What do librarians wear? Video explores librarian fashion in Australia

Do you find yourself wondering what to wear in the morning? Dressed to the 746s: Australian Librarian Style is a short video that explores how librarians dress. It debuted at the IFLA World Library & Information Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia earlier this year.

In the video creators Bonnie Wildie, Amy McKenzie and me, Anne Reddaclif interview a range of Australian librarians about how they decide what to wear and the extent to which this is shaped by their personal politics.

Girl looking through library book shelves

We interview librarians from LGBTQIA+ communities, an Aboriginal librarian from the Wiradjuri Nation in New South Wales and a librarian who makes her own clothes. The video looks at the different ways librarians dress and shows the diversity of librarian style in Australia. From rainbow badges to political t-shirts to men wearing skirts, our video interrogates the stereotype of what a librarian looks like and challenges assumptions about race and gender.

The librarians we interview are candid: what they wear reflects who they are. One of our interviewees describes their style as “a little bit queer” while another describes his as “transvestite metalhead”. We interview a librarian who is known for her colourful outfits and refers to her personal style as “toddler grandma”. She sees her clothing choices as a way of bringing “joy” to her workplace, expressing her love of bright colours and handmade jewellery.

Dressed to the 746s: Australian Librarian Style is a video that celebrates the diversity of the library profession in Australia. It examines the choices we make about our clothing, our personal style and our identities. It aims to show that librarians do more than wear cardigans, glasses and pearls. We do not fit one stereotype. And in fact, we often make radical choices about what we wear to express our personalities and the things we care about.

Film Makers:

Anne Reddacliff, Librarian, Visitor & Information Services, State Library of Queensland.

Bonnie Wildie is an assistant curator who works for NSW State Archives and also sews her own clothes. She describes her personal style as pro-pocket and handmade.

Amy McKenzie is a collection development librarian at the State Library of New South Wales. She is a stylish lindy hop dancer who also plays the ukulele.