Librarians are a funny lot in many ways. No more so than the fact that we seem to love t-shirts celebrating our profession. I mean, there really is an amazing number of librarian t-shirts available. Cafepress, which is a major online t-shirt retailer, has 5,720 designs alone, and that is just one site. Zazzled, The Lipstick Librarian, New York Public Library, to name but a few more places and sites which have librarian related apparel. I myself own a New York Public Library t-shirt (love it), and actually have a new librarian t-shirt on the way, which I ordered yesterday morning while researching this blog post ( http://t-shirts.cafepress.com/item/the-circ-and-reference-shirt/73245072 ).
Of course it does not stop there. What about modified librarians? There is a website ( http://www.bmeworld.com/gailcat/ ) and a Flickr group ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/modifiedlibrarians/ ). These sites celebrate librarians who have tattoos or piercings or frequently a combination of both. I myself have four tattoos, so I guess I see a bit of what this is about. The image of the profession lends itself perfectly to a juxtaposition with the tattooed, pierced, funky t-shirt wearing being and I guess that is the point. Nobody is surprised by the tattooed biker, but stick a tattoo on the librarian and it becomes a celebration of the inner rebel within the mild mannered respectable citizen.
And yet, as we all know, and certainly anyone who has been to a LIANZA conference can attest, this is a myth. Vendors from Australia and further abroad always talk about how “conference goes off” Apparently we New Zealand librarians know how to party. And having been to a couple of Australian conferences I would have to agree. We make our cousins across the Tasman look a little bit tame at conference dinners. However, maybe this is the once a year release of pent up frustration by the timid squares with buns and cardigans…… This years conference will be a challenge as there is no actual dinner, but I am planning to do my best to keep the reputation alive and have a damn good party. Karaoke? Yes I jolly well think so!
So, have you got a tattoo or a piercing? What about a fascinating collection of library t-shirts? Leave a comment and let us know…….