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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 00:43 GMT 01:43 UK
NYC librarians reject 'prim' dress code
New York Public Library
Librarians have been protesting noisily... outside

Librarians in the New York borough of Queens are protesting at a new dress code being enforced by local officials which they say is old-fashioned and sexist.

Woman in glasses
Librarians say they are being forced into a stereotype
As temperatures top 35 degrees Centigrade in New York, they have have been told they cannot come to work in short skirts, sandals or T-shirts.

Their union is now backing 900 librarians from Queens who have been demonstrating outside some of their borough libraries in protest at the new dress code.

They say they are being forced back into the old stereotypes of prim women with hair buns and bifocal glasses by the code, which insists that no nose rings, tattoos, mini skirts or slip-on sandals must be seen between the shelves and behind the front desk of the 63 borough libraries.

Fashion victim

Although the librarians are challenging the dress code on the grounds that it is especially sexist to women, men aren't totally exempt - they have to wear a shirt and tie while at work.


I agree with the library's general goal of having an attractive and well-groomed work force, but this onerous and draconian policy is not the answer

John Socha
Union Local 1321
Officials from the Borough of Queens Public Libraries say the dress code has been in force since 1993 - when it was negotiated with the union - and that it was then amended to allow casual dress on Fridays.

But the workers don't agree and say they're not going to be told what to do any longer by the Borough of Queens "fashion police".

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