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.


Meet Your Bloggers: Liz Burns

Alert readers will recognize Liz Burns as the author of several shrewd & well-written posts from PGL's unofficial NJLA Conference coverage of the last two weeks. She's also staying on with PGL as a regular contributor, and I'm so glad. I'm glad because she's such a good writer (so clear! such a good connection-maker!) and such an unapologetic & enthusiastic popular culture consumer & critic.

I'm also glad because I need other voices here -- I can't be The Lone Expert on All Things Pop. Pop is such a huge concept, and I've found that I'd prefer to specialize in two areas: music & magazines. Which leaves TV, movies, books, and so on. It just so happens that Liz, who I met through the YA Services Section of the New Jersey Library Association, is a total TV fanatic.

The third reason I'm glad to have Liz on board is personal: my husband & I are having a baby in September, and though others I read & admire have done it, I can't really see myself blogging & breastfeeding at the same time. I can't see allowing PGL to lie dormant for months on end, either, so I'm recruiting contributors. If you are a pop-culture obsessive, if you see every movie the weekend it comes out, if you have all the fall book releases memorized, if you can't get enough of The Sunday Stew, if you track trends in popular culture & religion, and if you can tie it all together in a loose bow that can fit libraries, their collections & services, I'm interested in hearing from you: sophie[dot]brookover[at]gmail[dot]com. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway, because I like things spelled out) that being able to write like the Dickens (though not actually like Dickens -- we don't pay by the word, here. Or at all, in fact!) is also required.

And now, ladies & gentlemen, I give you Liz Burns, in her own words:
I'm a Teen Services Librarian for the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library. I've been a librarian since 2001; before that, I was a lawyer. Why the switch? Well, there are overlaps between the two: helping people, researching, communication skills. And, just as important: libraries are a much nicer worker environment; and librarians much nicer and happier people.

Before I met Sophie, I was reading her blog and thinking, oh man! I wish I'd thought of that. [Awwww, thanks! -- Sophie.] My primary pop culture area is television. And I'm proud of it!! TV Turnoff Week is something that I do not understand. That we attract people to books by telling them not to do something they enjoy (watch TV), doesn't make sense to me. We attract people to books by finding out what they like (certain TV shows), and match them up with some good books? Now that makes sense.

I like movies (of course I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly), but I wait till the DVD so I'm about 6 months behind in what's good. And celebrity gossip is always fun, whether its found in People or Vanity Fair. (Vanity Fair: it's People, but with longer articles.) For most music, I'm sadly out of touch. My favorite band is The Pogues. I can try to blame being out of the music loop on living in the suburbs, with only regular radio to listen to.

What else? I like trying different food; I like talking; I like traveling. I like reading, varying from teen books to non-fiction to romance to horror. My total number of books read for 2005 is 94 (take that, TV Turnoff week people!!) I like writing; like any good wannabe author, I have half finished novels all over the place. Perhaps I need to be a bit more disciplined or less lazy. (Or maybe turn off the TV?) (Oh, shut up, TV Turnoff people!)


  • At 10:54 PM, Blogger Christine Borne said…

    Liz, I'm going to buy you "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television" by Jerry Mander for your birthday. Or maybe I'll buy it for you for *my* birthday, because I think that's sooner....

  • At 5:33 PM, Blogger Liz B said…

    Will Mander's book make me laugh? The article in the New York Times (Sophie mentions it) dates "smart" TV to Hill Street Blues (I loved Belker; and young David Caruso. sigh.), three years after this book came out. I wonder how dated the "arguments" are.

  • At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Okay, what in the world is cooler than YA librarians advocating for TELEVISION?!? It's been my life-long mission to prove that TV viewers can a) be smart and b) still love to read. TV snobbery is outdated and unnecessary. Storytelling is storytelling, whether it's written, spoken (audio books, anyone?), or seen (TV, movies, PLAYS). And, like any art form, there is trash and there is Great Art and there is the in between.

    Anyway, thank you for giving my Tuesday a little yay!


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