Problem-solvers & problem-makers: The librarians of the new South
- radio, university, makerspace, essay, archives, stereotypes, librarians
Despite the recent focus on dispelling stereotypes (including a 2014 book on the topic), the bespeckled, bunned-shushing-spinster persists in the minds of many Southerners (and Americans, for that matter), especially if they had such a librarian in their school or hometown. As a 2007 New York Times article heralded, there is a “hipper crowd of shushers”—the next generation of librarians that has been filling in the roles previously held by Baby Boomers, many of whom are making their way towards retirement. And with them a new stereotype has arrived: they are steampunk, tattooed, black-rimmed glasses wearing hipsters here to make libraries cool again. This new image, however, isn’t much of an improvement. Since it, too, denies librarians of the spectrum of identities that they inhabit. Here you’ll find an introduction to the unique voices of the next wave of librarians and the wide and incredible range of work they are doing on behalf of all of us. From saving the audiovisual record of Appalachia to making the Internet of Things accessible for everyone, the librarians you will meet are invariably smart, creative, entrepreneurial, and dedicated to making our South a better place.