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.


Voting, Virgins, and uh, VH-1

Election years have unlimited potential for library programming ideas. From displays of books on the electoral & campaign process to town hall meetings to voter registration drives, libraries have the opportunity every few years to play an active role in being a go-to informational clearinghouse for voters.

This year, more so than others (which may well be due to my own lack of vested interest in other election years), I’ve been seeing a lot of ads and reading quite a few news stories on getting out the Black American vote. Last week’s Hip-Hop Political Conference in Newark, NJ is a very interesting example. It included a panel discussion billed as A Dialogue Between the Hip-Hop Generation and the Civil Rights Generation, a film festival, and workshops on organizing organizers, grandparents raising their grandchildren, fund-raising, national healthcare policy, and criminal justice. The convention is now over, but new & thought-provoking content regarding Election 2004 (as well as education, technology, and, of course, hip-hop) continues to appear regularly.

Moving right along (if you’re looking for seamless transitions today, I got nothing – I spent all my cleverness on the alliteration at the head of this post) to the wilds of YA lit, there’s a most excellent newish blog on the scene devoted to investigating, interrogating, challenging, and teasing out notions of female teen sexuality in YA literature, called Avenging Sybil. Named in honor of a secondary character in Judy Blume’s classic teen love story Forever who is punished for her promiscuous sexuality, the blog “part of [author Dawn Emerman’s] ongoing project to promote change in the YA industry (which is part of a much larger quest to change attitudes about female sexuality in general in modern society).” Fascinating stuff. For further reading on the subject, check out Let’s (Not) Get It On, a recent VOYA article.

Aaaaaand, if you’re looking for yet more ways to keep up with the popcult Joneses, nothing beats VH1’s genius weekly retrospective Best Week Ever, which airs weekly on Friday nights at 11pm. (If you are like me, and encroaching fogeyness prevents you from staying up so damn late most Friday nights because you are tired from the week at work and have a vast list of things to accomplish on Saturday, and you’d better get up early to get them done so you’ll have time to actually relax on the weekend, you can easily catch it in repeats throughout the week. Or, you know, tape/Tivo it.) The show is a 30-minute magazine featuring snarky commentary on the past week’s celebrity faux pas, award shows, music, tv, and movie happenings. If you miss an episode here or there, you can catch the insanely meta omnibus edition, handily titled Best Month Ever: Best of Best Week Ever.