On a Sunday night last month at Daddy’s, a bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, more than a dozen people in their 20s and 30s gathered at a professional soiree, drinking frozen margaritas and nibbling store-bought cookies. With their thrift-store inspired clothes and abundant tattoos, they looked as if they could be filmmakers, Web designers, coffee shop purveyors or artists.Hmmm, powerful opening. I smell hipster... handbook.
When talk turned to a dance party the group had recently given at a nearby restaurant, their profession became clearer.
“Did you try the special drinks?” Sarah Gentile, 29, asked Jennifer Yao, 31, referring to the colorfully named cocktails.
“I got the Joy of Sex,” Ms. Yao replied. “I thought for sure it was French Women Don’t Get Fat.”
Ms. Yao could be forgiven for being confused: the drink was numbered and the guests had to guess the name. “613.96 C,” said Ms. Yao, cryptically, then apologized: “Sorry if I talk in Dewey.”
No problem Ms. Yao, sorry I'm going to leave you now and go talk to the normal people over there. Oh, and the name of my drink is "Shut the f*ck up," I mean "Shush."
That would be the Dewey Decimal System. The groups’ members were librarians. Or, in some cases, guybrarians. “He hates being called that,” said Sarah MurphyOh, he hates being called a "guybrarian?" That's weird. What is he trying to act cool or something? From these first couple paragraphs, I'm thinking this must be a piece about how we think librarians are nerdy, but they're like incredibly way nerdier than we ever imagined.
Ms. Murphy was speaking of Jeff Buckley, a reference librarian at a law firm, who had a tattoo of the logo from the Federal Depository Library Program peeking out of his black T-shirt sleeve.Oh my, a tattoo of the FDLP? (yeah I throw that acronym around like nothing, don't you?) What is this guy, some sort of Library Avenger or something?
Librarians? Aren’t they supposed to be bespectacled women with a love of classic books and a perpetual annoyance with talkative patrons — the ultimate humorless shushers?Yes! or ... I don't know, maybe?! No?? Why are you asking me about librarians again? Aren't they people just like you and me? What are these silly questions? Is this the NY Times? I thought I was reading the NY Times. Can someone please point me to the NY Times.
Not any more. With so much of the job involving technology and with a focus now on finding and sharing information beyond just what is available in books, a new type of librarian is emerging — the kind that, according to the Web site Librarian Avengers, is “looking to put the ‘hep cat’ in cataloguing.”Oh snap! That guy really is a Library Avenger. Uh-oh, I have late fees from 1986 (book: "Are You There God, It's Me TAN" also known as "Ketel 1-and-Cranberry"), ... and now I'm kind of scared.
When the cult film “Party Girl” appeared in 1995, with Parker Posey as a night life impresario who finds happiness in the stacks, the idea that a librarian could be cool was a joke.Two cool librarians walk into a bar ... HA!
It's funny because it's true.
Now, there is a public librarian who writes dispatches for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, a favored magazine of the young literati. “Unshelved,” a comic about librarians — yes, there is a comic about librarians — features a hipster librarian character.A librarian who writes for McSweeney's? REALLY?!!!? What's next? Popcorn at movie theaters? Also, THERE'S A COMIC ABOUT LIBRARIANS?!!? You are seriously blowing my mind right now. That's, like, totally impossible to comprehend. What's next? A comic about a talking beagle who sleeps on his dog-house and occasionally flies in WWII planes?
And, in real life, there are an increasing number of librarians who are notable not just for their pink-streaked hair but also for their passion for pop culture, activism and technology.Well duh. Anyone who streaks their hair pink is doing it because they're passionate. PINK: P is for pop culture, I is for actIvism, N is for techNology, and K is for Konichiwa bitches!!!
“We’re not the typical librarians anymore,” said Rick Block, an adjunct professor at the Long Island University Palmer School and at the Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science, both graduate schools for librarians, in New York City.
“When I was in library school in the early ’80s, the students weren’t as interesting,” Mr. Block said.
Tell Mr. Block he's a douche, and no one is signing up for his class at LIU this year.
For that we tab Jessamyn West, 38, the editor behind a site with the tagline, "putting the rarin’ back in librarian since 1999":
In a typical day, Ms. West might send instant and e-mail messages to patrons, many of who do their research online rather than in the library. She might also check Twitter, MySpace and other social networking sites, post to her various blogs and keep current through MetaFilter and RSS feeds. Some librarians also create Wikis or podcasts.You know, every day I wake up, turn on my computer and wonder "who am i?" Turns out, I'm a librarian! Wait a minute, you too?? Awesome! Good thing librarians -- along with blogs and online networking sites -- are cool then, huh. Also, Ms. West, there isn't a "rarin'" in "librarian." You should nix the tagline, the joke is too forced. It's the same reason Gawker nixed "putting the awe in Gawker" and Obama nixed "putting the Obama in hippobotamus" (hmm, hope that works out). You're either putting the "rarian" back, or you're doing nothing. That tricknology is not working on me!
Anybook, I don't know about this article. I feel like I'm looking at a big scoreboard that says Hipsters: 100, NY Times: 0. I don't see the story -- Hipsters have discovered an alternative to waiting tables? That's cool, most wait-staff I'm sure would take the $51K median salary over tips. But wait, you first need to scrounge up the money to get that most versatile of graduate degrees, the MLS! Sounds like a plan ... for hipsters with money and no real dreams!
Now if you were to take all these young hipster librarians and catch up with them in ten years, and see if they're still working in libraries, that might be interesting. That's the real heart of the librarian cliche; the older librarian coming to terms with their dead-end job. Williamsburg no longer welcomes them, so they hang out at home, alone, ordering book-drinks to themselves, "Are you there God, it's me TAN?" All night, every night. Now that's a story!
There was one other quote that could have led to something substantive:
Now here's something to dig into. Who's more meaningless: a publicist or a librarian?
"I wanted to do something different, something maybe more meaningful,” said Carrie Klein, 36, who used to be a publicist for a record label and for bands such as Radiohead and the Foo Fighters, but is now starting a new job in the library at Entertainment Weekly.
Let's ponder that in Williamsburg over a Complete Idiot's Guide to Being a Librarian and a shot of the Kama Sutra, shall we? Seriously, let's make it two shots of the Sutra, those librarian glasses always turn me on.
A Hipper Crowd of Shushers [NY Times]