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.


Save Ohio Libraries

As reported many places, including Library Journal, the Governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland, has proposed a budget that slashes library funding in half.

The blog The Library is Now Closed has updates of the situation and actions being taken.

Save Ohio Libraries is also a great source for information.

A lot of library and librarian blogs and twitter accounts are involved with doing what they can; and for those of us outside Ohio, that involves letting people in Ohio know we care and are supporting them.

For those outside Ohio: of course, it can happen in your state, your county, your town. If Ohio is successful, other government entities will see this as a way to save money. "Penny wise, pound foolish" as the saying goes. So what can you do now? Let Ohio libraries and librarians know you support them; and start, now, getting your data, information, and stories together to be able to show the value of libraries and librarians to your community. New Jersey's Snapshot Day (Snapshot: one day in the life of New Jersey libraries) is an excellent example of such a resource (and no, I'm not just saying it because I am a Jersey librarian).

Note that I say libraries AND librarians. Because a building with books is just a warehouse; a collection of books that is based on someone else's donations is just a book swap; and volunteers cannot do what a librarian can.



Don't Blame Kate

I'm sure it doesn't surprise readers that one of my TV shows is Jon and Kate Plus 8. J&K is what I call "easy watching" TV; I don't have to think too hard, I can do other stuff, and gosh darn it the kids are cute! And I love shows about large families.

Yes, Kate could be nasty, but I'm sure if cameras were following me around all the time my TWOP name would be Elizabitch. And yes, Jon can be too laid back, but man, with that many kids you don't want to be too hyper. And now this season, as anyone who reads People headlines knows, the usual marriage tensions escalated to rumors of divorce. No comment from me, except that it's heartbreaking, and it's no one person's fault.

Remember the Louds? In what some call the beginning of reality TV, PBS did a documentary called An American Family about the Louds. They (and America) got more than the bargained for when Pat asked Bill for a divorce; and son Lance's being gay? This was 1973. Groundbreaking.

Also groundbreaking has been the The Up Series (Seven Up / 7 Plus Seven / 21 Up / 28 Up / 35 Up / 42 Up / 49 Up) series; following Neil's mental health issues has been devastating and illuminating.

The question of children acting -- or being used -- has always been with the industry. Until actual actors aren't needed in order to make films and TV shows, children will be needed on stage, film, TV. Go back to pre-film days, and most of the great stage families had the younger members acting since (and before) they could walk. But some shows take the illusion one step further by having the viewer think they are "really" watching a "real" child's life, not too unlike the Gosselins.

Ozzie & Harriet Nelson used their own names, their own sons, and their sons' names for their TV show. It was a TV show, clearly, but it gave many people the illusion that they were watching a "real" family. Many people still believe that Desi Arnaz, Jr, played Little Ricky on I Love Lucy, in part because of Lucy/Lucy and in part because in Here's Lucy Lucie and Desi, Jr. played her children (but with different names.)

So, what other early documentaries have given too-uncomfortable (and not planned) looks into the darkness of life?

Crossposted at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy.