2013 in review

Happy 2014!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report, which includes the most popular posts of 2013, top referral sites, and more!

And click here for the 2012 report.

Best of 2013

For this “best of” post, I tried something a little different. I went through the posts of each month and chose my personal favorite for a month-by-month “best” retrospective. It was a fun exercise to take a look back, and I realized that I had experimented quite a bit this past year with different kinds of posts.

So here goes, the best of Reel Librarians for 2013:

January 2013:  The Night Strangler and the underground librarian

It took me a long time to finalize this analysis post, “The Night Strangler and the underground librarian,” for the 1973 TV movie The Night Strangler (1973), sequel to the 1972 cult classic The Night Stalker. There was surprisingly a lot of material to work with — but it was worth it! Wally Cox as newspaper archivist Titus Berry was sooooooo close to being a Liberated Librarian.

Reel Librarians

February 2013:  The shushing librarian: Celebration or scorn?

I quite enjoyed rereading this post, “The shushing librarian:  Celebration or scorn?,” which was inspired by writers responding to the Pew Research Center’s 2013 research report on “Library Services in the Digital Age.” Quite a few writers waxed nostalgic about (mythical) halcyon days when shushing librarians were celebrated … a condescending sentiment proved false by several reel examples, including a glimpse at the first shushing librarian in film and this shushing librarian cameo in Breakfast at Tiffany’s:

March 2013:  The Jedi librarian

This post about the Jedi librarian in Star Wars, Episode II:  Attack of the Clones remains one of my most-viewed posts and got a shout-out on the Library Shenanigans blog! I enjoyed revisiting Jocasta Nu and this classic cinematic example of what NOT to do during a reference interview. ;)

Reel Librarians: Star Wars Library Scene

April 2013:  Blackmail and the British Museum

Funny that my personal favorite from this month was an analysis of a movie that doesn’t include a reel librarian. Instead, director Alfred Hitchcock chose to feature a library only, but what a library! It’s a look at the Round Reading Room in the British Museum — a design that inspired the Library of Congress!

It’s also a study in contrasts; the library’s history of tradition and conservatism is emphasized even more by being tainted by the blackmailer and the indignity of a police chase.

Reel Librarians

May 2013:  Librarian at first sight

I chose this post, “Librarian at first sight,” because it is a prime example of when, sometimes, I watch really bad movies just because they include a reel librarian. But those kinds of posts are always fun to write! (If not to watch.) ;)

Reel Librarians

June 2013:  Reader Q&A

This post was fun, as I had the opportunity to answer a few reader questions, including:

  • How many movies have librarians in them?
  • How many movies are there with librarians of color?
  • What’s the classical music playing during the Stan Lee librarian cameo in The Amazing Spider-Man?

Do you have a question about librarians in film? Please email me and let me know! I’d love to do another Reader Q&A post.

July 2013:  It’s a tie!

Monsters Librarian screenshotIn my opinion, pound-for-pound, July 2013 had the best overall posts. So it was reallllllly hard to choose a fave. So I didn’t. I chose TWO favorites. (I’m so sneaky. ;) )

First up, this “first impressions” post about Monsters University (2013), a film that a few people, including my sister-in-law, recommended that I watch in theaters. I was not disappointed, as it includes one of the most memorable reel librarian cameos EVER by featuring a 40-foot librarian. Let’s repeat that:  a 40-foot librarian! I also enjoyed looking up trivia about the MU library and reel librarian character.

And my second favorite of July 2013 was this behind-the-scenes look at all the work that goes into a film analysis post. I make no profit off this blog — it is a strictly-for-fun adventure for me — so it felt good to shine a spotlight on how much actual work and time goes into each post. But I hope y’all find that personal investment worth it! :)

Reel Librarians: Notes from 'The New Guy'

It all starts with scribbles

August 2013:  The Lego Librarian in action

I had soooooooo much fun searching for the Lego Librarian mini-figure and then writing about said adventure. (I also had lots of fun posing and then taking pics of the Lego Librarian. I’m not made of stone, y’all. ;) )

Reel Librarians | The Lego Librarian in action

September 2013:   Shushing the ‘Old Gringo’ librarian

This film analysis post of Old Gringo (1989) included an interesting side-by-side perspective of the central character, a would-be spinster, and the no-name spinsterish librarian. And the librarian herself got shushed, hah! Good times. ;)

Reel Librarians | 'Old Gringo' screenshot

October 2013:  Little miss serial killer librarian

In a film analysis-heavy month of horror films featuring reel librarians, this post about Chainsaw Sally was the most fun. And the most twisted. My favorite part of putting this post together was compiling the various looks that could kill — literally — from Miss Sally, our resident serial killer librarian.

Reel Librarians | 'Chainsaw Sally' screenshot

November 2013:  Special double feature: Miranda and the bibliothécaire

This was a very special post — a double feature co-starring Mister Pamp from the Notorious Bib site, the French counterpart to this site. It was really interesting to get another librarian’s perspective on the same film — in this case, the 2002 film Miranda – and to witness how our different cultures (and language) made a difference in our respective viewpoints.

Reel Librarians | 'Miranda' screenshot

December 2013:  Nancy Drew as a librarian?

