Image, Public Perception, and Lego Librarians

I love seeing how the public and the media portray librarians. Whether it’s the shushing/conservative stereotype, “naughty librarian” stereotype, under-appreciated & over-worked public servant (this one is NSFW-but one of my faves!), dealing with inept patrons, or even ones that combine the brainy stereotype with sexiness - I eat it up. I wonder if accountants or architects feel the same way when they see their field portrayed?

Entering Pop Culture

So, how do we know when librarians have hit the big time? Lego has introduced a Lego Librarian – part of its minifigures series line. This line of minifigures is an eclectic group. Series #10, which the librarian belongs to, also includes a warrior woman, sad clown, and a paintball player among others. In fact, the librarian is the only viable career option in the set! How cool is that?

There are 150+ minifigures, only about 10 require a college degree, so the librarian is in rare company!

Here’s the Lego Librarian [screen capture from the Lego website]:

Screen shot 2013-07-06 at 11.35.20 PM

The official Lego Librarian, part of Minifigures Series 10.

OK, so it plays into several librarian stereotypes…but I would expect nothing less. The Lego character must be easily identifiable to the public: “Oh yeah, THAT is a librarian!” So, what do we have?…

  • Female? Check.
  • Glasses? Check.
  • Cardigan? Check.
  • Sensible hair? Check.
  • Book? Check.
  • Coffee cup that reads “Shhh!” Check.

Oranges and Peaches

The creators went to some lengths to add a bit of fun. There’s even an inside joke in regards to the “Oranges and Peaches” book. It’s a reference to the 1995 movie Party Girl starring Parker Posey as a library clerk. In the scene below, a patron asks for Darwin’s Origin of Species. The Parker character mistakes it for “Oranges and Peaches”:

A Biographical Story

The Lego Librarian comes with a brief bio. Again, it plays into some trite stereotypes, but it’s fun:

Books are just about the Librarian’s most favorite thing in the entire world. Reading them can take you on exciting adventures in far-off lands, introduce you to new friends and cultures, and let you discover poetry, classic literature, science fiction and much more. If only everybody loved to read as much as she does, the world would be a better place…and quieter, too! The Librarian feels that it’s extremely important to treat a book with the proper respect. You should always use a bookmark instead of folding down the corner of the page. Take good care of the dust jacket, and don’t scribble in the margins. And above all else, never – ever – return it to the library late!

It’s no surprise that the Lego Librarian is female. It should be. We’re a female-dominated profession. It makes sense. But I wanted to have some fun, so I decided to to see if I could make the librarian version of me – Mr. Library Dude. It was not hard.

I grabbed the Lego computer programmer minifigure. He’s wearing a sweater vest and glasses. Doesn’t that scream male librarian? I actually think I have that EXACT sweater vest! I added an iPhone (those who know me never see me without mine) and I invented the Mr. Library Dude Lego Librarian:

This is Mr. Library Dude.

This is Mr. Library Dude.

Lego Librarians on Parade

So besides the official Lego Librarian version and my knock-off, how might we portray other librarians in Lego form? Or what other ways are we perceived by peers or the public? I decided to take a stab at it and had a bit of fun. Maybe you even know a few of these. So here’s my satirical take. What would you add?

Note: Naturally, the LEGO images below are popular with children. Please be forewarned: there is a bit of cursing below.

Update: By popular request, I have added a children’s librarian. Look for the chicken suit!

“All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.”  :)

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168 thoughts on “Image, Public Perception, and Lego Librarians

  1. I love it! You should start your own Lego Librarians Mini Figure Series. I see endless possibilities.

  2. Pingback: Image, Public Perception, and Lego Librarians |...

  3. Totally love this.

  4. Great posting! All we need now is a lego library cat or owl for the side kick of the lego librarian. …
    Denise

  5. Please, no “Shhh!” Shushing is a prime example of poor people management skills!

  6. Oh, thank you for the cataloger mini-figure! <3
    I was so excited when I found the librarian mini-figure, and all on my own, too. I didn't have to have help from my niece, nephew, or husband (they're pros at this game). I took her picture and used her as my profile pic on all my social media sites and a bunch of my friend wanted to know how I got a Lego that looked like me. So the stereotype is obviously being reinforced daily. By me, apparently.

  7. Nailed it. Every single one.

  8. Judging from the last one, you have obviously caught a glimpse of me before my coffee. ;)

  9. This is brilliant!

  10. This is great! And yes, thanks for the cataloger. :-D

  11. Ugh, why do all those librarians have to have square feet? Can we PLEASE stop with the stereotypes.

  12. I want them all!!

  13. I am sure I see Ingrid Coleslaw in there. Someone needs to direct the creator of the original Lego Librarian to the This is What a Librarian Looks Like site….

  14. Inspired! Almost too true-to-life. In fact, I think I can attach real-librarian names to almost all of these figures.

  15. I altered mine so that the mug says “Ahhh!” instead of “Shhh!” I actually wrote to Lego about the stereotype, asking when the last time they were in a library was… since I have been a librarian for 20 years and never said Shhh to anyone (it may help that I’m a Music LIbrarian, so quiet is not generally expected in our area, but still…). That being said, the character looks rather like me – long dark hair, glasses, sensible-ish shoes – though I don’t wear sweaters because I get too hot in them. They actually wrote back and thanked me for drawing their attention to the fact that it’s such a stereotype and they will keep things like that in mind in the future.

    • That’s great that you wrote to Lego about the stereotype! I’d like to end that whole thing.
      Then again, if it was a woman in smart clothes carrying a tablet PC & coffee cup w/o the Shhh, people would mistake it for a teacher or a techie… (both of which librarians are, anyway…)

  16. one thing i noticed about all these lego librarians is that they lack noses. Why?

  17. I’m the “smiling but I really really hate you” library assistant!

  18. I am DYING! Thanks for the laugh. :)

  19. Pingback: “Rockstarism” and Librarianship | A Blog on LIST

  20. Where’s the sexy librarian?! This is awesome. I worked at the university library for a year in college and loved it.

  21. Pingback: Friday fun: Librarian stereotypes and legos | Ink and Vellum

  22. I love Legos but never thought up a Legos librarian. What does Lego think of this?

  23. Librarians everywhere are laughing! But I gotta say, where’s your children’s librarian in an outrageous costume and a puppet sidekick?

  24. Suddenly I want to be a librarian.

    Signed,

    Seemingly boring, unfeeling, cold-hearted but actually well-meaning HR person

  25. I loved Lego as a kid, but back then the only face options were “smiling man” and “smiling pirate with eyepatch.” We’ve come a long way.

    Great Lego figs, anyway!

  26. I now wish to have a collection of lego librarians.

  27. Interesting. This is a fine example of what Jacques Ellul identifies as sociological propaganda.

  28. We are all stereotypes. And yet just when you thought you have seen everything and everyone is different you find out you are wrong. A male librarian. Good one.

  29. This is awesome, love the one that quotes lines from Buffy!

  30. “My job is to write pointless peer-reviewed articles til I die. Which is hopefully soon.” – Bahahahahaha, Best blog post I’ve seen in a while. This totally made my week, thanks :)

  31. If I become a librarian do I get my very own “Shhh” coffee cup too?

  32. Hilarious! :D You should depict the librarian who has alter egos –knowledge management specialist, document /records manager, etc. I am/have been both + in former life/years, a librarian.

    Lego identities have been great to expose our psyches and work!

    For other professions: accountants get tired of being portrayed as numbers dweebs, etc.

  33. This is TOO funny!

  34. OMG, love it!!!! My son lucked out with the librarian mini-figure a couple of weeks ago. :) And I think I may know each of those librarians, hahaha!!! ;)

  35. Great post. Love the book reference, would have never known otherwise.

  36. I absolutely love all of your captions, lol. Especially the ‘no coffee’ Lego librarian.

  37. Love it! My dad is a librarian; he’s the “button up and khakis” one for sure. Except when he’s the “no coffee?!?!” one ~_^

  38. This is brilliant! As a librarian, I have come in contact with every one of these types and can claim a few for myself. Despite my own buttoned-up appearance, my favorite co-workers are the those with the pink hair . . .funny how that works out. . . Seriously, want to collect all of these.

  39. Hahaha! Seems as though in Legoland as long as you possess the standard issue SHHHHH! mug, you’re a librarian! Do they bestow those upon you when you graduate library school?

  40. Pingback: Reblog: Image, Public Perception, and Lego Librarians | wadingthroughbooks

  41. This is hilarious.

  42. Love this! Lego rocks! And so do libraries and librarians. Interesting what you said about how it’s interesting to see how librarians were portrayed, I used to work as a nurse and always found it interesting how we were either angels or ‘naughty’.

  43. Pingback: Which Lego Librarian are you? | Allegany County Library System Director's Notes

  44. As an accountant, I can’t say I enjoy our stereotype as much as you do yours ;)

  45. The librarian at my school kept me from going crazy. This was the least that Lego could do. Great post.

  46. Angry Librarian is my favorite!

  47. oh how I love Lego, Libirarians, glasses and yes even cardigans … now all i need is the shh mug

  48. These characters are wonderful! And Lego!

  49. I would so ask someone to get this for me as a gift. Love this post! :) Very clever.

  50. Dude, that is so freakin cute! Do you portray yourself as one of them? I think it’s great how you are so open-minded to these many perceptions of a librarian… You are really not the average librarian! Plus that Sssshhh thing is so stereotyped………. :D

  51. Love the post, loved the customised mini-me’s too.

  52. This gives me a desire to collect Legos. I need an entire set of librarian Legos! Pronto!

  53. Just fantastic… I loved every bit of this…

  54. Your Lego Librarians are amazing! I could easily see these as a real collection.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  55. Well done and congrats on the FP! Damn funny – loved the captions. “Bibliometrics”…lol. Great job. Winner.

    Paul

  56. How about the awkwardly introverted Research Librarian who decides to jump right into an Elementary School Library?

  57. Pingback: Linkubator Sunday Roundup | July 22 – 28 | Library as Incubator Project

  58. I loved this–so much fun!

  59. Heh. I often have my hair up in a bun, secured with hairsticks. The kids love it, and at least five of them have drawn me with my bun. You need one holding a comic book, though … ^_^

  60. Haha! I love legos! Thank you posting!

  61. ok, this is hysterical and makes me want to overturn my son’s lego box and start designing. thanks for the laugh!

  62. This is brilliant!

  63. Awesome. Really cool and funny, too.

  64. Can I use one of these as my profile pic???

  65. i love lego and all their versions, from a soldier, starwars, brides to librarians. that’s so creative. are they, the librarian versions, still in stores? great post!

  66. Where are the black librarians lol

  67. I am most definitely an amalgamation of many of these images, which just goes to prove that you can’t quite typecast “a librarian”. BTW, I linked to this story from the Librarian Images page in the Librarian Resources section of my site.

  68. Pingback: Image, Public Perception, and Lego Librarians | Adventures of a Blonde Librarian

  69. Reblogged this on Bookmark People and commented:
    My kids’ love the bods from the library… now they can play librarians!

  70. I can quote from Buffy. I actually read the books I recommend. I desperately want to retire. I’m grossly underpaid for my skill set and education. Yes! I am a librarian.

  71. Funny Blog…enjoyed reading the posts…..

  72. OMG love all of these . i just graduated from library school and i lgot a huge laugh at all of these. can i add all the figurenes to my wishlist

  73. Pingback: Notes on Lego Librarians & Shout-Out to Children’s Librarians | Mr. Library Dude

  74. I qualify for 2 of these – I’m the one in the chicken suit that all the older librarians hate for my enthusiasm! This was sooooo funny – and scary, I recognised many colleagues in this!

  75. I’m a super patron of our local library. And a fan of legos, too, of course. Who isn’t? This is so quirky and funny. Loved it!

  76. So accurate! It reminds me of my years as a librarian, and the stories I hear from my friends who still are.

  77. Want this as a BIG poster please!!! Perfect to have at my desk.

  78. You must have kids, right? Otherwise how did you manage such an amazing collection of mash-ups? Or did you spend a fortune just for this one post?

  79. Reblogged this on Impybat's Emporium and commented:
    As one who is in the process of applying to a School Library Media Studies grad program, I approve :) I also love quality time with my cats.
    I’m not trying to be cliche, it just sort of happened…

  80. I want at least one of each!!

  81. I love all of them. Although I have a bad feeling that I’m too close to the alternalibrarian one…

  82. Pingback: Flapjack Friday Faves [08.02] | Upon a Sunny Day

  83. The best article I ever read. Thanks for some fun!

  84. Pingback: Librarian Personality Types, sans Legos: A Look at Real Colors and StrengthsQuest | Mr. Library Dude

  85. This is awesome, but I am struck by the lack of people of color in this collection!!!

  86. Pingback: Why are all your Lego librarians white? | Mr. Library Dude

  87. Reblogged this on College Ready and commented:
    Oh this makes me smile for days!!! Thanks Mr Librarian Dude! I def. know a few on the list!!

  88. English professors have a lot in common w. librarians! Especially that ever-present coffee mug! (And I speak from experience!)

  89. You have a great imagination! Thanks for the glimpse into the complex world of librarian genres.

  90. Reblogged this on Crafty Wife and commented:
    I have a massive love of all things lego, so when I saw this Freshly Pressed post I just had to reblog it for you

  91. I love it. Yoda might also make a good librarian !!!!

  92. I love this!!!!!!

  93. Lego Librarians!! Brilliant!

  94. also fun… the “Nightvale” descriptions of the library summer reading program.

  95. This is awesome! Librarians need more attention! I also need to show these to my kid to see if she can get into the fun of changing up all the people in such a creative way. Right now she just likes the lego friends set.

  96. Pingback: Lego Librarian Reinterpreted as Hipster Librarian, Warrior Librarian, and More

  97. AWESOMENESS!!!
    Please do a Circulation Supervisor!

  98. Pingback: Links Galore | Annie Cardi

  99. i’m officially using the librarian with a whip as avatar from now on! <3

    thank you, very much <3

    a brazilian librarian

  100. The librarian with a whip will be my avatar for my fantasy football league this year, for sure! Not sure how to do one for my job – database management (you know, I’m the one adding/updating authority files w/death dates!) but these are bloody brilliant! Huzzah for the Parker Posey reference, too!

