So, the good news is Lego, purveyor of fine, building brick based excitement, have released a “Librarian” minifig. Yay! Lego are a cool company, they’re modern, and they make some great educational products, So, we’ll be seeing a little figure of a modern information professional, a veritable ninja of knowledge: ready, willing and able to assist their users in any way they need, right?
Lego have gone with a stereotype of a librarian more suited to 1913 than 2013. Look – a book! A mug that says “shhh”! A cardigan, glasses, pleated skirt, frumpy hair and sensible shoes! Wow – this is really showing the face of the profession today!
Books are just about the Librarian’s most favorite thing in the entire world. Reading them can take you on exciting adventures in far-off lands, introduce you to new friends and cultures, and let you discover poetry, classic literature, science fiction and much more. If only everybody loved to read as much as she does, the world would be a better place…and quieter, too!
The Librarian feels that it’s extremely important to treat a book with the proper respect. You should always use a bookmark instead of folding down the corner of the page. Take good care of the dust jacket, and don’t scribble in the margins. And above all else, never – ever – return it to the library late!
As if their range of pink Lego for girls, which instead of encouraging the use of kids imagination to make all sorts of cool things, tells girls that we can make cakes and do makeup wasn’t bad enough (and likely to reinforce the idea that subjects like science and engineering aren’t for girls). Now we get this toy that still focuses on the fact that librarians are frumpy females, and libraries only have books, and the librarians just love those books, don’t ya know? And, of course, that we all hate noise. *insert incoherent scream of (noisy) frustration here*
And yes, I am perfectly well aware that Lego are using a stereotype here, in the hope of making it recognisable. But really: no computer, either desktop or laptop? No tablet or smartphone? No CDs, DVDs, or an eReader of any type? Not even the slightest attempt to show the actual reality of the average role, or some of the items in use in a modern library, or that librarians give their users assistance with? The way to change stereotypes is by challenging them, and there isn’t even the slightest hint of an attempt by Lego to move this stereotype along into the modern age.
At least their Computer Programmer figure got to hold a laptop and an emoticon mug, to go with his own stereotyped outfit of a geeky Argyle jumper, bad hair, bow-tie and a pair of taped-together glasses….
Actually, maybe that librarian minifig isn’t looking so bad, in comparison…