Saturday, September 19, 2009

Libraries and Librarians in Children's Books

How librarians and libraries are depicted in the popular culture is a topic which sometimes gets those of in the library profession fired up when it is a negative or stereotypical depiction. It is also a topic that is of great interest to those who collect and study librariana. How libraries and librarians are depicted in children's books is a specialized aspect of this topic. Norman D. Stevens, librariana collector extraordinaire, has taken advantage of a WorldCat feature to create a bibliography of children's books that feature librarians or library related topics. Stevens says this is only a partial list and that it will be expanded in the future. I also came across a website about "The Image of Libraries In Popular Culture" on which Adriane Allan discusses "Librarians in Children's and Teen Literature". This website also includes a bibliography. Matthew Z. Heintzelman has created a web based bibliography of Children's Picture Books With Libraries and Librarians. There was an interesting discussion of the 1960 children's book I Want to be a Librarian on the Awful Library Books blog. Books In A Box by Stuart Stotts (Big Valley Press, 2005) is a children's book that has a very positive depiction of Lutie Stearns, Wisconsin library crusader and advocate. Stearns helped establish both traveling libraries and public libraries throughout Wisconsin. She was one of the first inductees into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame.

1 comment:

Catherine Arnott Smith said...

It has long been clear to me that in children's books featuring zoo animals living anthropomorphically, the librarian is invariably the zoo animal with her hair in a bun and wearing glasses. I am a library school prof and former librarian and my husband also holds an MLS, so our son has learned about librarian stereotyping from the womb.