Librarian style profile: Jane

To help celebrate my upcoming 4th blog anniversary, today is the start of the “librarian style profile” mini-series! 😀 (And if you’re a U.S. resident, be sure to enter my $50 Macy’s gift card giveaway — deadline is Monday the 11th!)

First up is Jane, who you may be familiar with from her guest post last summer. She’s a children’s librarian and has a cheery outlook and sense of style! Thanks, Jane, for sharing!

Brief bio and background as a librarian (or MLS experience):

Hi everybody! I’m Jane, aka @raincityjane, or the Rain City Librarian! I’m a children’s librarian in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where the rainy season lasts pretty much the entire year. I graduated with my MLIS from the University of British Columbia in 2014 and have worked as an auxiliary children’s librarian with the Vancouver Public Library ever since.

Jane, Rain City Librarian

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as practical. I definitely value comfort over style, and you’ll never find me working in a pair of high heels or in anything tight or restrictive — I need room to move! I am addicted to stripes, polka dots, colourful dresses and graphic t-shirts, and it has been suggested that I became a children’s librarian simply so that I could have an excuse to wear polka dots all the time.

[Editor’s note:  Love that! Nothing wrong with a polka dot!]

I’m particularly addicted to book t-shirts — I’ve got a pretty sizable collection, and I’m still adding more. I find they’re a perfect icebreaker when visiting new classes or groups — the kids always get a kick out of seeing a familiar book on my t-shirt. It’s a great conversation starter.

I also own 20+ cardigans. The stereotype is real, folks.

[Editor’s note:  Yep. Cardigans for the win.]

Favorite outfit from Jane, the Rain City librarian

Do you have any strong opinions or thoughts about the connection between style and your profession as a librarian?

As a public librarian, it’s important to look professional but still appear approachable. We want people to trust us as professionals and take us seriously, but at the same time, we don’t want people to feel intimidated or uncomfortable asking us for help. I’d never come to work in a skirt suit and pumps — the last thing I want is for my patrons to think I’m strict or stuffy, or associate me with lawyers or administrators or other authority figures. This can be especially important when working in communities where patrons might have had unpleasant experiences with authority figures or government institutions. So, I’m more likely to come to work in a polka dot dress and leggings, or even dark jeans, a t-shirt and a cardigan. Clean, presentable, but still down-to-earth and relatable.

Comfort is even more important when working with kids — I recently did a painting project with a group of primary school kids, so you’d better believe I didn’t wear anything too fancy that day. On any given day you’ll find me jumping up and down at storytime, reaching high or bending low to get books off of shelves, or walking around the neighborhood lugging a trolley full of books to visit a local school. My clothes need to be comfortable, breathable, flexible and offer enough coverage to allow for plenty of movement!

Do you have a “casual Friday” policy at your work? Or do you institute your own personal “casual Friday” dress code?

Pretty much every day is “Casual Friday” at my workplace. Our official dress code is very flexible — no yoga/sweat pants, nothing with holes, nothing torn or dirty, nothing with offensive or commercial slogans, nothing too revealing. That’s pretty much it. There’s a lot of sartorial freedom, and people do dress in all sorts of different ways. We’ve also got a wide range of hair colours, makeup styles, tattoos and piercings, which is great — the staff at the public library should be as diverse as the communities they serve.

[Editor’s note:  What an awesome statement — totally agree!]

Do you plan your outfits in advance, or go with how you feel on the day?

I’ll be honest, I don’t really plan my outfits. The night before work, I pull out some clothes for the next day, because I usually only leave myself about 15 minutes to get out the door to catch my morning bus. I’ll usually grab a few different shirts so I have some options depending on the weather situation and how I feel. That’s about as much as much thought as I put into my outfits! I don’t colour-match, I don’t coordinate, and I don’t wear a lot of accessories. I typically wear colourful tops and dark jeans, or dresses and leggings. Done and out the door!

Favorite outfit from Jane, the Rain City librarian

Do your casual and work styles differ?

My casual and work styles differ a little bit — I often wear dresses to work, but typically live in blue jeans and sneakers when I’m at home. I worked in the corporate world for 5+ years before becoming a librarian, so I’m thrilled to be able to ditch those pencil skirts and pumps in favour of more casual styles. I’m all about that comfort!

Thanks for having me on your blog, Jen, and congrats on your blogiversary!

Thank you, Jane! Want more librarian style profiles? You can check out more librarian style profiles here.


10 thoughts on “Librarian style profile: Jane

  1. Kezzie

    I loved learning about your style Jane- you made some great statements about why you wear what you wear. I can bet the kids adore your book t-shirts- I LOVE that Wild Things one!!! Plus, I’ve been seeking a grey marl cardigan just like that one, aha, will go and look at the link!!!x

  2. Mariana

    I just found your blog today from Karen She thought she could” via email. I love it. Your style and blogs are wonderful. I will definitely keep following you and spread the love.

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Wow, congrats on your 11th blogiversary! I joined in on your giveaway — thanks so much for opening it up to international readers! The next time I do a giveaway, I will definitely make sure beforehand that it’s available internationally.

  3. Daenel Vaughn-Tucker (@DaenelT)

    Love that: “the staff at the public library should be as diverse as the communities they serve.” I hated when I worked at a public library and we had to wear suits. It was so impractical. And yes to the library tees! I love them.

    1. Jane Whittingham

      Suits in a public library?! Yikes! Don’t think I could do my story times in a suit, they’d be covered in baby drool pretty quick. I worked in a law firm for 5+ years, so trust me, I am definitely happy not to be wearing a suit anymore! 🙂


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