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.


DVD Discussion Group

I just found out that the Stafford Branch of the Ocean County Library (aka MPOW) has started a DVD Discussion Group. My friend Jill is running it, so I called her up to learn more about it.

On Monday, June 5th, Jill and I sat down to lunch and to chat about DVDs, movies, and blogs. This isn’t a Vanity Fair interview; we didn’t eat in some trendy restaurant. We ate in the staff room. There's no detailed description of the oh-so-fashionable clothes we wore; I was wearing a summer reading T shirt. Johnny Depp was discussed, but he wasn’t at the next table over.

Liz B.: What was the inspiration for the DVD Discussion Group?

Jill: I was at the Gay Pride Month diversity programming meeting (pdf) for OCL. One of the things we discussed was the recent local case of a transgendered substitute teacher in Eagleswood, and the community responses. We wanted to have a program that would discuss the issues of the transgendered community without being heavy-handed. And as we spoke, I realized, hey! There have been a number of new movies that were critically acclaimed that were about transgendered people and GLBTQI people. Why not have discussions around these movies, like we do books? And since with book discussions people can check out the book, read it, and then come to the discussion – why not do the same thing with movies? I know at the branch, customers love talking about the movies they watch. So why not have something at the library where they can come in, sit down, and talk about movies?

Liz B: And the Blog aspect?

Jill: Blogging as a general idea has been mentioned at OCL, and I saw this as a way that we could start a blog at OCL, advertise the DVD discussion group, and include in the discussion people who are interested in movies but unable to get into the library to attend a discussion group. When I brought the idea to OCL, they were very enthusiastic.

Liz B: How does it work with the DVDs?

Jill: We needed to have enough DVDs so that people can check them out in preparation for the discussion. A special collection was bought – similar to how books are bought just for book discussion. The DVDs are available for check out when someone signs up for the discussion group. This way, a person can be part of the discussion group without worrying about holds. The borrowing time is longer than the usual three day DVD borrowing time, so that the customer can watch it a few times before the discussion, but also go home and watch it again after the discussion. There are ten copies of each DVD in the collection. After our series is done, if another branch wants to do it, they can take the special collection and have their own discussion groups.

Liz B: When will the discussion be taking place?

Jill: Brokeback Mountain on June 8th; Transamerica, June 15th; Capote, June 22nd; and The Dying Gaul, June 29th.

Liz B: How has the community feedback been so far?

Jill: We’ve gotten a nice reception. Staff have been very excited about it, also, and want to participate. We already have about a half dozen signed up for the first DVD discussion.

Liz B.: The Blog has introductory information about each movie in the series. What will be added to the blog?

Jill: I’ll post some of the actual discussion, but will be protecting the privacy of those who are participating in the actual discussion. Given the subject matter, they may be sensitive about what gets posted. Plus, the post will be there for anyone who couldn’t get in to make comments and join in the discussion that way. The online discussion part is open to everyone.

Liz B.: So you have discussion questions ready?

Jill: I found a variety of resources for putting together movie discussion questions. And a whole range of types of questions – everything from the movie making aspect, to the actors, to broader issues about the themes of the films.

Liz B: And refreshments?

Jill: Of course, we are going to have pop corn for the discussion!

Liz B.: At Pop Goes the Library, we’re all about Pop Culture. What is your pop culture are of expertise?

Jill: Trivia, especially movies and music. It doesn’t matter whether or not I’ve watched the actual movie – I can tell you the actors and what it was about. Probably it’s because I used to work in both a video store and a music store, I just absorbed all this trivia that is only good for Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit.

Liz B.: And the movie stuff comes in handy for DVD Discussion Groups. Thank you!

Disclaimers: Like Jill, I work at OCL. And since we were eating and talking, I did my best to take notes of the discussion. I guess I should invest in some type of digital voice recorder!


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