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.


Introduction and Favorite Things

As Sophie mentioned in a previous post, I'm Carlie Webber, and I'm new to Pop Goes the Library, so...hi! Can I do the Eight Things meme as an introduction? Sure. Here are Eight Things about me, four personal and four professional.

1. Professional: I hold a MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh and have been a YA librarian for six years. Currently I work for the Bergen County Cooperative Library System in Hackensack, NJ.

2. Personal: I am married and have two cats, Henry and Beezus.

3. Professional: My favorite part of being a librarian is doing reader's advisory. (How odd, I became a librarian because I like to read!) When I grow up I want to be Diana Tixier Herald. Or Nancy Pearl.

4. Personal: I have had driver's licenses in four states (Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey) and been to Disneyland over 20 times, but I don't have a passport yet.

5. Professional: I live for public speaking! I've presented at conferences recently on the topic of book vs. fanfiction reviewing and using social networking technologies with teens.

6. Professional: I've been a YA book reviewer almost as long as I've been a librarian. I review for Teenreads.com, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) and Kirkus Reviews. I serve with Melissa on YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults and am the chair of the 2008 YALSA Publishers' Liaison Committee.

7. Personal: Before I went to library school, I trained to be a professional percussionist. I also sing.

8. Personal: I'm completely addicted to sushi. Mmm, hamachi.


On to three of my current favorite pop culturey things:

1. Snakes and Arrows. Rush has been my favorite band since I was twelve, and I really like the new album (particularly "Far Cry" and "The Larger Bowl"). My two favorite Rush albums are still the Rupert Hine productions, Presto and Roll the Bones, but S&A is nothing to sneeze at. It's got a more lyrical sound than its predecessor, Vapor Trails, and includes two instrumental tracks. They're playing Madison Square Garden in September and I already have tickets.

2. Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School. One of the things you'll come to learn as I post more to Pop is that I love really really bad television. I watch it all short of Jerry Springer: Engaged and Underage, Judge Judy, Maury, The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll, etc. Last spring, I was flipping channels and found that I could not pull myself away from the awesome trainwreck that was Season One of VH1's Flavor of Love. And because I have a well-developed case of Trainwreck Syndrome when it comes to television, I have watched all the FoL spin-offs. The one currently airing is Charm School, in which rejects from Seasons One and Two of FoL attend an academy of manners led by comedienne Mo'Nique. The girl who best follows the ten commandments of Charm School (Commandment One: Thou shalt goeth, girl!) and stays the longest wins $50,000.

3. 1bruce1, the Sweet Valley recap community on LiveJournal. Inspired by Claudia's Room, some smarter-than-I snarky recappers have taken to dissecting everyone's favorite '80's teen paperback series. It's like Television Without Pity for your book nostalgia. My personal favorite Sweet Valley book? Definitely SVH #32, The New Jessica. Hair dye and a credit card can go a long way towards a brand-new image.

(Other things I wanted to write about that didn't quite make the top 3 cut: Vanilla Coke Zero, Tarte Cosmetics Rhett & Scarlett lip gloss duo, the new Pete Hautman novel that I haven't read yet, BellaSugar, Top Chef...why I'm so into a cooking show when I hate cooking I will never know..., the Sidekick 3, and Neil Gaiman.)

Labels: ,

My Latest Obsessions: The Mighty Boosh, Percy Jackson, Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend"

To me, there's no better source of My Next Favorite Things than recommendations from people whose taste I trust to be good & adventurous. I like to think that my own taste is both of those things -- veering occasionally into the trashy, ridiculous, and snobby, but veering all about is part of being adventurous, right? -- so I'm here to share three of my current favorite things:

Avril Lavigne's song "Girlfriend": If you have not heard The Song of Summer 2007 (I know it's early to call this race, because we could easily have a "SexyBack"-style late entry sometime at the end of July, but I'm willing to be wrong later), get thee to iTunes immediately. It's probably peaked in popularity already, but it's so insanely catchy and earwormy that I just...can't...shake it. I'm a little bit perturbed by Avril's apparent 180 from bratty, yet at least sort of empowered non girly girl to still bratty, but stereotypically pretty girly girl. Still, there is no denying the Toni Basil-inflected, crunching guitars, crush on crack appeal of this song. Listen, and then listen again.

