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.


Celebrating The Golden Globes @ Your Library

Sophie: So the Golden Globes are just around the corner -- the awards ceremony is on January 16th. I wonder how many libraries are hosting Golden Globes parties? How much fun would it be to roll out a cheap red carpet (a remnant, perhaps? I bet some smart and friendly carpet store owner would be willing to donate a length of fabric to such a worthy cause) and invite all of your patrons to come dressed in all their finery for an evening of sparkling cider and cheese crackers, complete with catty remarks about the celebrity fashion missteps and running commentary on the winners. Even better: host a mock Golden Globes, and encourage library users to nominate vote for actors in imaginary categories like Most Expressive Hands (Wentworth "Sophie's Boyfriend" Miller, of Prison Break) or Most Method Facial Hair (Jason Lee, of My Name Is Earl).

Liz: One of my favorite parts of the GG is that the actors all seem a little bit looser. Is it because the GG, despite being viewed as a good indication of what will be Oscar nominated, is still taken less seriously? I mean, just because Pia Zadora won one..... OK. So maybe its not as serious, but man, with the Oscars I feel like I'm watching someone's formal, but with the Golden Globes I always feel like I'm hanging out with the stars in someone's house. Mock categories: Who will be late for their own category? Who will make the best speech? And will Heath Ledger Michelle Williams survive if only one of them wins?

Melissa: me, I think the reason the GGs feel more informal is because of the way the auditorium is set up. got the tables, so you can clique up with your buddies (or, more likely, with the people from your movie or TV show). the Oscars, meanwhile, you're sitting in rows, and having to deal with seat fillers and all that nonsense. never really followed the Golden Globes myself, but they definitely
seem like a better event.

Some of my burning questions are:

  • Is George Clooney a better director or a better actor? have a chance to find out--at least his nominations didn't come from the same movie. winnning one, but not the other!
  • Will some of the new network TV shows this season, like Everybody Hates Chris, My Name is Earl, and Commander in Chief, get shown the love? will it be another good year for cable TV, thanks to nominations for shows like Rome, Weeds, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage?
  • Will those Desperate Housewives split the vote in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy, or will one of them manage to stand out, a la the Emmys?

Sophie: I think we're not acknowledging the elephant in the room at The GGs: The Booze. The tables, organized by TV show or film, are stocked with bottles of champagne, and I imagine that there's an open bar, as well. The GGs are the frat party of awards shows, with fewer backwards baseball caps and in a nicer venue.

Interestingly, for all their obvious lack of seriousness -- the GGs are, after all, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's big chance to give a sloppy wet kiss to the beautiful people -- the Golden Globes are a much better predictor of Oscar winners than any other award. Independent Spirit, New York Film Critics' Circle, LA Film Critics' Circle -- none of these come close to gauging accurately the results of the Academy Awards, held just a month later.

So if the Golden Globes are sort of jokey and not that meaningful, but are still the most accurate predictor of (the supposedly more serious and credible) Oscar wins, then I'm forced once more to ask: what do these awards really mean, in general, and for libraries? Are they just opportunities for red carpet glamour, self-congratulation, and box office (or more likely, DVD sales) cash-ins? Which, translated to libraries, would equate circulation, basically.

I think that they tend to be more adventurous in the nominating than in the actual voting, for sure, which leads to situations not unlike the Newbery Awards, the committee for which seems often to give the Award to a really good book, and give the Honors to really great books. And yet, in libraries, we all acknowledge that we shouldn't only have Newbery, Printz, National Book Award, or Pulitzer Prize-winning titles on the shelves. I wonder if the same goes for DVDs of films and TV shows -- once we get beyond owning the top-grossing titles or the Nielsen-topping titles, do we only purchase award-winning titles, or do we go beyond the winners' circle and select (and showcase, and hand-sell) titles that maybe didn't get any nomination love?

Returning to my original idea about what libraries can do to celebrate the Golden Globes, and awards season in general, you know how it's assumed that libraries will have book discussion groups? Why not movie or TV or even music discussion groups? Awards season is a wonderful time to kick off programming like that, and the schedule could be organized around the categories: Best Drama, Best Comedy or Musical, Best Foreign Film, Album of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Artist, and so on.

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