Purpose: To assess the public's attitudes about the clothing
librarians wear. To characterize attire that is considered "librarian-ish."
Setting/Subjects: Individuals peddling clothing on eBay who
use the word “librarian” to describe their wares.
Methodology: Auction on eBay in the clothing, shoes, and
accessories category were monitored for modern and vintage garb listed with
the word librarian in the title or description. Sellers were asked a question
about their item followed by a question about why they indicated that their
item was “for a librarian.” A database was set-up to track auction
descriptions, pictures, and sellers’ responses. Each seller's sex and
geographic location were noted to identify possible trends. Adjectives used
by eBay sellers about their auction items and librarians were recorded.
Results: Auction listings were common for vests, ties, skirts,
sweaters, and dresses. Many clothing items had book or tweed themes. Some
of the adjectives for the attire and the librarians who wear them included:
conservative, proper, academic, intellectual, bookish, chic, sexy, and shapely.
Conclusion: Librarian stereotypes abound in eBay clothing
auctions. Two contrasting fashion statements emerged: a conservative, bookish
look and a sexy, seductive look.