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.


Twilight In Fifteen Minutes

Those of you who attended the Fandom Presentation by Carlie & me (or is it me and Carlie? I need a beta) know that I don't like Twilight but love reading all about Twilight.

Whatever does that mean?

Much as I am not a fan of the book, I adore things like Twilight in Fifteen Minutes. It's made of awesome, and can be enjoyed by all.

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Pop Goes the Book: Angelina Jolie

Are New York Times writers reading Liz's & my book?

From a recent article about Angelina Jolie and her Carefully Orchestrated Image (which, if she is looking for a supporting band name, in case this whole international film superstardom doesn't work out for her, Her Carefully Orchestrated Image would be a great one. You can have that one for free, Angie!):

While all celebrities seek to manipulate their public images to one degree or another, Ms. Jolie accomplishes it with a determination, a self-reliance and a degree of success that is particularly notable. The actress does not employ a publicist or an agent. The keys to her public image belong to her alone, although she does rely on her longtime manager, Geyer Kosinski, as a conduit.


But more recently, she has emphasized her philanthropic work, and her growing family. Ms. Jolie, with Mr. Pitt, now has a clan of six. There are three adopted children — Maddox, Pax and Zahara — and three biological children: Shiloh and the twins, Knox and Vivienne.

But she cut a very different, wilder figure in Hollywood during her marriage to the actor Billy Bob Thornton. After their divorce in 2003, Us magazine asked Ms. Jolie if she would agree to an interview and be photographed. According to two people involved, she declined — but then offered the magazine another photo opportunity. Ms. Jolie informed it what time and place she would be publicly playing with Maddox, essentially creating a paparazzi shot.

The resulting photo, the origin of which was not made public to Us readers, presented Ms. Jolie in a new light — a young mother unsuccessfully trying to have a private moment with her son.
Meanwhile, here's what we wrote, about a year ago:

Pop culture is overflowing with examples of people who successfully combine advocacy, marketing, and public relations -- they're called celebrities. Few celebrities acknowledge or admit the degree to which they create their own "spin," and not all do it well. And, of course, while celebrities can spin, they cannot control the media [though that NYT article puts the lie to that assumption]. What they can do is decide how and when to release photographs (Suri Cruise's Vanity Fair cover) and give smartly timed interviews in magazines like InStyle, Us Weekly, and People.

Look at Angelina Jolie: In the early 2000s, she was Hollywood's "wild child", giving interviews about her bisexuality and fondness for S&M (Lindsay Lohan looks tame by comparison!). Now, Jolie is the beloved mother of a growing family, giving interviews about playdates and humanitarian issues. We're not saying that Jolie is not a loving mother or a dedicated worker for various causes, just that she recognizes how the public reacts to the story of her happy family. With each additional child she has, by adoption or birth, Jolie tells a story about how that child entered her lief and how that child adds to and completes her family. This involves advocating and marketing an element of herself that the public reacts to favorably. As for public relations, open almost any popular magazine and you'll see a photo of Jolie as a proud mother walking her smiling child to school or with her children playing contentedly together on the beach. If Angelina Jolie can do it, so can the library. [p.63-4]
Indeed. Perhaps ALA could schedule an advocacy @ your library preconference with Ms. Jolie the next time we're in New Orleans for Annual?

Cross-posted at Pop Goes the Library's book blog, which we'd love for you to read. (The blog and the book, that is.)

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Thankfulness: Chinese Democracy, At Last

In all seriousness, I would be truly grateful for actual democracy in China, but today I'm tongue-in-cheekily grateful for the release of Guns n' Roses' looooooong-anticipated album, Chinese Democracy. Hipsters who love GnR in a semi-closeted, ironic way; metal fans; and 1980s nostalgics alike can now breathe a sigh of relief as the great opus from W. Axl Rose and company is released to conflicting critical assessments (Jon Pareles is disappointed; David Fricke is enraptured; Pitchfork has not yet weighed in) and free Dr. Pepper, (today only -- bizzarely, the coupon makes no mention of the album tie-in, though it was kind of a big deal a few months ago) through Best Buy only.

