Oh my, NPR has noticed libraries! Woo hoo!
Or rather one of their bloggers speculates that libraries might become the next big pop culture wave after…cupcakes. I didn’t realize cupcakes were a big pop culture wave, except among librarians, and even then only if they’re slathered in chocolate.
Actually, the headline talks about libraries as part of a pop culture wave. The post itself opines that, after Old Spicey guy and other things, libraries could “suddenly becomes the thing everyone wants to do happy-fuzzy pop-culture stories about.”
To which I can only respond, haven’t we had enough of those? We know about librarians’ tattoos and videogame playing and whatnot. Can’t we just stop there?
The reasons given are odd. Libraries get in fights, for example. “Everybody likes a scrapper,” we’re told. It seems to me this means that if librarians were children, they’d be drugged or given time-outs.
Or Librarians know stuff. Well, sort of. They know about how to organize stuff produced by people who actually know stuff. Does that count?
Libraries, we’re told, are also “green and local.” “You can pretty easily position a library as environmentally friendly (your accumulation of books and magazines you are not reading is fewer trees for the rest of us, you know), not to mention economical (obvious) and part of your local culture.” Hmm. I’m not sure libraries would be more environmentally friendly than any other place. Trees are a renewable resource, after all, and most people don’t have especially large libraries.
Now that computers are taking over from books, libraries are probably getting less green. Junked computers create an awful lot of waste.
I think the “economical (obvious)” is related to the next point: “Libraries will give you things for free. Hi, have you noticed how much hardcover books cost? Not a Netflix person? They will hand you things for free. That’s not an especially hard concept to sell.” As libraries have been discovering, it is an especially hard concept to sell to legislators creating state budgets, because as we know libraries cost money (obvious), even if the money is worth it.
Then there’s a bit on how since libraries let in the public, there will be drama. Apparently, the NPR blogger agrees with American Libraries that public libraries are the only libraries around. The drama, it seems, could provide the “drama” for a sitcom. I agree that a public library could provide a great background for a sitcom, and already has in Australia, but if there was an American show about libraries, it would probably have lots of hairbuns and shushing jokes.
We librarians are told to prepare for our pop culture moment. Presumably that means only the public librarians, since the general public’s unfamiliarity with academic or special libraries means that those of us not fortunate enough to work in public libraries wouldn’t have our pop culture moment. We can forget about a sitcom, too, since jokes about information literacy or SDI probably wouldn’t go over well.
Somehow I think public librarians are safe as well, but in case they get their shot, I recommend laying off the cupcakes. Their big chance could lead to a reality television show, and they should be as fit as possible if they want to create a “situation.”