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.


To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports

Tonight I watched an incredible piece of television journalism.

One year ago, while reporting the news in Iraq, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff suffered a severe brain injury in a roadside bomb attack. Tonight Woodruff returned to the air on ABC News in “To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports.” The first in a series, Woodruff reported on his personal experience as a traumatic brain injury patient, including his surgeries, rehabilitation, and recovery process, and how it is similar to the situations of thousands of soldiers returning home from war with brain injuries. In his report Woodruff also delved into whether the Veteran Administration (VA) hospitals in the United States are prepared to handle a large number of soldiers with traumatic brain injuries and other serious injuries. Woodruff discovered while reading an internal VA report "that there are more than 200,000 veterans who have sought out the VA for care.” Woodruff’s report is an exceptional piece of journalism done with intelligence and sensitivity on an important topic.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution preserves freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Libraries are an important part of this democratic process. And so are journalists, like Woodruff, who risk their lives to go into war zones to give us access to information--the stories and pictures for our television screens, websites, newspapers, and books.


Belated Oscar Report

So, the Oscars happened. May I make a little confession? I am as into awards as a person can possibly be, but I feel a little bit awarded-out this year. Maybe it's because this year, I didn't go to the movies as much as other years, so I didn't see as many nominated films as I could have. Maybe I'm getting jaded and annoyed with what seems like a fundamentally unfair process. Regardless, on Sunday night, I was more worried about how my husband's birthday cake would turn out than about what Kate Winslet would be wearing. (Although, really, do I ever need to worry about what she wears to these things? No. She is always beautifully turned out in some smashing gown that makes the most of her figure. Well done, Kate! Such a load off my mind. Also, the cake turned out really well. It was a coconut cake, and darn tasty. Photos at Flickr.)

That being said, I was actually a little sad to have to drag myself off to bed at 9:20, because this was by far the best Oscars in years, thanks in large part to the genius of gracious, witty, warm host Ellen DeGeneres. I really hope this was just the first of many hosting gigs for her, because she was wonderful.

If you missed the telecast, or just haven't gotten around to watching your taped or TiVo-ed version, you can check out a highlight reel, along with Ellen's video diaries at the Oscar website. The site is full of content, including a complete list of winners, a red carpet gallery, and loads of information about the ceremony's history. Cool! You should also get over to YouTube, stat, to see the hilarious video of Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Reilly singing about how comedic actors can't get arrested at the Oscars.

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What To Say When The Media Calls

The media has called YOU and they want a quote! Cool beans, deep breath, and hey, now what do I do?

The answer can be found over at the blog of Sara Kelly Johns, the 2006-07 AASL President-Elect; she blogs at From the Inside Out. Please read her post with guidelines for dealing with media, (guidelines provided by current AASL President Cyndi Phillip). And yes, of course, the reason that is being posted now is all the coverage about The Higher Power of Lucky.




If you read only one post about Scrotumgate (in addition to Sophie's post, of course!), read Thoughts on the Great Scrotum Kerfuffle of 2007 by pixie stix kids pix. (The blog is written by Kristen McLean, "a designer, writer, and children’s book ringleader who lives in Boston, MA. She is also the Executive Director of The Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) a non-profit trade association for the children’s book industry."

Thoughts... is the post I was planning to write. And it shows the type of journalism that should have been practiced by The New York Times and assorted other newspapers and blogs etc.

It's a long post; but it is not a wordy post. McLean sets forth the timeline of the Kerfuffle, documenting each step with a link to the report, website, list serv or blog. She then breaks it down into the following observations:

"Words are powerful." And scrotum isn't the only word; the other word is banned. In essence, as McLean documents, what was going on at LM-Net was that "librarians were having some lively debate and strong feelings about the most recent Newbery winner. This is nothing new." Julie Bosman of the New York Times reported this debate as meaning "the book has already been banned." As McLean says in her brilliant post, "Give me names, details." Read her full post to discover just how many of those who participated in the debate, or were quoted, are not buying the book for their libraries (this is her source; while I don't want to repeat all the wonderful work & links done by McLean, that article is a must-read for those following this story.)

"Read the entire book before offering an opinion". Part of the reason I haven't weighed in more on this is I have yet to read the book. One of the more interesting series of comments I've read is that the character who initially uses the word is, basically, an old drunk (now in AA) who would have said balls or nuts instead of scrotum. Yet then another person says, hey, that may all be true but he is also someone who has been to Paris, appreciates this and that...and in other words, yes, would have used the right term. Anyway.

"What you say on a list serv may come back to bite you in the scrotum later." I'd add to this that it's equally true of blogs. Before you giggle at the foolishness of people who were misquoted, think of your own posts and comments; could they be taken out of context? What about any interview you give with a reporter -- could an offhand joke or comment be the sole thing she uses?

I've just given the quick recap; please, go read it in full. It's thoughtful, it's well documented, it covers all sides. And it has a scientific illustration!

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My Runaway Love for Ludacris

Longtime Pop readers may remember that I've blogged about my admiration for rapper Ludacris before, and I've been meaning to blog about the greatness of his current #1 single, "Runaway Love" since I first heard it and saw the video back in December. Now that Luda has won Grammys for his current album, Release Therapy, and a previous single, "Money Maker", I've got a keen reminder of why I like the guy so much.

  • "Runaway Love" is a YA problem novel in song form! He released the song, with guest vocals by Mary J. Blige (who I also love, in spite of her continuing habit of referring to herself in the third person, which is both weird and unsettling -- like, does "I" not exist in her vocabulary? Does she have a split personality? What is UP with Mary, Mary?), paints vivid, disturbing pictures of three girls whose family situations are so horrible that they feel "there's nothing left to do but grab some clothes and pack / she says she's 'bout to run away and never come back."
  • It's not just a problem novel, it's one designed for reluctant readers! What does Patrick Jones tell librarians looking for books to appeal to reluctant readers? Pacing, pacing, pacing. The story has to grab the reader (er, listener) and not let go. Character development? Not so important. Part of what's so great about this song is that in a few strokes, Luda makes sure you know these girls, how hemmed in and desperate their lives are. Complete lyrics may be perused here.
  • Like libraries, Luda wants to make a difference. The guy is sincere, and he's funding and putting his name behind a wonderful initiative, The Ludacris Foundation: Helping Youth Help Themselves. What a great potential partner for YALSA! The Ludacris Foundation provides programs like Luda Cares, Hip Hop Culture, Healthy Living, and Stand Up 101, all geared towards meeting the needs and interests of disadvantaged youth.
  • He is so adorable it makes my eyes hurt. It's shallow, but true: Luda is a looker.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: is he available to be a guest speaker at Annual 2008? That would rock.

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New Magazine Alert!!

In Style is launching a spin off magazine for teens called Your Look. It will be published quarterly. Full info at Mediaweek, including launch date (March 2nd) and plans to send issues to "existing 16- to 20-year-old subscribers of In Style and former subscribers to the erstwhile Teen People."

Thanks to The Budget Fashionista for the link.

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NASCAR Romances

Contrary to what you may think based on the other day's scrotumgate post, I don't totally hate the NY Times. We may no longer be BFFs, but it's not like we're no longer on speaking terms. Indeed, I was charmed by an article on the unlikely but potentially very appealing & profitable union between Harlequin and NASCAR. Go ahead, rub your eyes, re-read it. It's true. Harlequin is publishing a series of NASCAR-themed romances. Nifty!

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Hippo Birdie Two Ewes

Awww, take 2
Originally uploaded by sophiebiblio.
(With apologies to Sandra Boynton)

Today is my husband Marcus's birthday. Happy Birthday, my sweet pea. I love you to bits.


Is THIS What It Takes To Get To the Front Page of the NY Times?

Seriously? Kill me now. There are almost no words to describe how annoyed I am by this whole meaningless kerfuffle. And so many others have done such a good job talking about tempest-in-a-teapot it all is (thank you, Fuse #8, for this roundup). I mean, first of all, how is "scrotum" hurting anyone? It's a dog's scrotum, by the way, not even a human scrotum, and even if it were a human scrotum, how, exactly, is that bad? Half of the human race has a scrotum. The other half has boobs. Big. Deal. This pearl-clutching silliness (and make no mistake, that is exactly how this situation makes us look, like a bunch of prudish, "well, I never!"-ing schoolmarms circa 1912) is the diametric opposite of the kind of publicity we need. But there's room to be irritated at the usually admirable NY Times, too. What, was it too hard to pick up the phone and call one of the well-informed people at ALSC? Too inconvenient to quote Frederick Muller accurately? If you'll excuse me, I'm off to order a Neighborhoodie with "Scrotum & Boobies" on it. If you say it enough times, it sounds like an old-fashioned English dessert.

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Bookfest 2007 @ NYPL

Sadly, I was unable to go to Book Fest at New York Public Library. But my friend Nicki went, and agreed to allow her report to be posted in full here at Pop.

Nicki reports:

I had the pleasure of attending Bookfest at the New York Public Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Library on 42nd street this past Saturday. Librarians, publishers, and teachers gathered in the Celeste Bartos Forum for a light breakfast at 9:30 am (at which time I consumed too many scones to mention).

After a brief welcome, M.T. Anderson [Tobin] took center stage as the keynote speaker. I was surprised to learn he received his MFA from Syracuse University… my alma mater.

Though Tobin claims to feel faint at the task of speaking publicly, he eased into his speech after only a brief reliance on his notes. His speech focused on the genre of Historical Fiction and history’s role in educating today’s youth.

He opened by reading two notes written by teenagers for their peers: one a gossip piece passed around a contemporary classroom and the other a picnic invitation written and shared many years past. The notes revealed a gap. While they were equally vivid and accomplished their intent, the note from the past appeared quaint.

Anderson suggested authors should “lean into the past” through detail — that the real interest, and the hook, lay in accurately detailing the world past. Tobin also discussed the use of rhetoric, pointing out that U.S. texts, regarding the revolution and events afterward, are mostly mythical. Citing examples, he illustrated that the rhetoric undercut factual history. He also noted glaring absences from historical texts, such as the role of African Americans during the Revolutionary War.

He then posed, “In what ways are historical novels effecting us all? What are the mechanisms of the genre?”

Historical novels effect us privately, either through Direct Identification — binding readers to the text as in Chic Lit novels for example, or through Empathetic Relation — rechanneling information… a simulation. Fantasy genres do this. In the case of a historical novel, teens might identify with the slaves because both feel objectified and undervalued.

Historical novels also effect us politically, through Genealogical Relation where there is a direct cause and effect (a situation in a novel directly effects today’s atmosphere, such as the civil rights movement), or through Analogical Relation which uses analogies (satires for example or 1984 by Orwell and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells).

Anderson concurs that the emphasis on ambiguity in literature is rightly praised but points out that books do contain messages/lessons and encourages authors who know what they stand for to include messages in their writings, asking “Why is there a necessity to disavow?” His impetus, “The world is on the brink of crisis… an age of ease is coming to a close… current systems are malfunctioning.” The children need to be prepared for the future, their inheritance. He briefly mentions resource consumption, global warning, the demand for resources leading to war, etc.

He ended with some powerful lines:
We cannot escape history.
We are all mired in our own circumstances, a single unit in a huge trend we cannot see until it becomes the past.
Literature in time of war is different than literature in times of peace. We are at war. In difficult times, writing cannot be neutral.
We cannot ignore that we are on the brink of disaster and must explore the complexity and understand the long term consequences.
We must question invasive, misrepresentative media!

He then recommended a few excellent titles, many not nearly as heavy as his recent book (and National Book Award winner), The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing. Two mentioned were Fever by Laurie Halse Anderson, and When my Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park. He also mentioned The Magic Circle by Donna Jo Napoli as a book that draws you in only to find some ways through you are SMACK in the middle of a very familiar story.

Things wrapped up at this point and people headed to their book discussion groups. I was very fortunate to be in Young Adult II, in which we discussed Octavian Nothing at great length as Tobin was on hand to answer questions. Other books discussed, briefly, were Saint Iggy by K.L. Going, Firestorm by David Klass, Undine by Penni Russon and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga.