  101. Pingback: Librarian Legos! | Paperback Fool

  102. Pingback: Swiss Army Librarian » Snapshot of a Future Male Librarian :: Brian Herzog

  103. Reblogueó esto en Concepto Biblioy comentado:
    Porque hay tanta variedad de Biblios como personas…

  104. Pingback: Lego Librarians | serious fun

  105. Pingback: Pressing Matters: August 9, 2013, Edition | Candlemark & Gleam

  106. Loved reading this!

  107. HI, I’m a librarian in the UK (at Kingston Uni, near London, and my colleagues and I love the lego librarians! I think I’d be the one smiling and hating everyone on a bad day! We wondered if we could use some of the characters in our teaching sessions (obviously with acknowledgements to your brilliance in creating them :))

  108. Pingback: The Lego Librarian in action « Reel Librarians

  109. Reblogged this on Vagabondia and commented:
    This may be the most brilliant thing I have ever seen. Love the librarian stereotypes. Which one are you?

  110. Found this from a link in the latest Australian Library and Information Association newsletter. Why didn’t I know about this brilliant site earlier? I love the Buffy librarian – and yes it looks just like me.
    With permission this will now become my profile picture :)

  111. Lose the shhh! cup please.

  112. Pingback: Barbara Fister’s Public Voice, Lego Librarians, and Midsummer Thoughts

  113. Brilliant! Just love the Lego Librarians! My daughter (11) searched and squeezed many a mini figures package to find one for my birthday. She is proudly displayed on my desk and is my profile pic on FB! I’m inspired now to change her look!

  114. Pingback: The Library in Lego Form (aka the absolute last post I will write about Lego librarians) | Mr. Library Dude

  115. Pingback: Monday Fun Day: Silly Library Links | AzLA College and University Libraries Division Blog

  116. Can I use one as my avatar? Thank you SO MUCH! Seriously funny!!!! Can non-librarians get this?

  117. Pingback: Cultural Products and Creativity: The “TMZ” Video and the Lego Librarians | All About Work

  118. Pingback: Be Our Guest For Some Projectile Vomit: Sweltering and Swearing in August, Day 3 | Nerds in Wonderland

  119. Hat dies auf Solvey Viorsdottir rebloggt und kommentierte:
    und hier noch einer… als Lego-Fan überlege ich jetzt ob ich mir diese Bibliothekarin vielleicht zulegen sollte :D

  120. Hello ! :)
    I’m a French librarian and have a blog about… well, books, reading, etc !
    As I’m writing a short blog post about books & Legos, I just found your blog post (thks Google !).
    And I love it ! Ah ah, that’s exactly THIS ! (in France too, same public perception about librarians *sigh*, I even published a blog post about it).
    So, just to tell : great post, and I’m gonna link it in my post about Legos :)
    And thank you, I didn’t get the reference for Oranges & Peaches before reading your post (this minifig found a place at home, I love my job, can’t help it ^^”)
    Lullaby
    PS please be kind about my not-so-good English ^^”

  121. I especially like Conan the Librarian…a favourite alter-ego of mine for ages!!!!

  122. If I could I would clip in the photo of me doing storytime with a chicken hat on…sometimes it’s not a whole chicken suit…just a hat…on a bald head…resembling an egg…doing storytime

  123. Pingback: Des livres et des Legos | Les histoires de Lullaby

  124. Pingback: Librarian Fun | libfanguy

  125. I’m a little frightened you know my coworkers so well. Have we met?

    (Incidentally, none of the kids ever get my Buffy references either. They’re all too busy watching Glee on their newfangled technologies while nearly running into the checkout desk. Seriously considering putting up a small obstacle to see if they trip.)

  126. Pingback: Ny bok om bibliotekarien som stereotyp | Peter Alsbjers blogg!

  127. Pingback: The Art of Snark: Creative Disagreement | The Daily Post

  128. But my Lego Librarian looks just like me, and I am a librarian!
    Bruce Farrar

  129. I remember in my first Library class in college we were talking about stereotypes. Sadly, in the end, we were all the same. Hair up in a messy bun, glasses, cats waiting for us at home and introverts. Go figure.

  130. OK, so how many of you got a Lego librarian on ebay???

  131. My guest lecturer about bibliometrics looked eerily similar to the bibliometrics librarian.

  132. Pingback: Sunday Smiles: Lego librarians | ...As You Like It...

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  135. Pingback: Lego Librarians | Liblog

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  137. Reblogged this on Balduqueando 2 punto 0 and commented:
    Me encanta, quiero unos legos para #archiveros (quitamos la taza y ya…) :)

  138. Pingback: LIBR 200- Reflection Blog #6 | katmoss

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