Discussion topic: libraries in pop culture

The library profession is one that has a long history, and is recognised around the world. This means that libraries and librarians sometimes feature in popular culture – movies, television, comics, music, fashion. Sometimes this is great – we’re portrayed as intelligent and resourceful people, sometimes even with super powers – and sometimes it’s frustrating, such as when ‘librarian’ is used as a shortcut to mean ‘stuffy old woman’.

For this discussion topic, we’re going to take a selective tour through representations of libraries and librarians in pop culture. We’ll share some examples we’ve found, both good and bad, and we encourage you to talk to your partner about how librarians are represented in your country. Do you have a favourite fictional librarian? Or library?

We noticed something interesting when we were researching this topic – we found it really hard to find examples outside of American, English and Australian pop culture. Our limited language skills were probably hindering us, but if you have examples of libraries represented in pop culture in your country that you are able to share with us, we’d love to see them.

Some questions you might like to share with your partner:

  • Are there any examples of libraries and librarians represented in pop culture in your country?
  • Do you think representations of librarians in pop culture help or hurt our image?
  • Can you think of ways in which libraries can use these representations to our advantage?
  • Do you have a favourite pop culture librarian?

Throughout the next two weeks we’d love you to share examples of libraries and librarians in pop culture through our Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as in the comments field below. We’d love to hear from you!

6 comments

  1. The image of librarians in popular culture is always amusing and has some significant real life implications, as well. I’ve written about this before, but I’m also very interested to see how this differs around the world. Please contact me or leave examples here! (My articles include “Know-It-All Librarians” and “The Use of Psychological Defense Mechanisms – By Librarians and the Public – in Response to Traditional and Binary Librarian Stereotypes” which you can find under my name Beth Posner in my university’s institutional repository: http://works.gc.cuny.edu/authors.html

  2. OpenSocial API Blog site – OpenSocial provides a collection of APIs for social applications across numerous web sites.

  3. I think my two favourite Librarian’s in pop culture would have to be Flynn Carsen AKA Noah Wyle in the Librarian films and TV I also love Evelyn ‘Evy’ Carnahan AKA Rachel Weisz 🙂 show – personally I find them both to be positive representations of Librarians.

    1. I think you might like some of the examples we’re sharing over the next two weeks then!

      1. Yay!!!
        Another great one is the Librarian orangutan from the Discworld series 🙂 (Allegedly once Dr Horace Worblehat 🙂 )

    2. Yes! We meant to write about him but ran out of time! For those interested, this is a great one: http://discworld.wikia.com/wiki/Horace_Worblehat

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