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Hopping Gangman Style @ Your Library

Usually there’s nothing more enjoyable than library promotional videos except just about everything else that doesn’t involve actual physical pain. Almost every entrant in the genre is just plain bad, designed to raise a smile but prompting a snicker instead.

I won’t even link to some in the past, because they’re so painful to watch that I couldn’t bring myself to do it, but you might remember some.

Like the one where the two guys sing a ridiculous song they wrote themselves trying to teach us all what libraries are really like because they know so much more than us about everything. *Shudder.*

Or there’s any video that has librarians dancing around the library to some currently trendy pop song, because nothing is more likely to attract people to libraries than watching librarians dance.

You probably work in a library, so you know what the average librarian looks like. Now imagine five of them dancing in the stacks. Now go take some Pepto and lie down for a while.

The history of these videos is so littered with embarrassment and despair that I assumed I’d never see one that I liked, but I’m wrong. Here’s a library-related video from the University of Maryland parodying that Hopping Gangman Style song, or whatever it’s about. Go ahead and watch it.

You might be saying that it’s not a library video, and that the title is just UMD “Gangnam Style.” However, most of the video takes place in the McKeldin Library, which is the main library at Maryland, and the very end of it takes place outside the same library. That woman holding books and looking at the students with surprise is almost certainly a librarian, and I’m pretty sure that woman snapping a quick picture of the marching band parading through McKeldin is the Dean of Libraries there. So, library video.

But why is this one good and fun instead of painful and embarrassing?

First, there’s the song. Let’s face it, anyone who can watch the original video and not smile a bit is dead on the inside. When I first saw it, my heart grew three sizes that day.

But most importantly, the main difference is that there are no librarians doing stupid things trying desperately to show how cool they are. No librarians are making up silly songs or dancing like fools. The only librarians stand and smile some and throw a handful of books on the floor. Okay, that part was a little weird.

The excited people are the library patrons, in this case the students at the University of Maryland. A bunch of middle-aged librarians hopping gangman style would look pathetic and ridiculous. A bunch of young, attractive college students doing it looks fun.

They look like they’re enjoying themselves. Even the red-haired Asian guy near the beginning who mouths “gangnam style” who looks slightly embarrassed at first then breaks into a genuine smile. It’s infectious.

So, if you want to make an actually amusing library video, having real library patrons look like they’re really having fun in the library is important.

Could this be done in a public library? Probably. Put in more kids and leave out the homeless people and it could work well. So give it a try. Just don’t use that hopping gangman style song. Everyone’s pretty tired of that by now.



  1. Not every librarian is old and not every librarian is ugly! I work in a college library where there are several librarians in their 20s (including me) and some of us aren’t that bad in the looks department either. Although that still doesn’t mean students necessarily want to watch us dance.

  2. Get A Clue says:

    Oh dear God we can’t even get students to turn off their damn cell phones. They are NOT bringing marching bands into the library.


  3. The Librarian With No Name says:

    One of our local public libraries had a pretty good showing in a recent OKC Thunder video. The video was a montage of the mascot (a buffalo, sadly, not some anthropomorphic cloud or lightning bolt) dancing in front of various local landmarks with a boom box.

    The segment at the library ended with one of the circulation clerks shushing him and then dragging him out of the library by his ear.

    Take THAT, edgy young stereotype-breaking librarians.

  4. I work at Maryland and that video did indeed come out of the library (good job spotting our dean, btw!) I think the big difference is that it came from one of the undergrad students who works in the library — he thought up the idea of a Gangam Style flashmob in/at the library, put out the invitation and relentlessly beat the drum to get his peers to show up. Our Communications people were on hand to direct and film the action, but the student did all the final editing of the video. I was afraid it would come out like one of those lame “hey we’re cool too” videos, but was very pleased with the finished product. Glad you liked it too!

  5. de la Tour d'Auvergne fan says:

    On the subject of where librarians tend to fall in on the attractiveness scale…

    There are plenty of good looking female librarians to be found in, for example…..ALABAMA.

    Said it before, will say it again, ’cause it’s still true:

    AL knows such and is likely jealous of said librarian-hotties’ ability to get the .05% of LibraryLand that are good-looking single straight men…such is part of what fuels her Alabamaphobia.

    Last time I mentioned this she soooo quickly tried to quip back with how she doesn’t date librarians. Who knows maybe she doesn’t. Bet she still does that little compete-for-attention thing though for the one decent-looking straight dude at conferences though Ego-trippin’ is a b****, aint it, AL?

    I remember your Halloween costume post of a few years ago. Hah. Like you know the half of it? Again, who knows though – maybe you do. Gotta allow the possibility since we’re living in that great realm known as Pseudonymia.

  6. UK Wildcat says:

    That’s almost as funny as the tradition at Kentucky’s Willy T Young library when someone rappels from the 5th floor during finals.

  7. It is actually Gangnam Style. (Not gangman.)

  8. @ de la Tour d’Auvergne

    What a diatribe. People in Alabama don’t have teeth.

  9. You do realize it’s Gangnam, not Gangman, right?

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