Friday, January 06, 2012

Afraid of Librarians?

This week’s Time Magazine (1/9/12) has an article entitled “Fearing Well” (p. 36) by Jeff Wise. He cautions us that there are plenty of things to fear, so choose carefully! Apparently, people routinely misjudge risks and fixate on perceived threats which are really not harmful, instead of the really scary stuff that we should be afraid of. In the 4-quadrant graphic illustrating the article, different things are placed on a matrix scale divided by dangerous/not dangerous and what we fear/don’t fear.
You really need to see the illustration, but the bottom left quadrant shows things which have both “not dangerous” and “not fearful” characteristics, and here, along with teddy bears and hugs, are listed Librarians! The description of us says, “In times of stress, we take comfort in trusted authorities.”
So I’m of mixed minds about this characterization. Yes, I’m happy to provide a less-stress, comfortable, fear-free environment in our library for our patrons (and I’ve heard a lot recently about people growing weary of being so tuned-in all the time to their e-devices so they’re seeking more solace, quiet, and contemplative spaces---not that you can find too much of it in our busy library, but anyway… ). Still, I hate to cater to that stereotypical image of the meek and mild librarian whose worst weapon is her “shush”. Not that I want to inspire fear, but neither do we want to be seen as Casper Milquetoasts!
Here are some conflicting images of librarians who could fit into each quadrant of Mr. Wise’s matrix! Which librarian fits your mental picture of us?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:01 AM

    Most interesting! :) I know of only one librarian who fits into any of the "prototypes"...namely, the first picture...and I work with her! She bubbles with friendliness and helpfulness!


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