That “tharn” look

2 12 2007

Before The Hub, there was some playing about on Youtube.  I hadn’t given it much thought for a few months, but it still seems to get views, so here’s the link to the first of three again.

It’s not so much an answer as a question.  What else can we do to get the brand “teacher librarian” out there?   What can be done to stop that look?

You know the look.  You’re at a BBQ.  It’s a relaxed affair at an old friend’s inner city terrace house.  Your lives have taken very different paths, different careers, different friends.

It’s getting crowded, but with the common element in the gathering being your friend, you find yourself in the company of witty, intelligent and interesting individuals, much like yourself.  You engage in the usual, getting-to-know-you small talk, but deep down, you dread the inevitable question.

“So what do you do?”

You take a deeep breath, and reply.

“I’m a teacher librarian”.

And there it is, that look.  I like to call it the “tharn” look (see note below now if you are unfamiliar with this term).  On the outside, you keep smiling, but on the inside, you are thinking, “you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”.

The mingling continues throughout the afternoon and into early evening.  By the end of the night you estimate 92.7% of the guests have gone tharn on you (fortunately the condition is temporary and the effects wear off after a few minutes).

How is it that after 40 years of existence, we are still such a secret?  Is being too quiet a professional hazard? 

The Hub isn’t so much an answer as a question. If we stop advocating from the bottom, and start marketing towards the top, what steps can we take? 

What’s your big idea?

Take a few moments and send us your thoughts.  Do you want your association to employ a media spokesperson? Would you like to speak at a principal’s conference?  Do you know a public figure who would make the perfect ambassador (are any friends of Tara Moss reading this)?  Should we all get dressed up as book characters and march on Canberra? I’m up for that.  I’ll go as Arthur Dent, so I can have a bit of a sleep-in.

The Hub wants to hear from YOU!  We want you to share all your brilliant ideas, especially the brilliantly absurd or highly improbable. Offensive content will be deleted, as will any idea that even vaguely alludes to self promotion within a school.


Tharn – the stunned, stupefied paralysis of fear experienced by rabbits caught in headlights in Richard Adams’ “Watership Down”. While I don’t think people are fearful of teacher libarians, the rest applies, producing a very similar facial expression.




2 responses

4 12 2007
Liz Manton

My partner & I get the double whammy tharn effect – he works as an Orthotic Technician (making braces & surgical devices for disabled children) and I am a T/L – no-one knows what either of us does!
Liz Manton, Sydney 🙂

29 03 2008
Dona Hartwich

Sigh, I wish we had the money, or knew someone who did,so we could put this on TV! Short, sweet and to the point! Yes, it is on You Tube, but who goes to it except teachers or teacher-librarians!!????

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