A short pencil skirt. A half buttoned button-up blouse. Black rimmed glasses. Knee-high socks. Hair pulled back in a tight bun. A finger held up to the mouth in a “shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” pose.
Yep, you guessed it: I just described the infamous and stereotypical “sexy librarian” Halloween costume. The less popular guy version includes a bow-tie, some glasses, and slicked back hair giving off that “nerdy” vibe. If you’re REALLY into it, you can even purchase a naughty librarian costume online for upwards of $64.95 on some websites…Wow!
Now, I can see the appeal in this approach to Halloween because most people already have the required clothes for such a costume, and it’s not hard to find a book to carry around. However, I think the aforementioned costume is honestly just a half-assed attempt at pretending to be something that everyone thinks is an easy job (by the way… you need a Master’s to be a librarian, people!).
First of all, librarians are already sexy. Their knowledge, acceptance, and compassion proves this more than any plunging cleavage or inch long skirt ever will. Secondly, librarians wear normal clothes. Lastly, this is a terrible representation of what a librarian is. If Halloween is a holiday designed to let people dress up as whatever they want for a day, then why is this the portrayal chosen for librarians?! By no means am I suggesting that everyone should stop being a librarian for Halloween… I’m just saying we should start doing it the right way.
To start, wear whatever outfit of nice clothes you would like. Seriously, it could be anything professional looking. Next, make yourself a name-tag. Mine would say “Daina the Librarian,” so people know what my costume is. You should definitely carry around your favorite book or two; a nice touch would be if you borrowed them from your public library! Finally and most importantly, you should pick a method of advocating for your library. You could print off some basic information about your local library and pass it out throughout the day/night. Maybe you could pick an upcoming event at your library that sounds interesting or fun to invite other people to go to with you. If there is a proposal for more funding for your library in this upcoming election, you could tell everyone to vote yes! Find what fits with your personality. It also doesn’t hurt to add in some library puns or jokes while you’re at it, to really encompass everything a librarian stands for.
This costume should be for anyone and everyone that loves libraries: kids and adults, men and women. Anyone is welcomed at the library, and anyone willing to do the work is welcomed to be a librarian. So, this Halloween, ditch the risque low-cut blouse and short skirt, grab a book and some excitement for universal access to information, and show the world what a real sexy librarian looks like.
As an added bonus, here are some excerpts from the book This Is What a Librarian Looks Like; A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information by Kyle Cassidy.
“Libraries are more important to our world than people realize. We are the ‘holders of forever’ ensuring access to our cultural heritage, while providing the free access and flow of information to anyone in the world. All you have to do is ask.” – Kyle K. Courtney, Copyright Adviser, Harvard University Library (pg 13).
“Librarians are warrior princes and princesses wielding book love like swords! We are ever vigilant, curious, intelligent, and kind. Libraries are the banners that we carry proudly into the fray! Forward, ever forward!” – Susan K. McClelland, Adult & Teen Services Librarian, Oak Park Public Library (pg 21).
“Libraries and librarians are important because they can open entire new worlds to the people in their communities. Not just through books – everyone knows about the books – but librarians are super smart. They know things, and they know how to find the things they (and you) don’t know.” – Tina Coleman, Membership Specialist, American Library Association (pg 180).
“Libraries can help stop a generational cycle of abuse, victimization, or anger. They can rehabilitate, help people grow, and change in life.” – Sam Leif, Correctional Facility Librarian, Colorado Department of Corrections (pg 110).