July 14, 2003

Marryin' Update

I was finally able to secure a copy of the article. I twas published by American Libraries in January 1986.

It was filled with statistics, and even though Paul Wiener didn't want to go the "anecdotal" route in telling th stories of the 180 (that's right, 180) librarian couples that he found, or found him (only 98 responded to his survey), I feel that I want to tell a few stories in my article. The mere fact that librarians marry librarians is beyond the trivial, in my opinion. There is something to it, as Wiener points out many times during the article.

I may send out a survey, but that would be too impersonal. Or I'll write two articles, one filled with statistics and the other with stories. I have been avoiding statistics since my early college years and don't intend to jump back into percentages, thank you very much.

We'll see. I have a nice number of poeple that are jumping (well not jumping, skipping maybe) at the chance to assist in this article. I'm sure it will be great. Again, your input is welcome.

Posted by Steven at July 14, 2003 04:50 PM | TrackBack

I think incorporating some anecdotal material into whatever you do--either as part of a more statistical research piece or a separate story profiling individuals--is a great idea. I wouldn't shy away from statistics either, but the stories are where it's at!

Posted by: Mike on July 14, 2003 11:55 PM

what about librarians who marry people in professions that have similarities to librarianship? Like librarians who marry teachers (I did!), since most librarians do some form of instruction these days, and teachers also tend to work in public service. Or librarians marrying IT workers?

I think those numbers would be very high.

Posted by: Fiona on July 15, 2003 05:11 AM

Stephen: Forgive me, but I think revisiting those of us who marry within our profession isn't worth the effort. I remember the article vividly, and at the time thinking, "Why would we, or anyone else, even begin to care?"

I am not knocking your effort to update Weiner's article, and it appears that I am the only negative voice so far. In fact, I wish you much success. But the fact that as a profession, we would even care, absolutely astounds and confounds me. Do we see articles about doctors marrying doctors, scientists marrying scientists, lawyers marrying lawyers, pipefitters marrying pipefitters, algebraic topologists marrying algebraic topologists? Why should librarians care if they marry within their profession?

In Edmonton, a number of my colleagues have partners who are also librarians. I have librarian friends throughout Canada and the US who have librarian spouses and partners. I have no particular interest in reading about their lives any more or less than I would any of my other friends (or colleagues). What concerns me is that somehow, in an undefined way, interest in ourselves in this fashion simply contributes to the stereotype. Are we, as a profession, so nondescript that we need to know about something like librarian-librarian marriages? Eep!

At the same time, word comes that librarians have been immortalized with a librarian doll that looks dresses as if it just stepped out of a time machine from the 1940s, and has a moveable arm that "shushes" you. Does disapproval of this doll suggest that some of us don't have a sense of humour? (This is another discussion thread I've seen.) I'd say no - some of us are bone dead tired of the continuing persistence and propogation of the librarian stereotype, and along with it, the need to even talk about it.

I appear to be in a minority, but I wanted to let you know how I'm feeling about this. That said, I hope your project goes well, good luck with it. I am posting something about this on the STLQ, and will encourage anyone who's interested in the project to contact you.

BTW, I have a great sense of humour. (It is permitted in Canada to have one!) :-)

Posted by: randy on July 15, 2003 10:39 AM

Oops. Sorry, I wrote "Stephen" instead of "Steven" in the previous post. Morning coffee isn't coursing through the veins just yet. - Randy

Posted by: randy on July 15, 2003 10:59 AM

I guess I agree with randy, actually. It was an odd article when it came out. Redoing it may not do much more than fuel the suspicion that librarians spend WAY too much time worrying about their image.

And if there's a point to the article (other than that birds of a feather frequently flock together?), then including "people in similar professions" seems to lose that point. Although at least it would clearly include my wife & I (she has an MLS, I don't, which is why we didn't volunteer for the earlier article or this one).

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