All returned to the Celeste Bartos Forum for a snack box lunch before launching into the Go Graphic! afternoon panel discussion. I didn’t stick around for this section but heard it was entertaining (”cute”) and informative (esp. publisher Calvin Reid, Co-Editor of PW Comics Week).

Cross posted at Dog Ear.

Thank you, Nicki!

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Pop Culture Goes Local

NB: this post will be edited later to include links galore. Please come back tonight to see the new, improved version of this post.

Right now, my local NPR station is broadcasting an interview with Eric Klinenberg, a sociology prof at NYU and the author of the recent book Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media. The book talks a great deal about the consolidation and homogenization of radio and television stations and newspapers in the US following the Telecommunications Act of 1996. You can hear it streaming right now, and will be able to listen to it via Real Audio later today. If you're in Philly, Klinenberg will be speaking at the Annenberg Center at 5 PM today.

I find this topic fascinating, because so much of what is interesting about pop culture is the stuff that burbles up from local scenes -- think about the two totally different punk scenes in LA and New York in the late 1960s and 1970s. Think about the hardcore scene in DC in the early 1980s, the distinctive hip-hop scenes in Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and New Orleans. Think about, as Klinenberg points out, the local reporting in the Boston Globe that led to breaking the international story about pedophilia in the Catholic Church. And yet large companies like ClearChannel are permitted to own 6 stations in each large market, and are pushing the FCC to be permitted to own 10 or 12 stations. We're seeing the stripmall-ificiation of the airwaves.

Now, think about local culture blogs like Gothamist and Londonist. Look at citizen reportage on political blogs. Look at the proliferation of local papers in my area -- the Voorhees Sun, the Haddonfield Sun, What's On Collingswood -- or the underground trend of low-power FM stations (primarily in rural and semirural areas). People are finding ways to subvert the dominant, monolithic media culture, which is great. But what about people who don't have access to broadband connections to access the Internet at the high speeds that are increasingly necessary to access the content they want, or who don't know that low-power FM stations even exist in their area?

This is an area where libraries can help. A lot. Obviously, we can continue to offer free access to high speed Internet connections. Beyond that, we can partner with broadcasters on low-power FM stations to hold public information sessions, display copies of local newspapers, link to authoritative and well-written local news blogs from our websites. We are an important conduit to more than just blockbusters & bestsellers. Let's not miss this important opportunity to fill the niches our patrons crave.

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CJRLC Tech Challenge

The Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative has issued the CJRLC Tech Challenge for "anyone who works in a CJRLC member library". Full details are here.

The short version of the challenge:

1. Start a blog relating to your library interests; post once a month, including photos!

2. Start a Flickr photo account.

3. Subscribe to an aggregator like bloglines and set up RSS feeds from blogs or websites.

4. Read about Web 2.0 and Library 2.0; post some comments on your blog.

5. Learn to use at least one of the following: LibraryThing, Google Maps; De.licio.us; or Squidoo.

6. Teach someone else how to use one of the technologies described above!

The deadline is May 24, 2007. How to enter, etc. is also all at the CJRLC website. To support its members, the CJRLC is offering training.*

Even if you aren't a member library of the CJRLC -- take the challenge!

*Full disclaimer: I work for a CJRLC member library, and I do workshops for the CJRLC.

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Every Dog Has Its Day

I was driving to Northern New Jersey on the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday afternoon when I spied a nicely polished white van with the words “Show Dogs” printed on the side and an out-of-state license plate that spelled “Dogs.” It was then that I had an “Aha!” moment. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of year when sport and high-society meet at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the 131st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which will be presented on the USA Network on Monday, February 12 and Tuesday, February 13 at 8PM Eastern Time.

Information on the website states that the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was founded in 1877 and “is America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.” The Westminster Kennel Club's charity, Angel on a Leash, supports the Therapy Dog program at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Therapy Dogs have been used in libraries to give children the confidence to read. Dogs are always loving and non-judgmental and don’t care if a word is mispronounced.

And if you need more dog sports or football action be sure to check out those football playing puppies on Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl III. Is this the cutest thing ever or what!

One of my favorite games on the Web featuring dogs is gone2thedogs.com "What Dog Are You?" (Under "Games" on the left-hand navigation). Answer a few questions and it will tell you what breed of dog you would be... if you were a dog. I am a “Border Collie.”

