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December 07, 2003

Librarians, Image, and Cognitive Dissonance

The library director who was canned due to her well-advertised extracurricular hobby as a sado-masochist dominatrix is at the top of my "Library Darwin Arwards" for 2003, leading even OCLC's attempt to sue the Library Hotel over using Dewey numbers for its hotel scheme. Still, it's fascinating that though the story has cropped up--oops, no pun intended--on librarian.net, we haven't seen it anywhere in the library press.

So let me revisit the issue of the Librarian Action Figure. Some of you have a really big issue with this doll representing librarianship, because we all know librarians are hip gals in Prada frocks and screw-me shoes. But still, we have to draw a line. Put her in fishnet hose, pierce her lower lip, give her a pushup bra, but whatever you do, don't overtly acknowledge her sexuality. For that matter, let's run from the s-word as fast as we can.

Here we are again, trapped in our own contradictions, somewhere between condemning a librarian who does her own thing sexually and getting our collective shorts in a bunch over a doll in a long blue dress. I'll stick with the middle ground: the gold standard for library sex appeal was established by the smoldering, mildly homoerotic bookish look perfected by Niles on Buffy the Vampire and continued by Nancy Pearl, in her prim dress, holding her copy of Book Lust. At least I don't have to work too hard to explain myself.

Posted by kgs at December 7, 2003 07:33 PM

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