Just hearing the word conjures images in ones mind. Librarian….
Buns and glasses, long skirts and sensible shoes… geeky, nerdish, innocent, naïve, socially awkward… or maybe the sexy librarian… or the hero… So many images come to mind.
I have to be honest, when I first considered how librarians are stereotyped in the movies and on tv, I kind of had to think about it. My thoughts ran first to those shows I remembered as a kid, like Between the Lions and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and Reading Rainbow. But, my favorite librarian character as a kid was probably Linda Bove, the Deaf librarian on Sesame Street. Then I though of several television shows where librarians and libraries were prominent, like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer or one of my current favorites, Once Upon a Time. Then of course there are movies… I had never honestly thought about how many references there are to librarians and libraries in pop culture. So, I started with some google searches and then I started a Pinterest board of library stuff to gather my thoughts. It was crazy how quickly I had all those pins and how stereotypical most of them actually were. (And how addicted I now am to pinning to that board!)
It was interesting how many examples I found that related to Deaf culture and sign language. Of course, there was Linda the Librarian from Sesame Street. I was not at all surprised by that. I was more surprised by some of the other examples I found. I was pleasantly surprised as I was not actually expecting to see much result from searching for Deaf culture, librarians, and media. I now specifically want to see Universal Signs,a 2008 independent film in American Sign language with English subtitles about an academic librarian who gains the trust of a deaf patron. I am interested to see more of how the Deaf community sees librarians.
My personal favorites among my Pinterest finds were pins for the movies and television series starring Noah Wyle. I have seen, even own, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. Wyle plays Flynn Carsen, a geeky, socially awkward guy who lands a job at the Met as the Librarian and ends up being the hero who must save the world. Now that I realize they exist, I find myself wanting to see Wyle’s two subsequent movies The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines and The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice, as well as the 2014 series The Librarians, in all of which he stars as Flynn Carsen.
If I could have Flynn Carsen’s job, I would definitely take it. Some day I will probably be that stereotypical hair in a bun, glasses on my nose librarian… but if I could pick? Definitely , the hero. Oh, I’ll freely admit I am not cut out for jumping off cliffs and roaming jungles, but the idea is intriguing. Carsen goes to the Met for what he thinks is a normal interview and ends up in a secret , magical library world that protects artifacts like Excalibur and Pandora’s box. He may be geeky and socially awkward, but he is the only one who can decipher the ancient dead language that is the key to saving the world. It’s a dream adventure.
It is almost amusing how many different stereotypes there are for a librarian. The sheer number of stereotypes for one title is an oxymoron. Though we like to put people in a box and certain titles bring to mind certain ideas, at the end of the day no two librarians are cut from the same cloth.