Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kyle Cassidy photographs librarians at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting (PHOTOS).

When you think of a librarian, what image comes to mind? Photographer Kyle Cassidy
ventured to the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in
Philadelphia in January to explore that question. In between networking,
educational events, and panels, librarians from across the country
stopped by Cassidy’s makeshift studio to sit for a portrait. The result
is a celebration of the diversity in the librarian community. “I
realized I had a stereotype in my mind of what a librarian looked like,
which is one of the reasons I wanted to do this project. Whenever I
think something is true, I'm often wrong,” Cassidy said. “I tend to
think of librarians as the ones I know from my public library and from
school. But there are librarians who are researchers and archivists
doing extraordinarily technical work. There are librarians who work in
specialized fields who have to know about archaeology, for example, or
medicine or research science. The field was broader than I had gone in
there thinking.”

Ingrid Abrams, a librarian at Brooklyn Public Library who
participated in the project, said diversity among librarians extends
beyond their professional expertise. “If you haven't been in
a library since you were a little kid, or maybe have only
seen libraries in movies, you might think we're all a bunch of
humorless, shushing curmudgeons,” Abrams said via email. “The truth is,
we're a variety of ages. We're every race, ethnicity and religious
background imaginable. We can be the type who wears a suit and tie every
day or someone like me, who has pink hair and dresses in bright colors.
Not that any part of how we look really matters, but if the
only librarian you've ever seen is the librarian ghost from the first
scene of Ghostbusters, I assure you we're a really dedicated and friendly bunch.”

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