As a librarian, people often assume that I am a cat person. And I am. I own (or rather am owned) by two cats, both rescues from an animal shelter. But I am more than a cat person. I am an animal person. I grew up in a family surrounded by pets, which included several cats, dogs, fish, birds and rabbits. Most were rescues or adopted from animal shelters. I love all animals, including dogs. However, my apartment lease and work schedule just do not allow me to have a dog at this time in my life.

But today’s post is going to be about the dogs in my life.

My Dad’s black Labrador Retriever, “D." used to sleep under my crib when I was a baby and would alert my babysitting Grandmother (who had a profound hearing loss) when I cried. “D.” wasn’t trained to do this, he just did it. And once, when I was learning to walk, I grabbed “D.’s” tail to pull myself up. As the story goes, “D.” didn’t snarl or bite--he just stayed calm until my parents got to me and rescued him.

Our next dog was a rescue. “S.” was on his way to the animal shelter in a cardboard box of puppies, until rescued by my Dad. “S.” was tri-colored with a silky coat and a beautiful plumed tail that was his pride and joy. If you tried to touch his tail “S.” would growl. So we kids just never touched his tail. “S.” used to herd us by nipping at our ankles to keep us in line and on our way. “S.” looked like a cross between a Border Collie and a Beagle. “S.” had the angularity and ability of a herding dog, and the nose, short legs, bay and bark of a hound. His howl was unearthly, especially if he spied a raccoon, which was often at night and on the few times my parents went out for dinner and left us at home with a babysitter. My Dad, who is good at telling tales, christened “S.” a “Bengalese Boar Hunting Terrier” which was an embellished title and pedigree for “Mutt.”

My next dog, and a companion for "S.", was an American Kennel Club registered German Shepherd Dog. "C." was beautiful and brainy. She used to ride around with me in the backseat of my car. "C" loved the car. As soon as she heard the word “Car” she would get excited. “Let’s Go!” she would woof. So, we started to spell “C-A-R.” "C." learned to spell. As I said, German Shepherd’s are “S-M-A-R-T.”

The latest dog in my life is a Golden Retriever. “G.” is a dog that loves the outdoors and water and has the biggest, softest, brown eyes I have ever seen in either human or animal.

Some of my favorite books that feature dogs and/or animals are: “Lassie Come Home” by Eric Knight, “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman and “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell.

So, what are your favorite books that feature dogs/and or animals?


Haven't I Seen That Song Before?

One of my favorite events is when a song I like is used in a TV commercial or on a TV show. It's especially great when it's not a common song, or when I discover a new musician thanks to the exposure. In my opinion, one of the best things The O.C., and the shows that has followed in its wake, has done is drawn attention to the importance of music. Now, any indie artist knows there's a shot at getting lots of exposure for their music via television.

There's a lot of sites that help you figure out the songs used in commercials, like
What's That Called and Songtitle.Info. There's even a site for UK commercials, Commercial Breaks and Beats. But in my admittedly-not-exhaustive search, I only came across one website that talked about music on TV shows: Tunefind.

Do you know of sites that help identify music on TV? I'd love to know about them! I hope these sites help with patrons who are curious about the music on their TV.

And in case you were wondering: five of my favorite 'featured on TV' songs.

1. "Such Great Heights" performed by Iron & Wine, featured in M&Ms commercial Kaleidoscope.
2. "Ashes" performed by Embrace, featured in Veronica Mars episode 2x01, Normal is the Watchword. (YouTube link)
3. "Stay" performed by Michelle Featherstone, featured in Alias episode 2x04, Dead Drop. (YouTube link) [Michelle, on her website, talks about how TV was so critical to her music career]
4. "Catch My Disease" performed by Ben Lee, featured in a Dell commercial.
5. "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story, featured in Nike Woman commercial I Feel Pretty.

