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.



If you read only one post about Scrotumgate (in addition to Sophie's post, of course!), read Thoughts on the Great Scrotum Kerfuffle of 2007 by pixie stix kids pix. (The blog is written by Kristen McLean, "a designer, writer, and children’s book ringleader who lives in Boston, MA. She is also the Executive Director of The Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) a non-profit trade association for the children’s book industry."

Thoughts... is the post I was planning to write. And it shows the type of journalism that should have been practiced by The New York Times and assorted other newspapers and blogs etc.

It's a long post; but it is not a wordy post. McLean sets forth the timeline of the Kerfuffle, documenting each step with a link to the report, website, list serv or blog. She then breaks it down into the following observations:

"Words are powerful." And scrotum isn't the only word; the other word is banned. In essence, as McLean documents, what was going on at LM-Net was that "librarians were having some lively debate and strong feelings about the most recent Newbery winner. This is nothing new." Julie Bosman of the New York Times reported this debate as meaning "the book has already been banned." As McLean says in her brilliant post, "Give me names, details." Read her full post to discover just how many of those who participated in the debate, or were quoted, are not buying the book for their libraries (this is her source; while I don't want to repeat all the wonderful work & links done by McLean, that article is a must-read for those following this story.)

"Read the entire book before offering an opinion". Part of the reason I haven't weighed in more on this is I have yet to read the book. One of the more interesting series of comments I've read is that the character who initially uses the word is, basically, an old drunk (now in AA) who would have said balls or nuts instead of scrotum. Yet then another person says, hey, that may all be true but he is also someone who has been to Paris, appreciates this and that...and in other words, yes, would have used the right term. Anyway.

"What you say on a list serv may come back to bite you in the scrotum later." I'd add to this that it's equally true of blogs. Before you giggle at the foolishness of people who were misquoted, think of your own posts and comments; could they be taken out of context? What about any interview you give with a reporter -- could an offhand joke or comment be the sole thing she uses?

I've just given the quick recap; please, go read it in full. It's thoughtful, it's well documented, it covers all sides. And it has a scientific illustration!

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  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger sonja said…

    Thanks for sharing this perfectly articulated review of the "kerfuffle". I am so thankful to anyone who holds the NY Times to task for using the B-word.


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