This Is What Our Librarian Looks Like

Jaina Shaw is the Westport Library‘s popular and creative teen services librarian.

She’s also very cool.

Now she’s famous too.

In 2014, photographer Kyle Cassidy published a series of photos on Slate. Called “This is What a Librarian Looks Like,” the images — of black, white and brown men and women; some with multi-color hair, dreads, beards and piercings — pierced the stereotype of the staid sssshhhh-monster.

The feature was so popular, Cassidy set up a booth at the next American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

Jaina was there, and wandered by. She wrote a statement, posed for a photo — and now she’s in the book that Cassidy just published.

It too is called “This is What a Librarian Looks Like.”

Jaina Shaw, with her page (left) in the book.

Jaina’s quote is this:

When I went into librarianship, my friends and family said, “Aren’t you a little loud for that?” But libraries need to have loud people.

Growing up, I went to the library almost every day and nobody ever asked my name. I want to make that experience different for teens. I want them to feel that they’re important – that what they read or watch or play or geek out to matters. I want them to know that there’s a place where they can be themselves.

Libraries don’t grade you or judge you or care that you have the right Uggs or whatever. Just be yourself. We are here for you.

Jaina is certainly there for every Westport kid.

Patrons of all ages love her.

Thanks to Kyle Cassidy, everyone who buys this book will love her too.

6 responses to “This Is What Our Librarian Looks Like

  1. Kerstin Rao

    Jaina absolutely embodies the spirit of the quote she shared for the book. She’s brought enthusiasm, kindness, creativity, cool musical taste, an ‘act-outside-the-box’ attitude, and really connected with our kids. Very happy for you, Jaina!

  2. Marta Campbell

    Yay Jaina!! You make us proud!

  3. Jaina Shaw

    Thank you Dan! And thank you Westport!

  4. Fred Cantor

    Great quote.

  5. Jaina is one of those people who has found the exact place she should be and brings joy to everyone she encounters. We are lucky she landed at the Westport Library.

  6. Chris Garrity

    Love this post about you, Jaina. Both you and Westport are lucky you are where you are. I will look for the book!