We all know about the stereotypes for librarians, some of which are fairly accurate, at least some of the time, just like many stereotypes. Thanks to projects like This is What a Librarian Looks Like we know that librarians come wrapped in all kinds of packages. So, no, I don’t think there is any one, spot-on librarian stereotype.

But is there a librarian x-factor? Is there some elusive quality that makes a person feel like librarian material? Is it an attitude? A worldview? A personality trait? And when all else is equal–education, experience, skills, and abilities–is this x-factor often the deciding factor in the hiring process? Or in other processes within the profession like appointments to positions in professional organizations, promotions, collaborations?

If you read my blog regularly then you know two things: 1) I consider myself somewhat of an outsider in the profession having come into its ranks later in life and 2) I like to ask questions rather than answer them (sometimes).

And these are my questions, and I hope some of you will answer them: Is there a librarian x-factor? And if so, can you define it? And if there is a librarian x-factor that is used to determine if a person “fits”, is that determination helping or hurting the profession?