Which makes me wonder: how are libraries going to get this album on the shelves for their patrons? Will Best Buy accept Purchase Orders? Of course, Best Buy & libraries may be utterly beside the point, as Chinese Democracy has logged over 3 million listens on MySpace Music to date, making it the the site's most listened-to album ever. I also have to wonder if all those listens will translate to similarly huge sales, and if they'll be enough to launch a tour (which would be considerably more lucrative than album sales), and if they do, if Rose will be mentally up to such an endeavor.

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Mad Men and Twitter

At the presentation Carlie and I did at the YA Lit Symposium, we mentioned people not connected to Mad Men who Twitter as Mad Men characters. Want to find out more? The person behind @don_draper tells all.



A mashup of pop culture and YA lit

I was lucky enough to attend the YA Lit Symposium, and to see our own Liz and Carlie present Fandom, Fan Life and Participatory Culture. It was a great program, giving newbies the info they need to present fandom programs in their libraries, as well has giving old-school fans some new ideas.

Beginning with a brief introduction to fandom and its terminology, Carlie and Liz focused on how libraries can use book-based fandom as a launchpad for library programs, running the gamut from fanfiction workshops or library conventions to LOLBook covers. For those concerned about the legality of these issues, Liz used her legal background to explain how libraries can present fandom-based programming while living within copyright's restrictions.

Attendees also went away with a great handout, full of definitions and further reading suggestions. Those of you who didn't get a chance to attend this great program, fear not! The PowerPoint slides are available, and there's also my post at Librarian by Day with notes on the presentation. Liz also leads off this video, talking about the presentation. With all these great resources, hopefully it'll be like you were right there in Nashville with all of us!

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Book Winners!

Thanks to all of the people who entered our impromptu book giveaway contest! Across comments to both blogs we had a total of 13 viable entries, so I used a random number generator to produce the following results (drumroll, please):

#5: Loonstone
#6: Julia
#11: Peter Alsbjer

Come on dowwwwwwwn! Or, really, just send your snailmail particulars to popgoesthebook[at]gmail[dot]com. I'll mail your books out over the weekend.

Thanks once again to all of our lovely contestants, and fear not! We will be holding another contest in weeks to come. This one will be decided based on feats of pop strength, not chance!

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And party every day

A few months ago, I was chatting with some co-workers and they started talking about music. Many of the people I work with are really into classical music and opera, and they were comparing favorites. Now, I enjoy classical music and opera as much as everyone else, but I also, as many of you know, really like rock. So I had to ask, "Am I the only person in this room who listens to Led Zeppelin?"

Because I was the only person in the room who listened to Led Zeppelin, I was recruited to put together a list for November's BCCLSVisor, a monthly reader's advisory feature that offers lists of books on every topic from autism to the modern-day vampire. The list is now available for your perusing/collection development/rock music debating pleasure: Rock and Roll all Night. It has albums that represent the sounds of the past five decades, plus books on musicians and the rock genre.

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Break a Leg, Carlie & Liz!

As I type, fellow Pop Tarts and dear friends Carlie Webber & Liz Burns are attending and preparing to present a fantastic-sounding program at the first-ever YALSA Young Adult Literature Symposium in Nashville, TN. The theme of the Symposium is How We Read Now, and Carlie & Liz's program topic is:

Fandom, Fan Life, and Participatory Culture
A teens' experience with a book doesn't just begin on page one and finish with the book's conclusion. From birthday parties and proms to fan fiction and role-playing games, teens find many ways to recreate a book's universe in their lives, forming fandoms.
Sounds great, doesn't it? I am clearly biased, but I also truly believe that this is a topic just waiting to explode in librarianship, and it ties in so beautifully with many of the themes we explore here at Pop all the time -- assessing community needs and providing services, programs, and collections tailored to meet those needs; marketing the library as a place to pursue personal as well as academic interests -- so I'm excited to hear all about their talk when they return, and want to wish them as many broken limbs as it takes to rock the Millenium Maxwell House to its very foundations.

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Review Copies Out The Door

Liz & I hope you're following the progress of our book, Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect With Your Whole Community, at the book's blog, but I thought it'd be fun to cross-post a little bit about some book-related updates.

This is a photo of some of the review copies we sent out recently. But wasn't the book published in August, you ask? What took you so long? Well might you ask! There's a story, of course, which you can read here.

We've got 3 more comp copies to give away -- if you want one, leave a comment, and we'll pick three random commenters to receive one, signed by Liz & me! Ready? Go!

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