This was the heading on a recent article in The Age - a review of a show (Librarian Idol) by Andrew Finegan, a Darwin librarian.
"There are some professions which are quintessentially cool", the article (by Fiona Scott-Norman) begins, and even this early in the piece, we know where she is headed. "And then there are professions . . ." such as librarian, definitely uncool. I guess that there is good news and bad news here. We are always banging on about being recognised as a profession, and in this piece we are. On the other hand we are not seen as a cool profession.
But Andrew suggests that "being nerdy is becoming cool these days. Look at Harry Potter."
Rebecca, in a comment on a post last December, when I first used the term nerd chic, suggested: "I have heard less flattering terms than 'nerdy chic' used to describe librarians' unique style, Derek. Perhaps we should embrace the 'nerd chic' phenomenon. There certainly seem to be a lot of Dr Who / David Tennant fans in libraries ..."
Leaving aside the issue of Dr Who and his fans, should we as librarians embrace the nerdy chic tag? Is that the way we wish people to see us? As Rebecca says, we could (and often do) do worse, and I think we do need to embrace it, although not necessarily every exponent and exemplar of the style.
Now that I am about to assume power (almost certainly the wrong word) as President of ALIA, perhaps I will be able to use the formidable powers of the position (almost certainly a self-delusion) to nudge Australian librarians along the nerdy chic road. But how? I will put it as one of five goals in my first columns in our monthly journal, Incite. But how will we achieve it? I agree with Andrew that it is about the journey rather than the destination, and concepts like "arriving" and "victory" are not really relevant.
How about some suggestions of what we should be emulating? In clothing, the whimsical nerd style seems to have taken off - and here too. Librarians are often mentioned in this connection, as exemplars. But its not all about clothing (and glasses, of course). Librarians are curious and know things too. Like Harry Potter and Doctor Who.