Ending the Library Stereotype: Non-traditional practices for the 21st-century
Note: Last year’s LACUNY Institute 2020 was postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We have reopened the call-for-papers and panel proposals and encourage potential panelists to submit proposals that relate to the current conference theme as well as those related to the coronavirus.
Librarianship and libraries, through the eyes of the public, have consistently been viewed as a house of books and documents where librarians and library support staff help their patrons with readers’ advisory and directions. Though these elements of being a librarian exist, the stereotype of this is far from accurate.
Today in 2021, Librarians and library support staff perform a myriad of tasks in order to provide fluid functionality to academic, public and special collections libraries. These tasks create a multifaceted librarian where multi-departmental duties fall squarely on the shoulders of one librarian.
This year’s LACUNY Institute will illustrate this multifaceted librarian to gain understanding and perspective of the reality of librarianship as we enter a new era of technology and digital scholarship.
The underlying question LACUNY Institute 2021 aims to address is what role do 21st-century librarians and library support staff play in our society? Although perceptions about librarians have changed over time, librarian stereotypes still persist. This is the case even in popular culture. For instance, Barbara Gordon, Batgirl’s alter-ego, is a librarian with a doctoral degree, yet it is often speculated that the character’s role as an information professional is part of the character’s effort to conceal her identity by working in a safe, slow-paced environment.
Librarianship is a multifaceted and creative profession. This year’s conference will highlight the different roles that librarians play in our society as librarians wear different hats. We are mentors, supervisors, activists, instructors, unofficial guidance counselors, gamers, artists, and so forth. In some instances, we may even be the “cool” professor on campus.
The current COVID-19 global pandemic changed our lives. COVID-19 has required the annual LACUNY Institute to be held on a virtual platform.