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.



Great article on Scrapbooking collection development in the August, 2006 issue of Library Journal. Notable facts: scrapbooking is now a $3 billion (yes, with a "b") industry, "with someone in 25% of U.S. households scrapbooking annually." Three of my co-workers are serious scrapbookers, but before I worked with this library I'd never met a scrapbooker.

Apple announced the launch of its newly retooled iPods. Improvements include all-metal cases (more scratch-proof), brighter screens, and more memory in the standard iPods to accomodate bigger digital downloads. Fancy!

Harvard announces the end of early admissions. This is a very good first step. Early decision allows wealthier, savvier kids to commit to one institution, giving them an edge over & above the advantages they already enjoy in the college admissions game. With a birth cohort as large as Gen Y/Millenials, any leveling of the admissions playing field is A Good Thing. And this move pretty much had to come from Harvard.


  • At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I like early admissions. I knew what I wanted, and it gave me a chance to relax during the rest of my senior year - not have to wait until March to know where I was going to college. Plus, from an admissions committee perspective, it's a godsend - estimating "yield" is so much easier when you have a good percentage of your class known for sure. Why "wealthier"? You can break an early decision contract if you don't get enough financial aid. (Besides, as far as I know, Harvard only ever had "early action" - they'd tell YOU early, but you didn't have to commit to THEM until the regular time, May 1 or whatever.)

  • At 10:29 PM, Blogger Janie L. Hermann said…

    I am a serious scrapbooker. It is the one hobby that I always make time for every month no matter how busy I am. In fact, I will be starting a scrapbooking club at MPOW in 2007!

  • At 9:52 AM, Blogger Sophie Brookover said…

    Jill, you're quite right about Harvard's system being good for both parties in the equation, but some schools with early decision plans expect accepted applicants to come to their institution regardless of financial aid. They might not be able to compel a student who backs out to attend Such-and-Such College, but backing out is certainly frowned upon.

    One of the reasons I did not apply early decision to my top college (which I wound up attending anyway b/c the financial aid package worked out well) was that I knew my parents couldn't afford to say yes to whatever I wanted. Less wealthy students have to wait & see what their financial aid packages look like.

    As for the yield, that's a dubious benefit -- it's a statistic that helps determine rankings in the US News & World Report special issue (among other periodicals), but it doesn't do much for students.

    Some schools will hang on to Early Decision plans, but I think elite schools looking to attract a more diverse student body will be better able to achieve that goal by doing away with them. Of course, ED is meaningless for the vast majority of schools, which have rolling admissions, anyway.

  • At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Actually, I'm quite certain (having worked in the dean's office for a while at my school) that EVERY college that has an early decision option will allow you to back out if the aid package isn't what you need. True, knowing that you can be set in your plans before your fellows are even done with their applications is a characteristic of "savvy" students, but money has absolutely nothing to do with it. Come to think of it, I figure I saved about $250 by only having to pay one application fee instead of five or six.

    I think rolling admissions is a state university thing. There are some fine state universities out there, but one would have to look at some statistics to see whether or not they outnumber private schools with April-ish notifications.

    Oh, yield does EVERYTHING for students! I had to stay with a friend for the first week of my sophmore year of college - and knew people who were being put up in hotel rooms a mile's walk from campus - because they didn't have enough housing to accomodate my class, whose yield was higher than they'd expected. Plus too-long lines for everything, over-filled classes, etc. A university that has 40,000 undergrads is one thing, but student quality of life at a school of 1300 is much, much nicer when the school is more accurately able to predict how many incoming students it expects.

    Sorry, but this is an issue I feel very strongly about.


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