A few years ago, when I worked at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Karrmann Library (see right), a transparency kit called “Defining Ourselves: Myths and Realities for Women in Libraries” got weeded from the collection. Fortunately, I then found the deselected kit in my box — my research interest into librarian portrayals and stereotypes being well-known to our library staff– and I happily found a home for it in my personal collection.
The kit was produced in 1980 by the Wisconsin Women Library Workers, written by Donna Barkman and graphics by Marge Loch-Wouters. I was a member of the WWLW during my time in Wisconsin, and you can view their current website here. The kit consists of 18 transparencies and 1 guide with a script and questions. The purpose? To be used in programming on sex roles and stereotyping of women in libraries.
In the slideshow below, I’ve included pics of the script, transparencies, discussion questions, and more.
I like taking this kit out every now and again. There’s the nostalgia factor, of course, with the fun drawings and heavy ’70s style influence (the guy in the pantsuit and turtleneck is my current fave). But the point is still relevant. Although the focus here is on women in the librarian profession, it’s still all about image and assumptions based on those images. Which of the drawings depicts a “typical” — or rather, “stereotypical” — librarian or library worker? Have times changed all that much?
Let me know what you think and please leave a comment below.
And for those of you who are librarians or library buffs, the kit’s call number was in the HQ’s, specifically HQ 1075, which is the Library of Congress sub-classification for “Sex role.” You can read more details about the “Defining Ourselves” kit in WorldCat here.
- Stocks, types and stereotypes (reel-librarians.com)
- On the light-hearted side (reel-librarians.com)
- The First Librarian for the Library of Congress (lawlibraryblog.seattleu.edu)
- A personal world of books (jsnoekbrown.wordpress.com)
- It’s Preservation Week! How are you celebrating it? (blogs.loc.gov)