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Thursday, July 23, 2009

"There's a stereotype that librarians are boring."

"And I think they want to change that stereotype to 'librarians are crazy.'"
Mo Willems, children's author and television writer.

I'm pretty sure he means "crazy" in a good way! Willems played emcee at the recent National Book Cart Drill Team Championship, held at the American Library Association conference in Chicago. As you may have learned from our Web site, our drill team, The Cart Wheels, brought home a coveted silver cart after tying for first place. What you might be wondering is: Why?

First of all, Willems is only partially right. Librarians are not only stereotyped as boring, but also as mean-spirited shushers, unfashionable frumps, and people who get paid to sit around and read all day. Studies have shown that many people actually suffer from "library anxiety," thanks to those unpleasant stereotypes. Well, we here at DPPL are determined to win you over and banish library anxiety from our midst. We like you - we really like you!

We've created an environment where you are welcome to work, learn and yes, play. On a daily basis, sure, we're busy cataloging, ordering new materials, answering tricky reference questions - we're also busy entertaining your kids while we dance around wearing clown noses. The book cart drill team arose out of our plans to celebrate our 100th anniversary two years ago. We wanted to wow you during DP's awesome 4th of July parade, and team leader Gail Bradley and co-captain Kathy Kyrouac took on the challenge. Judging by your rather rowdy applause, some stars were born that Independence Day.

Whether we're executing graceful formations with beglittered book carts, singing groovy disco songs on this year's parade float, hosting a swingin' evening at "Do The Dewey," or filming yet another wacky YouTube video, the point is this: we want you to think of us as your fun, friendly, helpful, personable neighbors over on Ellinwood Street. No buns, no shushing, no scowls. A little crazy, but in the best possible way.

Watch the Book Cart Drill Team Championship on YouTube!
Read all about the championship on the National Public Radio Web site, and in the blog Mental Floss.

Thanks to Paul Go for the Mental Floss link. In the photo, the Cart Wheels are (left to right): top row, Jacob Post, Bob Blanchard, Arlene Steiner, Gwen LaCosse; bottom row, Courtney O'Keefe, Phyllis Johnson, Gail Bradley, Eileen Gladish, Pat Nelson.

1 comment:

  1. Librarians are really a fun bunch, especially here in Des Plaines. My friends and family from Chicago, Cicero and Alsip think I am so lucky to have DPPL as my home library. They follow the websites - Plain Talk and Positively Ellinwood - and love the pictures and videos posted of our talented bookcart drill team and singing librarians and they've tuned in to watch our Wizard of Oz celebration and Do the Dewey highlights and other humorous items. They've even taken the long drive up from the southside to take in some of the programs. Links to the website even reach out to Japan, where my longtime friend Misako has fun watching the parade and the circus train and other fun stuff from Des Plaines. Yes, librarians and libraries have sure changed since I was a kid. Who wouldn't want to spend time there? We're the best!


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