Librarian Wardrobe

Not always buns and sensible shoes, librarians at various types of libraries have different styles (and dress codes). Check it out here or submit your own.

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Starting up a new week of author interviews, today we look at archivist stereotypes for The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Perceptions and Presentations of Information Work on ACRL Press.

Terry Baxter is an archivist with the Multnomah County Records Program in Portland, Oregon
Q1: Provide a brief summary of your chapter 
It’s not just librarians with image problems! Archivists have them, too. Dusty, musty, shy, introverted – we’ve heard them all, gentle readers. This chapter discusses the image of archivists through the lenses of archival activism and community archives. While it focuses on the role of archivists and archives in Portland, Oregon’s queer community, most of the issues and conclusions are extensible to other archivists and communities across the United States. 
Q2: What do you think is one of the most pressing issues regarding the librarian (/archivist) stereotype?
One of the most pressing issues regarding the librarian stereotype is the dearth of qualified tattoo artists to meet the demand of ink-crazed librarians. JK, librarians! We archivists value diverse representations, too. I actually think my chapter reflects more on archivist stereotypes than librarian ones. Librarians have been very good at transitioning from an obsession with the stuff to one with people. Archivists are getting there, but perceptions about them still lag behind.
Q3: What sparked your interest to write this chapter?
I believe that everyday people often shy away from archives and archivists because of the misperceptions they have about them. But archives are powerful tools of change and need to be in more diverse hands and used for more diverse purposes. We archivists should always be breaking down barriers to the creative use of archives and figuring out ways to make our records and ourselves more accessible to people.
Q5: Who is your librarian role model? 
I have two. The first is Cheryl Metoyer. She gave a presentation in 2004 that fundamentally changed the way I have approached my work. Much of the literature around archival activism and social justice is grounded in theory. While that’s important, Cheryl’s depiction of the role of the heart and beauty in the work librarians do has been a guiding star for my own work in archives. The second is my mom, Pearl Baxter. She was my high school librarian at a small boarding school in Penang, Malaysia. In my high school summers, I learned how to reshelve, repair, select resources, catalog – all in the name of “keeping me out of trouble.” My mom was uncredentialed, but it was from her that I learned that libraries and librarians created vital spaces for interaction – with others, with ideas, with our own selves. 
Q5: Tell us something fun about yourself!
I have been blessed with a mostly fun life. One thing that people might be surprised at is that right in the middle of a 28-year career as a professional archivist, I owned a construction business with my brother. It failed after a couple years, but it was fun while it lasted and I learned new things and met new people. If you need a new deck …

Starting up a new week of author interviews, today we look at archivist stereotypes for The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Perceptions and Presentations of Information Work on ACRL Press.

Terry Baxter is an archivist with the Multnomah County Records Program in Portland, Oregon

Q1: Provide a brief summary of your chapter 

It’s not just librarians with image problems! Archivists have them, too. Dusty, musty, shy, introverted – we’ve heard them all, gentle readers. This chapter discusses the image of archivists through the lenses of archival activism and community archives. While it focuses on the role of archivists and archives in Portland, Oregon’s queer community, most of the issues and conclusions are extensible to other archivists and communities across the United States. 

Q2: What do you think is one of the most pressing issues regarding the librarian (/archivist) stereotype?

One of the most pressing issues regarding the librarian stereotype is the dearth of qualified tattoo artists to meet the demand of ink-crazed librarians. JK, librarians! We archivists value diverse representations, too. I actually think my chapter reflects more on archivist stereotypes than librarian ones. Librarians have been very good at transitioning from an obsession with the stuff to one with people. Archivists are getting there, but perceptions about them still lag behind.

Q3: What sparked your interest to write this chapter?

I believe that everyday people often shy away from archives and archivists because of the misperceptions they have about them. But archives are powerful tools of change and need to be in more diverse hands and used for more diverse purposes. We archivists should always be breaking down barriers to the creative use of archives and figuring out ways to make our records and ourselves more accessible to people.

