Librarians Image in Childrens Fiction.Report as inadecuate

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The image of the librarian has engendered much discussion among professional librarians. Children's fiction and picture books are good mediums in which to examine the image of the librarian, since they provide impressionable children some of their earliest cultural knowledge. Children's authors can supply powerful images by means of text and illustrations that challenge or perpetuate stereotypes. The purpose of this research is to study the image of the librarian in children's literature in order to see how closely that image matches or differs from the traditional stereotypical image of the librarian used as a benchmark in the research of Barnhart and Elliot. Works published before 1990 will be compared with books published in 1990 and later in order to see if the image of the librarian in children's literature has changed to keep pace with modern technological changes. The method used in this research is content analysis. Eighty-eight children's fiction books and picture books were examined for their portrayal of 125 librarians. Major findings were that the only stereotypical traits persisting in the librarians in children's fiction are that the librarian is still female, white, polite and refined, and helpful. As the librarian's image evolves, the traditional negative stereotype is being replaced by a more positive contemporary view. Appendices include the librarian profile coding sheet, and reading list. (Contains 27 references.) (AEF)

Descriptors: Books, Change, Characterization, Childrens Libraries, Childrens Literature, Elementary Education, Fiction, Librarians, Picture Books, Publications, Stereotypes

Author: Kitchen, Barbara


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