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Confessions of an American Idol Virgin

Friendly readers of Pop, I have a confession: until last week, I had never watched an episode of American Idol. I can see you all clutching your pearls right now. I know, I know, it's shameful that I, know-it-all Pop Maven and Pop Culture Evangelist, have not been a devoted viewer since the days of Kelly & Justin, but there you have it. At first, I was too snobby ("Reality TV? Puh-leeze. It won't last!" -- Clearly, I was about 12 kinds of wrong, there). Then, I had a real excuse: AI judges & viewers were going ga-ga over the kind of vocalist who makes my toes curl: singers of the Diane Warren-worshipping, Celine Dion-imitating, 12-octave-range-cultivating, melisima-overusing school. With one notable exception (Classic Whitney Houston, and possibly, oh, let us all pray for it, the sans Bobby Brown Whitney Houston Of The Future) I cannot abide singing like that -- there's an overabundance of "emotion" in it, but no real soul. Give me some Aretha Franklin or Ronnie Spector any day over the cold vocal gymnastics of your average AI contestant.

Then, I got over my snobbishness, right around the time Kelly Clarkson's kickin' single "Since You Been Gone" hit the charts, but by that time, it was too late. I am married to an even bigger musical snob than I, and even if I'd been able to overcome his objections ("I'll TiVo it! I'll wear headphones while I watch it so you don't have to endure Simon, Paula, and Randy's fatuousness!"), there were competing TV interests in the same time slot. Gilmore Girls and Lost wins, AI loses. Except Lost has been on hiatus for a while, so I was able to surreptitiously record one episode -- the Hollywood auditions, and watch it. Herewith is my review:

My lord, this show is mean. I've always heard that Simon is famously mean, but I don't think so: he's just blunt. He clearly relishes being blunt, but seriously, the Parade Of The Deluded (TM David Cross) strutting across the screen -- that guy Eccentric, who referred to himself, without a trace of irony, as a panther? The engaged couple, one of whom openly propositioned Simon? -- what kind of response do they think they're going to get from him? (Ok, clearly they think they're going to get a "wonderful! You're in!" but this just shows how out of touch with reality they are, and that's pitiable.) I know that the bizarre behavior and obvious should-know-better behavior is supposed to be part of AI's charm, but I just found it cringe-inducing. I was embarrassed and sad for those people -- deluded & talentless singers they may be, but they are still people. I know that more than two or three of the 121 contestants made the cut in LA, but that's all we saw -- two or three good performances (the girl who sang "Feelin' Good" was particularly great, I thought -- go, Alaina!) and the rest of the hour was padded out with sad dreck.

Now, we have both a VCR and a TiVo, so I could record AI on the VCR and watch it, but should I bother? Pop readers, you have your assignment: convince me to carry on watching American Idol. Give me some good reasons -- not just "it's what all of America is watching, so you should, too." I can keep up to date with the show without watching by reading about it in Entertainment Weekly. Why should I watch, though? Convince me in the comments!

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Sports Matter Again

To follow-up on Susan'searlier post, I wanted to make mention of last weekend's sporting event. To back up Susan's point that sports are important to your patron's, Superbowl XLI was the third-most-watched television show in US history.

Note that I didn't say third-most-watched Superbowl or sports program, it's television show. It ranked behind the 1996 Superbowl between Dallas and Pittsburgh and the M.A.S.H. series finale (#1 watched show of all time). Yikes. That's a lot of people watching one thing. You could probably figure that a number of people who didn't watch the game were working, but I bet a lot of them did what I did and listened to the game on the radio. I've only been in Iowa for a week, but this game was huge for people out here. Iowa has no professional sports teams, and many people are Chicagao Bears (less than 3 hours away!) or even Indianapolis Colts fans (only 5 hours away!). The results of the game have been all over the media, the grocery stores, even in the stacks. I suspect people will be talking about the game through the weekend.

What does this mean for your library? Could you feasibly host a Superbowl event and show the game at your library? I'm not sure if there's licensing to worry about for the game, but you could do something like Princeton Public did with the World Cup this last year. Would people want to leave their homes to come out to the library to watch the game? Maybe. If you offered food (the YA librarians are nodding their heads) and drink (soft drinks people, be realistic) that would be a start. You could also offer 'gambling' by having prizes--such as free movie rentals if you charge, or gift certificates, or no late fees for a month, or something--for final score (you could make one of those popular Superbowl grids) and other things related to the game. You could have football computer games in the library pre-show as a warm-up for the crowd. There are football throwing games that I've seen in sports bars that I'm sure could be rented for a half-time competition.