Q5: Who is your librarian role model? 

I have two. The first is Cheryl Metoyer. She gave a presentation in 2004 that fundamentally changed the way I have approached my work. Much of the literature around archival activism and social justice is grounded in theory. While that’s important, Cheryl’s depiction of the role of the heart and beauty in the work librarians do has been a guiding star for my own work in archives. The second is my mom, Pearl Baxter. She was my high school librarian at a small boarding school in Penang, Malaysia. In my high school summers, I learned how to reshelve, repair, select resources, catalog – all in the name of “keeping me out of trouble.” My mom was uncredentialed, but it was from her that I learned that libraries and librarians created vital spaces for interaction – with others, with ideas, with our own selves. 

Q5: Tell us something fun about yourself!

I have been blessed with a mostly fun life. One thing that people might be surprised at is that right in the middle of a 28-year career as a professional archivist, I owned a construction business with my brother. It failed after a couple years, but it was fun while it lasted and I learned new things and met new people. If you need a new deck …

Work-friendly Halloween attire isn’t always easy to do when you work in a library…fortunately for me (Alexandria, Research Librarian & Archivist, The History Center, California), Dean Winchester from Supernatural and I share 98% of our wardrobe already. View high resolution

Work-friendly Halloween attire isn’t always easy to do when you work in a library…fortunately for me (Alexandria, Research Librarian & Archivist, The History Center, California), Dean Winchester from Supernatural and I share 98% of our wardrobe already.

From Halloween 2011 (if that still counts). We were library students at the at the time. Now gainfully employed as an archivist in Missouri and instructional services librarian in Virginia (from left to right). View high resolution

From Halloween 2011 (if that still counts). We were library students at the at the time. Now gainfully employed as an archivist in Missouri and instructional services librarian in Virginia (from left to right).

contract archivistprivate archiveDetroit area
I am technically an archivist but I wore the same kinds of outfits when I worked in an academic library. View high resolution

contract archivist
private archive
Detroit area

I am technically an archivist but I wore the same kinds of outfits when I worked in an academic library.

Barnard Library College Archivist Shannon O’Neill & Digital Archivist Martha Tenney wear blankets at work in the Archives. Academic libraryNew York, NY (yo) View high resolution

Barnard Library College Archivist Shannon O’Neill & Digital Archivist Martha Tenney wear blankets at work in the Archives

Academic library
New York, NY (yo)

Kara Jackman speaks during an Opening Reception for a student’s first Art Exhibition
Archivist and Research Collections Librarian
Academic Library 
Boston, Massachusetts  View high resolution

Kara Jackman speaks during an Opening Reception for a student’s first Art Exhibition

Archivist and Research Collections Librarian

Academic Library 

Boston, Massachusetts 

Archivists Jasmine Jones and Amanda Strauss, Simmons College GSLIS ‘13 dual degree students, after presenting at the Society of American Archivists
Human rights and social justice archivists
Residents of Boston, MA, transported to San Diego, CA View high resolution

Archivists Jasmine Jones and Amanda Strauss, Simmons College GSLIS ‘13 dual degree students, after presenting at the Society of American Archivists

Human rights and social justice archivists

Residents of Boston, MA, transported to San Diego, CA

Archivist
Special Library
Los Angeles, CA
One day I will get a coworker to take a picture instead of these mirror pictures. View high resolution

Archivist

Special Library

Los Angeles, CA

One day I will get a coworker to take a picture instead of these mirror pictures.

Archivist
Special Library
Los Angeles, CA
Going on the studio lot for a movie release picnic today. Gotta keep it classy :D. View high resolution

Archivist

Special Library

Los Angeles, CA

Going on the studio lot for a movie release picnic today. Gotta keep it classy :D.

Dresses are just so much more comfortable than pants! Sometimes it’s like wearing pajamas to work.
Archivist for an academic libraryGeorgia, USA View high resolution

Dresses are just so much more comfortable than pants! Sometimes it’s like wearing pajamas to work.

Archivist for an academic library
Georgia, USA