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.


Campaign '08: Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles for America's libraries

Back in the day, I used to watch CSI religiously because I sort of have a thing for crime shows. I still like Grissom and Co. as much as I ever did but they are no longer my top priority on Thursday nights at 9. The show that is now number one in my Thursday television heart is Supernatural.

Supernatural, abbreviated SPN by fans, follows brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) as they travel the long unmarked roads of the United States in a black 1967 Chevy Impala. They tell strangers they're on a road trip, but the truth is that they're saving humanity from demons, malevolent spirits, and whatever else Hell can cough up. Sam and Dean were trained by their father to be demon hunters after a demon killed their mother and nearly killed Sam in a fire when Sam was six months old. Growing up, their relationship was strained. Dean never questioned his role as a needed hunter, but Sam wanted to go to college and live a more or less normal life. When the show opens, viewers learn that Sam and Dean haven't spoken in over a year. Dean tells Sam (after breaking into his apartment at Stanford, of course) that their father is missing and Sam, being an honorable sort, joins Dean to find their father.

Four episodes into Season 3, we've seen Sam and Dean travel cross-country listening to what Sam refers to as "the greatest hits of mullet rock," bickering in ways that will be painfully familiar to anyone with siblings. More importantly, we've seen two smart brothers who are fiercely loyal to each other and their cause, and who are fully cognizant of the power of libraries.

Yes, I said libraries.

When traveling the country, Sam and Dean often need to know the history and legends of the towns they visit. By studying the past, they can often fix problems in the present. In many episodes, their primary source for background on the spirits they pursue is the town library. It seems only logical, then, that Jared and Jensen would be perfect candidates to appear on an ALA Celebrity READ poster.

If you agree with me (and Liz!), you can email Rachel Johnson at rjohnson @ ala.org (without the spaces) and suggest that Jared and Jensen would make great READ spokesmen. Because if Orlando Bloom on a bookmark can inspire my reluctant-reader sister to say, "I have to read more!" think of what TWO celebrities on a bookmark can do.

(Personally, I'd like to see them holding The Exorcist and Grimm's Fairy Tales, but as long as they're on a poster they can hold Pat the Bunny and The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo for all I care.)

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  • At 9:34 PM, Blogger Alli said…

    Excellent idea! Supernatural really does showcase effective library research- and I would definitely buy that READ poster.

  • At 7:44 AM, Blogger Heidi8 said…

    I think this is a terrific idea - is this something we can plug/promote on our own blogs and journals and comms?

  • At 9:56 AM, Blogger Carlie said…

    Thanks, Alli! I'm just waiting for Dean to try to pick up a cute librarian.

    Heidi8, yes, you can definitely plug/promote/link to this post wherever you see fit. I think it would be cool if ALA heard from library users, not just library workers, who are also SPN fans.

  • At 1:42 PM, Blogger Shannan said…

    This is a great idea! That's part of what attracted me to this show in the first place - that these "hot" 20-somthing young tough-guy demon hunters, when they need information *Go To The Library*!! And that it was never something to snigger about, it was just natural - "Where are you?" "I'm at the library" "Yeah? What'd you get?" Because *of course* if you need accurate and detailed information, the place to go is the library!

    I'd buy this poster and put it up in my library.

  • At 10:47 AM, Blogger PRkitty72 said…

    This is such a fabulous idea!!! With the roles that the two actors play on the show always being in a library for hours on end doing research and not always being able to rely on the internet for information I think is perfect promotion. I would buy the posters in a heart beat.

  • At 11:53 AM, Blogger yoyogurl said…

    Oooh, what a great idea. If you know someone with vidding skills, it might be helpful to make a montage of them visiting so many libraries.

  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger Shannan said…

    So I was just thinking... I think I remember recently from a q&a article with Jensen Ackles where he was asked about how many books he had and what he was reading at the time.

    I can't remember what he said he was reading at the time, but I think his answer to the how many books question was something along the lines of 'too many to count'... my point being, he's obviously a reader and so a great spokesperson...

  • At 6:44 PM, Blogger Zillah975 said…

    Fantastic idea! I'm going to send the email now and will plug this on my LJs.

  • At 7:44 PM, Blogger Monica said…

    What a fabulous idea! I've sent my email, and also notified others with the Supernatural Underground (http://supernaturalunderground.com) so the info can go out in the next newsletter.

  • At 10:32 PM, Blogger Kody said…

    This is a great idea!

    I'd like to see them posed with Weird Hauntings by Joanne Austin, and The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings by Jan Brunvand.

    I'm sure both actors would be thrilled, and no doubt Jared's mother, the English teacher, would love to see them on a READ poster!

    I'm plugging this as well!

  • At 12:33 PM, Blogger Rachel Johnson said…

    From ALA Graphics: Hello Pop Goes the Library and Supernatural fans! Thanks for taking such a big interest in ALA's celebrity READ posters and contacting me to nominate Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles to appear on one. I agree they make a great choice. I'm happy to say that I will be soliciting their participation very soon. I can't promise they'll say yes, but stay tuned...Thank you.

  • At 11:41 PM, Blogger G. said…

    I think this is a brilliant idea! Have you talked to SupernaturalUnderground and TeamWinchester about promoting this? You may have done, but I forgot seeing it mentioned ... :-)
    Cheers ~


  • At 11:58 AM, Blogger Rachel Johnson said…

    Unfortunately, Jensen's reps have responded that he is not interested in this opportunity at this time. There has been no response from Jared's camp, which is not promising. I appreciate all of your interest and support on this. We're always open to ideas for READ posters or other items, so in the future, please direct them to alastore@ala.org or click on the "Feedback" button on the store's website. This helps in tracking and responding. Thank you!

  • At 11:25 AM, Blogger Carlie said…

    Rachel, we're so sorry to hear that! Thank you very much for looking into this for us. We here at Pop have another idea brewing for a celebrity to put on a READ poster and may be contacting you soon.

  • At 6:16 PM, Blogger Liz B said…

    Rachel, let me also chime in to say a big THANK YOU to ALA for all you did to try to make this happen.


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