Thursday, 16 December 2010

The male librarian gift guide

Once again Christmas unexpectedly descends on the country. For families across the country and indeed the world, the obvious question is raised: what do you buy for the librarian in your life? That friendly / grumpy (delete as applicable) person who finds you stuff and uses words like 'literacy', 'interoperability' and 'OPAC'. The delightful Ms. Jaffne has written a gift guide for female librarians and, digusted at this rampant exclusionism, I have penned this gift guide for the lesser-spotted male librarian.

All male librarians (or indeed shambrarians) look like this. They are brooding, fragile, poetic creatures bringing order out of chaos, ingesting too much science-fiction stuff, and looking vaguely foppish while doing it. So what does one buy for this frail, geeky individual? An iPad or a Kindle is too risky (they could start frothing at the mouth and ranting about the sanctity of the physical book). Better to choose something from this tacky awesome list.

Male librarians wear clothes reluctantly: as long as the clothes are made of fabric which doesn't fall apart, they aren't too picky. Go to any library conference and gaze in awe at the mismatched suits, radiant ties, occasional jeans, and shoes held together with tape. In general, anything that makes him feel more like Sherlock Holmes will be fine no matter how outdated it may be. To keep their shirts from falling apart, male librarians wear cufflinks (stylish book-related cufflinks) and ties. If your male librarian has a strong opinion about the books versus computers debate (and believe me, if he does, you will know about it), let him proclaim that allegiance proudly with either a book tie or a computer tie. Don't forget, he works in an emasculating profession and needs constant reassurance of his manliness so make him feel more authoritarian with this hardcore jacket.
(May not be representative of male librarians)
If your male librarian uses the term 'militant librarian' a lot, talks about 'echo chambers' and fancies himself as some kind of informationy Robin Hood, this bag will make him feel like Che Guevara and Julian Assange all rolled into one. Of course he'll need some badges to go on that bag: they can stick it to Google or enforce the grumpy reluctant librarian stereotype. Many young librarians spend much time on Twitter causing their language skills to slowly atrophy and so will feel right at home with this text speak badge or any of these Twitter T-shirts (Twi-shirts?).

Everyone knows that librarians love books (why else would they become librarians, right?) so what about a guide to the murky world of libraries? There's a good chance your male librarian likes comic books (if you're unsure about this, ask him whether he prefers Marvel or DC. If his answer is anything other than 'I don't know' or if he uses the term 'graphic novel', comic books are a good choice). Unshelved is a good source of comedy that only a minority of the population understand or there is always James Turner's seminal treatise on the subject of male librarians, Rex Libris.

Finally, you could always play it safe and buy a tiny effigy of the ultimate male librarian - the template from which we are all wrought - Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

From Penny Arcade
Merry Christmas to all library staff; male, female and everything in between. Have a good holiday season and steel yourself for the deluge of books to be returned in the first week of January.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why did I not have this list before I made my Christmas list.