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Happy Hallowe’en all!

Here are this month’s APLA Continuing Education resources.  

Since it’s the spooky season, we decided to focus on stereotypes, both good and bad, and how they can affect our roles and lives as information professionals.

We’re all super strict about rules, right?

And we all insist on silence at all times, right?

We’re highly sexualized—but also sexless?

But surely we’re all cis women with long hair that we tie into severe buns?

With enormous cardigan collections?

What about cats? Enormous cat collections?

(Everyone? In the whole profession? Really?)

While some of these stereotypes are fairly harmless and light-hearted (bring on the cats and cardigans!), others can have negative consequences for library staff, spaces, and the communities we serve.

The “sexy librarian” stereotype can be particularly harmful and contribute to the sexual harassment of employees in library workplaces. In 2018, a group of students at Western University hosted a workshop for other MLIS students about sexual violence awareness. This workshop and a subsequent podcast transcript were published in the 2019 issue of Emerging Library and Information Perspectives, an academic journal run by students of Western’s MLIS program. Western students also built a blog to provide sources for library employees and students who may be facing sexual violence:

On a brighter note, pop music phenom (and classically trained flautist) Lizzo recently toured the Library of Congress and actually played President James Madison’s antique crystal flute! With just a few notes, she challenged anti-Black stereotypes as well as library stereotypes.

Most of the materials held in local and national libraries and repositories are meant to be appreciated, enjoyed—used—by the communities those libraries serve. Some of our holdings are more fragile than others, but musical instruments, in particular, may deteriorate over time if not used as intended.

To keep the fun going here are some #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob:

Stock photo of librarian shushing.

Stock photo of librarian in glasses looking sultry or sexualized.

Stock photo of librarian shushing with a pile of books.

Royalty free image. Creator: Lisa F. Young. Title: Librarian – QUIET! Watermark: dreamstime. https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-librarian-quiet-image2061046  

Royalty free image. Creator: dmitriisimakov. Title: a woman sits at a desk book librarian education. Watermark: 123RF. https://www.123rf.com/photo_134881420_a-woman-sits-at-a-desk-book-librarian-education.html

Adobe stock image. Creator: Svyatoslav Lypynskyy. Title: Portrait of a real Librarian. Watermark: Adobe Stock #99791989 https://stock.adobe.com/ca/search/images?k=librarian+adult&asset_id=99791989


To end today’s email, here is a list of movies and other media that portrays libraries/workers with an invitation to explore both positive and negative stereotypes. How many can you spot?


Again, Happy Hallowe’en and an even happier fall from the APLA Continuing Education Committee:

Martin Chandler (chair; CBU)
Sarah Bartlett (NLPL)
Corinne Gilroy (MSVU)
Meghan Kirkland (PANB)





Manager of Library Operations

Mount Saint Vincent University

Kjipuktuk (Halifax)

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(902) 457-6204


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