Third Wave Librarianship and the Contestation from Within

True to the Second Wave, Dee Garrison, in her 1973, Tender Technicians: The Feminization of Librarianship, 1876-1905, emphasizes the feminization of the children’s department of the American public library and the ways in which this department, above all others, stood to represent the values of Victorian womanhood, a warm, gentle space in which young patrons were guided and nurtured without being provoked.

As constraining as the stereotypical librarian as kindly nursemaid might be, I am interested in the ways in which past and present librarians and their practices actually contest this stereotype from within (Radford, 2003). For example, when the *unquiet librarian* Buffy Hamilton sees the library as a space for both engagement and enchantment, the children’s library department is transformed, it remains a warm, nurturing environment while also revealing opportunities for the acquiring of new knowledge. For many children, the process of knowledge acquisition is frightening, frustrating and an opportunity for failure. When it becomes an exciting personal and passionate enterprise which the librarian helps to actualize as an active steward, librarianship becomes completely radical.


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