Real Talk

We revealed last week that when we’re not watching 20 year old TV reruns or imagining dream outfits for our favourite celebrities, we make our real money as professional librarians. You may be asking how girls with such glamorous jobs come home at night and still want to talk about pop culture and fashion.

What? You weren’t wondering that? Is it because the librarian stereotype is actually one of the least fashionable professions you can think of? Probably.

Let’s recap. There are two images that come to mind when most people think about librarians:

1)The first is the severly fashion challenged. She’s a bad tempered spinster-type lady who seems loathe to actually let anyone touch the books. She’s dowdy, her skirts are too long, her pants are too short, and she’s probably got half a dozen cats at home and is wearing the cat themed sweater to prove it. For visuals see Donna Reid in It’s a Wonderful Life (the alternate reality part) or Hilda Plowright in The Philadelphia Story or pretty much every other librarian referenced in a movie or TV show. Just for reference, Hilda Plowright’s librarian is my fav. She’s a kooky one.

2)The second is less pathetic in the fashion arena, but she’s got other issues. She has a bit of a reserved exterior but you just know she’s hiding a secret passionate soul. She’s wearing a harmless pencil skirt, but it’s a touch snug, and there is one too few buttons done up on her crisp white shirt. When she scolds you about your over due charges you feel a little naughty and hand over the fifty cents. Her hair is in a bun and if you’re lucky she’ll shake it out seductively for you in the 3rd floor stacks. For visuals try googling sexy librarian. It seems the sexy librarian stereotype pops up less in major ways like on TV or in films and more in mens fantasies and LensCrafter’s commercials.

Here’s a remedy to the dowdy one.


Stop wearing pants that are too short (I’m looking at you 76% of OLA attendees) and wear cropped pants. They’re too short on purpose, so instead of looking pitiful you look kind of chic. Remember that cat themed sweater? Try a cute cardigan with a cat inspired print, leopard, cheetah, heck rock tiger print if you can find it. Or, throw caution to the wind and show that librarians are flexible open-minded people who like dogs too with a dalmatian print! Add a floaty sleeveless blouse with a bow and you’ll be holding true to the buttoned up image, while keeping it youthful and current. Throw out your crumbly orthopedic loafers and replace them with a great loafer inspired wedge. It’s modern and grown up and still screams ‘librarian’. Finally, one of the best things about being a librarian is people kind of expect you to be kooky so you can get away with flashy plaid specs and a giant bold coloured bag. Fill it with anything from bodice rippers to classic literature and you’re well on your way to librarian chic.

How will I go about redefining the slutty librarian image you ask? I won’t, because I can’t. That one’s all true.


2 responses to “Real Talk

  1. Lisa

    I love this post. As a librarian, I feel like people constantly expect me to look dowdy and boring, so I try to look young and fun for work. You know, within reason. I think I am on track, since I own all the things in the above collage.

    I had to laugh at the OLA reference. Seriously ladies, get some pants that fit! I wonder if they all started out as cute and quirky young librarians, and ended up shrouded in cat sweaters and ill fitting pants. I’m scared.

    And, guess what people? There are male librarians too. See, The Time Traveller’s Wife — Henry. Happily, they seem to have the cute argyle sweater/grey dress pants/messenger bag thing down pat.

  2. I’m fully confidant none of us will ever wear a cat themed sweater. At least not in a not ironic way.

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