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.)

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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.

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