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.


Where The Music Is

Whatever else you may think of Jimmy Fallon and his entree into late night host-dom (and actually, I think he is okay. Not brilliant, but okay, which is fine for now), the dude wears great suits, has some seriously awesome music going on. First of all, The Roots are his house band, which is cool for several reasons:

  1. The Roots are from Philly, which, living as it does in New York's shadow, needs all the cultural visibility it can get;
  2. The Roots flat-out rule. They are tighter than skinny jeans and way, way more flattering to everyone's figure. Yes, even your size 2 teenage daughter looks better when listening to The Roots.
  3. Questlove, the Roots' drummer, wears a pick comb in his 'fro at all times. This will never not be cool, although due to the complex calculus of cool, it is only cool for Questlove to sport this look.
Anyway, The Roots are versatile and they both rap and rock, and I think it says something pretty great about Jimmy that he hired a house band that is several [hundred] times more professional & entertaining than he is. I think he's also shown impressive depth of musical knowledge & passion with his musical guests on the show. Thus far, musical guests have included Glen Hansard (of Once fame, singing the wonderful, slightly obscure R.E.M. song "Hairshirt"), Santigold, the Virgins, Ludacris, Public Enemy, and on Wednesday night, hipster dreamboats Vampire Weekend, playing a brand-new song off their as-yet-lacking-a-release-date second album:

Like Conan before him, Fallon is using his position as a late-night host to promote not just whoever has a new album coming out, but artists he is personally passionate about, which is great for those of us purchasing or handselling music in a library setting. As he provides lesser-known acts (and classic acts wanting to reach a new audience, such as Public Enemy) with a national venue for their work, he makes it easy for us to do listener's advisory. Because his show is archived at the show's website and at Hulu (not to mention YouTube), it's easy to say to a patron, "oh, you missed Glen Hansard's performance? Let me pull that up for you -- it was lovely! If you like it, you may be interested in the Once soundtrack, some of his work with The Frames, or Green, which is the R.E.M. album this song originally appeared on."

When I hear colleagues fretting about the Internet putting us out of a job, I think about the kinds of cross-media connections we can make for our patrons, and teach them to make for themselves, and I think there may be a future for us, after all.

Labels: , , ,


  • At 9:26 AM, Blogger Brett said…

    And let's not forget Fallon's 4th degree separation from Pop Goes the Library.

    * Fallon's house band is The Roots.
    * The Roots' bass player is Owen Biddle.
    * Owen is also in The Trolleyvox.
    * Beth Filla is in The Trolleyvox.
    * Beth is married to Brett Bonfield.
    * Brett knows multiple Brookovers, including the author of this entry.

    So try using that next time you're doing some library advocating: "My friend's wife's bandmate is in Jimmy Fallon's house band." The awe will be rivaled only by the confusion.

  • At 9:50 AM, Blogger Sophie Brookover said…

    How cool! Thanks for letting me know, Brett! Philly is truly the biggest small town in America.


Post a Comment

<< Home