Monday, December 17, 2007


Donna Reed, spinster librarian
"It's a Wonderful Life."

Shock horror. The dress code at work has been “relaxed.” In other words, we’re now allowed to wear jeans, so that we come across as more approachable. Jeans!!! Librarians in jeans? What the hell’s going on??
The news has divided the staff. Half (mostly, but not exclusively the younger members) are thrilled to bits and have immediately swapped their hairy skirts for boot-cut denim, while the rest of us, (me included I’m afraid), have come over all old school, tutting and mumbling about respect and keeping up appearances, which is odd considering we’re keen to try and shake off the old, fusty, po-faced, smelling-of-lavender stereotype.

I’ve now realised what my problem is, and it’s nothing to do with presenting a respectable front (or back for that matter)at all. It’s about having an excuse to Dress Up. I live in jeans when I’m not at work, and rather like picking out a smart skirt/shirt/jumper/knee-boots combo (especially in summer – just kidding) for work, and making an effort with my hair and make-up. God knows, I don’t get out much these days. Where else are my nice new, almost designer label, trousers going to be admired, for heaven’s sake? Not in my living-room that’s for sure. I’m sure I have a different persona when I’m wearing jeans, and it’s not one I’d care to take into work, quite frankly. She’d keep making cups of tea and browsing the web and ignoring phone calls, which wouldn’t do at all.

I say Down with Jeans (metaphorically speaking). I reserve the right to Dress Up if I want to, and if I look unapproachable it’s got nothing to do with what I’m wearing. It’s because no-body’s bloomin’ noticed I’m wearing Prada. (I wish).

PS - In 1905 Robert Louis Stevenson called a librarian a virgin priest of knowledge. Wonderful! Maybe we should change our name instead of our dress code.


SpiralSkies said...

"I say Down with Jeans" - crumbs, what sort of talk is that for a nice librarian?

Paul Capewell said...

I must say, I agree with you - I like having the air of authority which smart clothes bring. I know libraries are having to change and be a bit more 'user-friendly' (whatever that may mean...) but I think the staff still need a little something to set them apart from more casual roles... Anyway, I like wearing smart trousers and a jacket! You couldn't part me from my trainers though, but they are black...!

Hi, by the way! Hope you don't mind me eavesdropping.


spiralskies - someone once complained that I was 'very rude' for a librarian (she started it, and I wasn't) so there's a definite image to either uphold, or try and change!

Paul!! - Don't mind at all it's lovely to hear from you. I'll put the kettle on. Glad someone else agrees - it got a little heated in the staff room on Saturday!

liz fenwick said...

Hope you keep dressing - do it for yourself and for everyone else :-) i finally getting round to telling you there is one place open for the Novel Racers. Email me- addy on my profile page and then i can send an official invite.



Lane said...

lol 'Down With Jeans':-)

Also had image of one of my lovely library ladies who is probably 92 and three quarter years old, in a pair of skinnies.... or worse still, low rise:-)

I'm with you. Work is for work clothes. When I was teaching so many teachers were indistinguishable from the students. Couldn't see the point meself:-(

And I'm so looking forward to an evening of It's a Wonderful Life this week:-)

Debs said...

I have to say I agree with you. I can't bear to wear my 'work' clothes anywhere but at the office and hurry to change out of them as soon as I arrive home each day. We have 'dress down' on Fridays and I take so much longer to get ready! Not sure why exactly.

HelenMH said...

I totally agree! I have two jobs and have to dress appropriately for each - or I get really confused!

Leigh said...

A pal of mine was once telling a rather racous joke, in a rather raucous voice, in the library of the Royal Astronomical Society. The RAS has a very plush, old-fashioned, floor-to-ceiling-with-books, library in Burlington House, Piccadilly.

Hush is the word.

But the joke was very good.

A little old lady, who had been frowning at him for the duration, eventually broke in.

"Young man, if you don't stop this at once, I shall call the librarian."

And he had the pleasure of answering,

"Madam, I am the librarian."

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