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.


Ludacris: Library Coach?

So, it's my day off, and I've got MTV2 on in the background while I check my blogroll and draft a VOYA review that's due this afternoon. Ludacris's delicious eye & ear-candy video for "#1 Spot" comes on, and I'm bopping along when the following line -- My music sticks in fans' veins like an IV! -- rings out and it hits me: libraries need to Be Like Luda.


Ludacris is always in his fans' faces, and is always gaining new fans: he puts out an album every year. Each album has at least three singles, and each single has an eye-catching and entertaining video, thereby ensuring that he is always on MTV and always on the radio.

Library application: Instead of releasing albums, roll out new programs or services each year. Throw an inexpensive, all-are-welcome party to publicize it, and make sure the press are there in droves. And then keep moving forward -- work out the kinks, streamline the way the service is offered, and then have the press come back to do a follow-up story on you.

Ludacris is superconfident: he never doubts his ability to hit the #1 Spot, as it were. So throws himself wholeheartedly into every song, whether it's his or, say, Usher's.

Library application: Assume you're going to do a good job. And then do it. Form smart, sensible partnerships & alliances with other libraries & local businesses. Don't fuss over who gets the credit for getting it done -- if your patrons like what you're doing, you'll know.

Ludacris is very talented, but he doesn't rest on his laurels: His lyrics are fast, witty, smart (and okay, scatalogical, drug-laced, and sexist, which we can live without) and though the same themes run through his songs (women, money, booze, sex, leisure pursuits both legal & otherwise), you'll never hear a lyric repeated. Ludacris practices. Ludacris is constantly improving his flow and the intricacy of his rhymes. Ludacris works really, really hard.

Library application: Library people know what they're doing, but as we all know, our education doesn't end with the master's degree. Invest in the continuing education & professional development of your staff. Find out about what they're learning and passionate about and let them run with those ideas. Practice. Improve your (work)flow. Work really, really hard.

Ludacris is a huge success because he not only knows his strengths and plays to them, but he lets everyone withing earshot know about them. He is a genius of giddy, effective self-promotion. I wonder if he'd be available to give a workshop at ALA Annual 2006.


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