Posted by: glundeen | December 28, 2007

On the conundrum of male librarianness


 What do you call a male librarian? Does the word “librarian” imply gender? Penny Arcade sums it up beautifully in 3 panels. I’ll go with “Information Stud,” myself.

I have to admit: the idea of the Mildly Attractive Men of SLIS at the University of South Carolina calendar is pretty hilarious. The profits go to a good cause as well, so go buy one immediately if photographs of grad students doing something to stave off the boredom of library school is your thing.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the term Guybrarian. I’m all about breaking the librarian stereotype, especially in a “traditionally female” profession, but I hope this little fad passes. I don’t feel like it “reaffirms maleness” – if anything, it isolates men from the profession even further and continues the ridiculous idea that a librarian has to be female, likely older, grouchy and shushing as she sifts through a card catalog. I always thought the word “librarian” sounded gender-neutral, like “doctor” or “lawyer,” and I’m certain that my doctoress and lawyeress would take offense to me differentiating their gender.

Of course, now we’re “A Hipper Crowd of Shushers”, and in some circles it’s apparently cool to be a librarian. I think it’s a pretty cool job in a lot of respects, and the more new blood we can attract the better we can adapt to a changing world around us. The “hip librarian” has its own set of problems, well-documented and debated in the blogosphere, but at least these people are having fun doing what they’re doing. They realize that your job is not who you are, and nothing will ever change that. I’ve read other comments that sounded resentful of the librarians in the article, a real jealousy, like there’s a problem with young professionals having interests outside their library system and their day job. These people clearly need a hobby.

As do I, apparently, after waxing this long about guybrarians.



  1. I’m not a fan of the “guybrarian” label either… “Librarian” is a refined, gender neutral title that I’m proud of.

  2. That’s hilarious; I so want a calendar now.

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