The Mighty Boosh: Like most good comedy, this BBC 3 show is almost impossible to describe, but I'll try: Howard Moon, jazz enthusiast, and his friend, the super-fashionable Vince Noir, are zookeepers at a bizarre zoo called The Zooniverse, but they spend very little time there. Instead, they spend most of their time on absurd adventures and quests that take them to places like Monkey Hell, where they help the Ape of Death overcome his coiffure problems, and the Tundra, where they attempt to capture the Egg of Mantumbi, a huge sapphire. Oh, and there's always a musical interlude in each episode. It may not sound hilarious, but trust me: it is. Check out this clip, the introduction to the first episode of Series One:

Marcus & I are now Boosh-aholics, inviting each other out for violent quiches and pulling Mod Wolf moves. The show isn't available on DVD in the US, but there are clips aplenty available on both YouTube and the BBC website.

Percy Jackson: Well, I'm certainly late to this particular bandwagon, but better late than never, eh? I am always on the lookout for good fantasy series to read, and while I'm waiting for the next installment in Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom and that famous wizarding kid's last stand against You Know Who (please don't kill Ron please don't kill Ron please don't kill Ron), son of Poseidon Percy Jackson is a very welcome new character. Rick Riordan's books, which posit that the gods of Olympus are very much alive, well, and cantankerous as ever, are rollicking good fun. The more Greek mythology you know, the more fun they are, but you don't have to know Zeus from Cupid to enjoy the ride.

I think this is a potentially fun meme, so I'm going to tag a few people. If you want to continue the fun, tag some other folks in turn. What are your three current favorite pop culture-y things? You're it: Carlie Webber (our newest team member), Pete Bromberg, RL Hartman.

Labels: ,


8 Things

Since it's been far too long since a post from PGTL (and we've all been tagged several times for the 8 Things meme) here's my 8 Things Meme entry.

(This is supposed to be 8 random things about me? Sheesh. Random UNKNOWN things? Or just 8 random things? We'll go with unknown or obscure.)

1. While at Wiscon this last weekend, I had lunch with New York Times Bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club). See, that was a totally random fact about me. (And I like to name drop, so nyah!)

2. I never worked in a library until late in 2005.

3. I once worked for a waste management landfill weighing trucks.

4. I like to flatten things while I cook. For example, when cooking spaghetti meat sauce, I will eventually make the whole surface of the sauce flat and smooth. I do the same thing when making vegetable dips. Any type of thing I'm cooking that is not liquid enough to flatten itself (soup, sauces, caramels, etc.) but not too solid to resist flattening (turkey, ribs, chicken, etc.) I will flatten into a smooth surface. Same thing for peanut butter, butter & cheese (I straighten the edges from where the last person cut), and so on. Weird, huh?

5. I absolutely love brussel sprouts. Love them. LOVE. THEM. (great, now I'm thinking food at 10 in the morning and now I'm starving)

6. The biggest rat I have personally seen I thought was a cat (and a fairly big one at that) until I got closer to it. This was downtown Milwaukee near the river.

7. Speaking of Milwaukee (where I grew up), while home from college in 1991, I was driving around with some friends. There was an apartment that had more police and resuce vehicles in front of it than I'd ever seen in my life in one place. It took us forever to get past them and back onto our random driving (ah to be young again!). When we got home, the lead story on the news was "Police are removing another victim from Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment. We don't know how many victims will be found in total." Wha? I just drove past that place! Kinda creeps you out. As I relate the story to my dad, he then tells me a story of when he went hunting as a kid near where Ed Gein used to live. My dad is certain that the man he saw walking through the woods with some dogs was Ed Gein. (OK, no longer hungry, and no longer looking forward to sleeping tonight...)

8. My favorite (in no particular order) songs (the songs I would want as a theme song when I enter a room) are: Sex Machine by James Brown, Sex Bomb by Tom Jones, Greasy Granny by the Charlie Hunter Trio, Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai, Rock Your Body by Justin Timberlake (I know!), and Something Beautiful by Robbie Williams (Robbie wrote this for Tom Jones and decided to keep it for himself). There are more, I'm sure, but this is a good list. These are all songs that when they come on, I literally stop whatever I'm doing (it could be anything...I mean that: ANYTHING) and get up a groove. What's bugging me now is that just the other day I looked at my wife when a song was playing and I said "I think this might be my favorite song ever" but I don't know what it was anymore.

I am not tagging anyone. This madness must stop! :)

Labels: ,


5 Blogs Meme

So, Pete Bromberg tagged me with this one a while back, and I think I've been not responding in large part because I'm really not keeping up with blogs right now. I have quite a bit going on in my life at work and at home, and all things blog are sort of taking a backseat, except for the team blog that my department is using at work -- I'm participating in that daily!

So, with the caveat that I'm not blogging it up as much as usual right now, here are three non-LIS blogs I am enjoying so much that I make sure to check my feeds for them daily.

The Happiness Project: Gretchen Rubin is "writing a memoir about the year I spent test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether from Aristotle or St. Therese or Martin Seligman or Oprah." Sounds cool to me! I particuarly like Tip Wednesdays.

David Seah on Productivity: So creative, so in tune with his own process of getting motivated, getting done, getting ON with things. Definitely check out the Printable CEO downloads -- lots of useful stuff there.

Soulemama: Amanda Soule lives in rural Maine with her three homeschooled/unschooled kids, and has the kind of creative brain I dream of having. Just looking at her sewing projects is enough to make me price out sewing machines, and reading about the ways in which she really knows each of her kids is inspiring to me. Soulemama is my present drug of choice. I can't wait for her book to be published.

I think I'll pass on tagging anyone, as this meme has most likely run its course. Sorry I got to the party so late!

Labels: , ,


5 Non Library Blogs I Read. Plus Books.

I'm very excited to see Janie Hermann from Library Garden tag me with the latest library-blog meme. First, because hey, we Jersey Girls have to stick together! And second, because I'd noticed the meme going around and had been thinking about doing it anyway, but wanted to do it with a twist. And Janie also did it with a twist! Yay, Garden State.

So technically, the meme is "5 non-library blogs that we read," in part a reaction to that American Libraries story. So it's like cool, Liz, put your money where your mouth is!

So, here's the thing. I'm going to give you 10 blogs, 5 non-library AND non-book, and 5 book blogs. Because between the AL story, and the meme responses not containing many lit blogs, I feel like pimping books. Because libraries may be about outreach, and Web 2.0, and customer service...but the books are still important!

My 5 non-library blogs:

TV Squad. Excellent TV news, including recaps. (Not as snarky or as long as Television Without Pity, which isn't technically a blog, so I'm sneaking it in this way.)

Gawker. Gossip. (It was a tough call between this and Defamer...oops, I snuck in an extra blog? My bad.)

Whedonesque. A Blog about Joss Whedon; and anyone ever connected to the Whedonverse. A minor character starring in a new TV series? Find it out here!

Go Fug Yourself. It is possible to be too thin, and too rich.

Here And There Japan. The author lives and blogs from Japan; it's full of photos and facts about everyday life, geared towards children. Ever since I stumbled across this, I've been fascinated. I cannot wait to be able to travel to Japan.

My 5 book blogs:

GalleyCat. A blog about books and publishing.

Blog of a Bookslut. Jessa Crispin's blog, dedicated to those who love to read; news, reviews, commentary, insight.

Snark Spot. Jennifer Weiner's blog. I enjoy both her "slice of life" episodes and her spirited defense of "chick lit".

A Fuse #8 Production. I wanted to include one and only one kidlit blog; and I'm going with Fuse. She covers so many areas of the kidlitosphere, that if you just go there you'll find the rest of the 'verse quick enough. Plus, librarian! Woo hoo!

Brotherhood 2.0. The world must watch this engaging videoblog by John Green and his brother. Yes, it's that good.

I tag: on my library side, the Rock & Roll Librarian, Dog Ear, Purled Pouches and 2nd Gen Librarian.

On the kidlitosphere side, let's change the Non to "5 Non KidLit Blogs I Read" and tag MotherReader, Big A little a, Chicken Spaghetti, Book Buds and Scholar's Blog. And anyone else who wants to play!

Cross posted at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy.



Five Things You May Not Know About Sophie

Thanks to Nancy Dowd for tagging me! I secretly (well, not-so-secretly, now) love memes.

  1. I speak Chinese. Very poorly, now, alas, as I haven't bothered to practice in years, but thanks to four years of Mandarin in college, I can generally follow along without too much need for subtitles when I watch Chinese movies.
  2. I was active in Girl Scouts until high school. I now think those positive experiences helped pave the way for me to attend a really fantastic women's college.
  3. You might know this if you follow my Flickr account, but I'll throw it out for the average reader, anyway: I am a serious baker. I collect books about baking, and, next to knitting and reading, it's my favorite hobby.
  4. Because I am ragingly anglophilic, have a really good memory, and apparently had lots of free time during my teen years, I can recite entire Monty Python sketches (my two favorites: Mrs. Essence and Mrs. Conclusion Visit Jean-Paul Sartre, and The All-England Summarize Proust Competition) and full scenes of Blackadder (particularly the Elizabethan Second Series, which is my favorite) from memory.
  5. For all my YA fantasy-loving ways, my favorite book of all time, the one I re-read nearly every year, is Persuasion, by Jane Austen.

I'm tagging the following four people: John Blyberg, Amanda Etches-Johnson, Rochelle Hartman, and Adrienne Furness. Tag, you're it!

Labels: , ,