This website is a companion piece to the poster presentation of the same name, presented at the Annual Conference of the Medical Library Association in San Diego, CA in May, 2003.


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.



Pink Hanger image View the original research data (search or browse, including images)

Hanger bullet image See the slideshow which accompanied the poster online

Pink Hanger image Download a copy of the slideshow in PowerPoint format (approx. 45 mb)

Hanger bullet image View or download the accompanying questionnaire handed out at MLA

Contact the authors: Send email to Sunny ( or Allan (

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