Melissa Silvestre silvest at
Sun Dec 3 02:15:23 EST 1995

I'm not sure if I started this or not, but I'm a reference librarian
who is frequently called a techie and I don't find it offensive. I find
it an acknowledgement by my peers that I have some special skills that
allow me to fill an important and much-needed niche in the day-to-day
running of our reference department. My pre-MLS background is heavy
in misc. computer skills, and I find it a useful shortcut when talking
to faculty at my university to refer to myself as "one of the techie
librarians" because otherwise I feel I won't be taken seriously as
someone who can really help them at a technical level (overcoming that
librarian as dusty bookworm stereotype I guess).

Perhaps I'm just imagining things. Other academic librarians: do you find
that faculty and other university staff underestimate your technical knowledge
because you're a "librarian"?

To those who find the word "techie" offensive: is there another less offensive
term that would instantly set up the expectation in the listener
that "this is someone who can help me with my computer-related problems"
when the person's job title does not already convey that expectation?

Actually I've joked with my older, less "techie" colleagues that we should
start calling ourselves information scientists instead of librarians, and
start wearing white lab coats around the public reference area, but so far
they won't go for it! :-)

>Well, I am getting tired of the "techie" slurs my colleagues (mostly
>librarians and information scientists (you've heard of those, haven't
>you?)) feel free to throw at me.  Like the racial slurs, the "techie"
>slur reveals fear (if not hatred) and distrust.  Cute as it sounds,
>when one of my colleagues calls me "techie" it sounds as affectionate
>as a cute racial slur.
>Jose Perez-Carballo
>School of Communication and Library Studies
>Rutgers University
>4 Huntington Street
>New Brunswick, NJ 08903
Melissa Silvestre    silvest at   fax: (314) 516-5853
University of Missouri-St. Louis, Thomas Jefferson Library
My words are my own and do not reflect the view of UM-St. Louis

More information about the Web4lib mailing list