My name is Ally and I am a Librarian.
I am also a Librarian who cannot stand fictional librarian characters.
I love my job and I am very proud to call myself a Librarian. I am also passionate about freedom of information, which to me means that people can borrow whatever they want and that I will never censor their choices. Nor will I stand for people attempting to remove content from libraries.
Libraries will of course stick to the traditional censorship guidelines of films and television shows. In my current library these restrictions are related to ages and what patron accounts can borrow MA15+ and R18+ movies.
I say that I can’t stand reading books with librarian characters because so many of the authors get the profession wrong. While yes, I may check a lot of books in and out, shelve, and help people with reference questions – I never shush people and I also never stop people from borrowing ‘inappropriate’ content.
Too many times I have put down books because a main librarian character has stopped someone from borrowing something ‘inappropriate.’ In two rage inducing occasions it has been librarian characters stopping teens from borrowing books about sex.
I do not care who you are, people can borrow what they want and if teens are expressing an interest in sex, then good for them. They’re in the right place, in a library, researching.
As a profession we do not need more people perpetuating ideas like this. Libraries are safe places where you can research, read, or access information. We should not judge, we should not shush, and we should not be telling people they can’t borrow something.
Truth of the matter is, if it’s not acceptable to borrow – it won’t be in the library.
Hate speech and calls to violence against other peoples – should not be in a library. Except, in cases whereby they become historical texts, like ‘Mein Kampf,’ which is available for loan in my library but is housed separately in our non-public access stack.
I can’t stand reading books with librarian main characters because so often I am disappointed by the authors. As a profession we’re already misrepresented as sexy white ladies who shush people, or grumpy old white ladies who shush people in boring, out of touch places filled with only books – we’re more than that and you’d understand that if you actually visited a library.
Librarian characters should do better and to every author I have stopped reading because of your representation of us – you can do better.
Thank you for reading my rant 😅 If you’d like to know more about why I’m so passionate about freedom of information and the right to access, check out the (american) Library Bill of Rights. While not every librarian you meet will be as passionate as me or switched on about the ethics of the profession, it’s just another aspect of the job that not many people think about.
Are there things that authors and other media get wrong about your job? Let me know!