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.


Libraries are FUN-damental: MLA 2006

Most of you don't know that PGTL is no longer a New Jersey-only affair, at least in terms of its bloggers. I've moved on to a new position, as a children's librarian in the Cecil County (MD) Public Library. I was lucky enough to get to attend the Maryland Library Association's annual conference over the last two days, and it was a great experience!

The highlight for me was the keynote speaker: Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter, available at better (online) bookstores. You may recall that those of us here at PGTL have posted more than once about Johnson, which, after all, is not surprising. Because, you know, he likes pop culture, we like pop culture; he thinks that it can do a lot of good for people, we think it can do a lot of good for libraries . . .

Johnson's keynote was a great speech: nicely tailored to the librarian crowd, very enlightening for people who don't understand some of the new aspects of today's pop culture, and full of great comments for those of us who think we're in the know.

My favorite part of the speech? Johnson tells a story about going to England, to do publicity for Everything Bad, and he has to get off the plane and do an interview for BBC radio, where he'll be with a moderator and a British cultural critic. The moderator asks Johnson to explain his book, and then turns to the other guy and asks him for his opinion.

The British cultural critic's answer? "Frankly, I'm shocked that Mr. Johnson could spend 230 pages defending popular culture without once mentioning Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Other interesting events at the conference:
--a preconference on science programs at your library, presented by the Carroll County (MD) Public Library. They wrote a grant for a series of programs called "Aha! Science at your library", which is geared for kids ages 7-10. It was a great preconference, and I can't wait to try science programs of my own.
--an interesting, but too short, program on marketing with the authors of the new ALA Editions book, Blueprint for Your Library Marketing Plan.
--a funny session with Richard Lee, who creates the cartoons that illustrate Will's World in American Libraries.
--"Management By the Book," a program that was inspired by ALSC's conference programs "Pardon Me For Being a Manager." This was a great program, because where else can you see that the Little Red Hen failed as a project manager, Olivia the pig is a great library advocate, and the Brementown Musicians show us how to collaborate?

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  • At 9:47 PM, Blogger Julie said…

    Melissa, I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you at MLA! Another great session was "Just the Feeds" with John I. from Palinet. Thanks to him, I am now part of the RSS feeds world with my new bloglines account! It'll make it easier to keep up with you and PGTL! --Julie, Queen Anne's County Free Library

  • At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Melissa, congrats on your new position! :) Drop me a line sometime and let's catch up.

    Say, are you going to ALA Annual?

  • At 10:31 AM, Blogger Melissa Rabey said…

    Julie: Oh, that's great! I love the way that technology really does make our lives easier . . . once in a while. :-) And thanks for reading!

    Jill: Thanks for the congrats! I'm not sure if I have your current addy--could you shoot me an email at melinwonderland@yahoo.com? Thanks.


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