What about the rest of you? Anyone want to throw a Superbowl party at their library?

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Welcome (Again!), School Library Journal Readers

Is it me, or is Pop Goes The Library totally dominating SLJ this month? First, we have Liz's excellent article on the kidlit-o-blogosphere, and now there's this fancypants Site of the Month thing we have going on. So thank you, thank you, School Library Journal, and a hearty welcome (once more) to your readers!

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OLA SuperConference Talk Slides Posted

Hi, all -- I posted the handout version of my OLA SuperConference talk slides. You can nab them at www.popgoesthelibrary.com/talks/ola2007.pdf.

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Welcome to School Library Journal Readers!

The February 2007 issue of School Library Journal is now available, in print and on-line. I'd like to welcome SLJ readers, who came here via my article in that issue of SLJ, Curl Up with a Cup of Tea and a Good Blog.

If you're not familiar with SLJ, please go check out my article. It has my thoughts on why the kidlitosphere (blogs about children's and teen lit) is such a happening place along with a list of must-read blogs.

For those who have only read it online, what you're missing: a photo of me blogging with my niece and nephew. Getting the photo taken was pretty exciting, and I'll be blogging about that at my book blog, A Chair, Fireplace, And A Tea Cozy, later this week. Also in the print version of SLJ: some of the graphics and photos from the highlighted blogs.

If you're looking for more must-read blogs about children's and teen lit, check out the blogroll at Tea Cozy (it's on the left). And I'm also highlighting a blog a day, under the handy title and label Blog of the Day.

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But It's Such A Good Program!

Over at Tea Cozy I posted about the myths surrounding the use of quilts in the Underground Railroad; Farm School has a nice list of resources but being a Jersey Girl my favorites are from Giles R. Wright, Director of the Afro-American History Program, New Jersey Historical Commission; check out this interview and this specific critique.

So, how many quilt programs does your library have during Black History Month? And what do you do to address the critique of the quilt theory?

Edited to add: Monica Edinger's thoughtful views on Appealing Myths.

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The Current Democracy of Pop Culture

Fascinating NY Times article on pop culture's dependency on user involvement. It's not just about voting for a singer on American Idol, though. It's about voting to continue the fascinating, potentially soap-operatic storyline of your favorite character/singer on American Idol:

“Voting is actually incredibly easy and therefore not that meaningful,” said Michael Hirschorn, executive vice president for original programming and production at VH-1, which plans a voting-based show of its own, “Acceptable.tv,” this spring. “I don’t think there’s a desperate hunger in the public to grab the reins of artist development.” He added: “But I do think there’s a desire for a deeper emotional connection to artists.” [emphasis mine.]

I'd go even farther than that -- there's a desire for deeper emotional connections, period. I think that's a major part of what drives the success of sites like MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr -- people are trying to connect with other people. The internet is a much warmer place than it was even 2 years ago. What are libraries doing to participate in that trend? How are we using these tools to help our users fulfill their desire for deeper connections with the world around them?

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Thank You, OLA SuperConference!

I'm here in Toronto, my favorite city in the world, attending the Ontario Library Association's Super Conference (believe me, it is super in every sense of the word -- super-sized, superlatively organized and super-interesting) and have finally come down from the amazing high of presenting to over 160 people at my morning session on pop culture, called (natch) Pop Goes The Library. This was a teen-centric presentation, but as I was putting together the slides (to be uploaded to www.popgoesthelibrary.com/talks/ola2007.pdf as soon as I get home & get my hands on Acrobat Distiller) for it, I realized that as much as I love focusing on teens & pop culture, that's a really easy sell. I almost prefer the challenge of selling my more traditionally-minded colleagues on pop culture's importance to library service. Maybe next year! Anyway, this was a wonderful experience, and I want to thank my Convenor, Kate Morrison, and my OPLA liaison, Maria Politano, for making the whole process of being a speaker move so smoothly.

UPDATE: I uploaded the handout. It's available here.

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