: “You don’t look like a librarian”
  • Chapter 1: In the beginning: the origin of librarian stereotypes
    • Abstract:
    • Contemporary history of librarianship
    • Women, libraries, and the origins of the stereotypes
    • Libraries during the Great Depression
    • The old maid, policeman, inept, and psycho librarians
    • Belle da Costa Greene and history’s forgotten librarians
  • Chapter 2: Hollywood love affair: the librarian in American film
    • Abstract:
    • Marian Paroo, also known as Marian the Librarian
    • Classic films that feature librarians
    • Mary the Librarians
    • The mean, uncooperative, and unseen librarians
    • The Pagemaster
  • Chapter 3: Heroes, vigilantes, and rock stars: the librarian on television
    • Abstract:
    • Television’s heroes: Barbara Gordon and Rupert Giles
    • Librarians in children’s programs
  • Chapter 4: Not your ordinary library: the librarian in literature
    • Abstract:
    • Children’s literature
    • Adult literature
  • Chapter 5: How true are the perceptions?: examining the common librarian
    • Abstract:
    • The truth of exclusion
    • The truth of underrepresentation
    • The truth of appearance
  • Chapter 6: Perception is reality: the effects of stereotypical images
    • Abstract:
    • Stereotypes interfere with service
    • Negative images adversely affect funding
    • Underrepresentation hinders recruitment efforts
  • Chapter 7: Diverging images: the sexy, author, and friendly librarian
    • Abstract:
    • Stereotyping in advertisements
    • Claiming and changing our image
    • Using the love of books to our advantage
    • Bridging
    • Active recruitment is essential
    • Reconsidering policies
    • Maximizing technology’s influence
    • Getting to the root of the profession
  • Chapter 8: The end of stereotypes: a new beginning
    • Abstract:
  • Appendix A: Films featuring librarians
  • Appendix B: Films featuring minor librarian roles
  • Appendix C: Films that mention librarians
  • Appendix D: Foreign films featuring librarians
  • Appendix E: Good librarian websites
  • Bibliography
  • Index


When you picture a librarian, what do you imagine? An old white woman with glasses and a prudish disposition? That is the image that many people conjure up when asked to picture a librarian; with 82 per cent of the professional force being female and the average age of a librarian at 45, coupled with popular stereotypical images, it is difficult to dispute the perceptions. But there is more to librarians than meets the eye. This book will explore the origin of the image and popular media images of the librarian, in addition to the effects of the stereotype, and the challenges to the perception of librarians today.

Key Features

  • Provides contemporary examples from popular culture
  • Chapters are supported by quotes, images and personal reflections
  • Presents a study which offers authenticity


Practitioners and students of Library and Information Science


No. of pages:
© Chandos Publishing 2012
19th March 2012
Chandos Publishing
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:


This book is entertaining as well as arguing the serious point that stereotypes do matter. It is recommended for this reason., The Australian Library Journal
both informative and engaging...welcome in any collection frequented by library folk., Booklist

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

Ashanti White

Ashanti White

Ashanti White is currently an ACE Scholar, pursuing a Masters in Library and Information Studies and an accomplished author and literary critic. She has recently been selected as a recipient of the 2011 Diversity Research Grant from the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity. White graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2003, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African American Studies with a minor in Philosophy. She has also attained a Masters in Liberal Studies with a Concentration in World Cultures and is the author of two works, Chasing Eden and Razor Blades Between My Teeth. Her works have appeared in Callaloo, Mandala Literary Journal, and The Amistad among other publications. Forthcoming are her chapters in Library Management Tips that Work, which will be published by the American Library Association.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA