Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2004-12-07

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Awards Season

At this time of year, a girl's fancy turns to those all-important end of year lists. Top 10 movies (I think I'll be hard-pressed to list a Top 5, myself), Top 10 albums, Top 10 TV shows, Top 10 books, Top 10 Doggie Treats. The nice thing for libraries, particularly libraries with smaller budgets or a minor end-of-year windfall, about this time of year is the ease with which these year-end lists can help form the basis of selection lists to bulk up your popular materials collections.

Case in point: the Grammy Awards nominations, which came out this morning. These are not necessarily the greatest albums & songs to be released in a given year, but they are cultural snippets that gained serious traction in the culture at large, and these nominations are a good barometer. Many library listserv moderators are inviting their members to submit their Best Of 2004 lists. On YALSA-BK, for example, many members have posted their Best YA Titles of 2004 lists, among them the reliable & right-on Richie Partington. Look for other listservs to do the same.

Sometimes Best Of lists get me down, because I read them and realize I've only read two or three books on them, or heard just over half of the albums on them. If you fall prey to your inner critic when you see such lists, don't! Best Of lists, especially when they're created by a critic or colleague whose opinion you trust, can be very useful -- in addition to materials selection lists, you can use them to:

  • Generate (or update) your own personalized Gotta Read That! reading list;
  • Form the basis of that parent-child reading group you've been meaning to launch;
  • Create a starting point for your library's new music listening & discussing salon;
  • Arrange Best of 2004 materials displays (if you're one of those lucky people whose library already owns all of the Best books, DVDs, and CDs)
  • And many more. I'm taking suggestions, and will be delighted to credit you in my next post.

I'll post Golden Globes, Independent Spirit, Academy Awards, ALA Notable, NYT Notable and other year-end Best Of lists here, as well.

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