Some of the time, ideas for posts come out of the blue, like this post about a scene in the most recent Nancy Drew computer game, The Silent Spy. The best part about writing the post was speculating on how good a librarian Nancy Drew could have been! :)

Reel Librarians | Nancy Drew as a librarian?

Any personal favorites of yours this past year? Please let me know and leave a comment.

Happy New Year! :)

Season’s greetings from your reel librarians

On this Christmas Eve, what better way to spend your holiday time than with your favorite reel librarians? Surprisingly, there aren’t that many Christmas-themed films featuring librarians. (Now, Halloween-appropriate horror films featuring librarians, that’s another story … ;) )

I’ve blogged about this before — as seen here in this post — but I’ve done a little more research this winter break and added more to the Christmas list. <<|–

Reel Librarians  |  Holiday logo

Christmas on Division Street (TV, 1991)

Emmy-nominated TV movie that includes a Librarian and Library Guard in its credits. Haven’t been able to track down a copy yet, but IMDb.com reviews do mention a library scene.

[click here for "Three cheers for librarians!" post]

Desk Set (1957)

A classic librarian film that takes place around the holidays and includes a funny — and boozy — office Christmas party in the research department library.

[click here for film summary and librarian role call]

[click here for movie/play comparison post]

[click here for post featuring Desk Set lobby cards]

Home by Christmas (TV, 2006)

A librarian is included in the credits of this Christmas-themed TV movie.

[click here for "Three cheers for librarians!" post]

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Top 5 on my list of Christmas movie favorites! And you know it HAS be a great film for me to recommend a film that includes the most notorious “spinster librarian” scene of ‘em all. ;)

[click here for film summary]

[click here for "It's a Wonderful ... Stereotype?" film analysis post]

[click here for "All hail Mary" post]

[click here for "Spinster Librarian" post]

The Last American Virgin (1982)

Not a Christmas movie, but it does include a brief scene set in the school library around the holidays. The school librarian is at the front counter, where there is a small — and sparsely decorated — Christmas tree, as seen below in this screenshot.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'The Last American Virgin'

[click here for film summary]

[click here for "The Last American Virgin librarian" film analysis post]

Ma and Pa Kettle at Home (1954)

The seventh entry in the “Ma and Pa Kettle” film series, one that includes character actress Mary Wickes as a “maiden lady librarian” who finds love under the mistletoe at the end of the film.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot of 'Ma and Pa Kettle at Home'

[click here for film summary]

[click here for "Ma and Pa Kettle and the Lady Librarian" film analysis post]

The Twelve Trees of Christmas (2013, TV movie)

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot of 'The Twelve Trees of Christmas'

Detail of movie screenshot. Click for full image and source info. (Photo credit: Christos Kalohoridis)

A new entry (yay!), which I found via the American Libraries Pinterest board. This Lifetime TV movie is not only Christmas-themed but also boasts a reel librarian as the main character! Here’s the write-up from the Lifetime website:

Cheri Jamison rallies the residents of her beloved Manhattan neighborhood to participate in a Christmas tree contest when her cherished local library is abruptly set for demolition. Cheri finds herself up against an ambitious developer Tony Shaughnessy, who hires Cordelia, a professional decorator, to win the contest for him. The competition is on, but as Cheri works to save the library she discovers that Tony is more than the heartless man she thought. Will her dedication to the beloved library drive Tony away…and with it a chance at true love?

[click here for "Master List additions" post]

With Honors (1994)

Rounding out the list is a college-themed film that includes a few scenes set in the library, including one set during the Christmas holidays. In one brief scene, captured below in a screenshot, one can glimpse in the background a few college librarians exchanging gifts and holiday cheer.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot of 'With Honors'

[click here for film summary]

[click here for "With or Without Honors" film analysis post]

Happy Holidays!

Master List additions from ‘The Whole Library Handbook 5′

As I mentioned last spring in this bonus post, I was thrilled to be included in the web extra supplement to The Whole Library Handbook 5 and its section on “Libraries and librarians in film and TV.” I have slowly been working my way through this list and the corresponding Pinterest board to cull extra film titles to add to my Master List, as well as add titles to my related lists for Foreign Films, TV Shows, and Short Films & Documentaries. Like I’ve said before, these lists are not static, and I often add new (and old!) films to work toward building the most comprehensive lists of reel librarians.

Reel Librarians  |  American Libraries Pinterest board
Whole Library Handbook 5 American Libraries Pinterest board

Gotta admit, it’s slow going. This might be one post of many to come! :)

As you can see by the lists above, I prefer to separate out the films — my Master List is a list of English-language films and TV movies featuring librarians — as well as categorize the films into how important the reel librarians are to the films, as found in the Reel Substance section of this site. The lists in The Whole Library Handbook 5 and previous editions, by contrasts, are all-in-one, with foreign films, documentaries, TV shows, and feature films all mixed in together.

My site also differentiates from related websites and bibliographies in that I am also primarily concerned with the onscreen librarian roles, not just onscreen libraries. Therefore, a lot of film summaries that describe scenes set in libraries include no mention of librarians themselves. I still add these films to my Master List, so that it’s on my radar to view the films and see if there are any librarians in the background. This often happens, as in the examples of Bloomington (2010) and Carrie (2002, TV remake).

So below are a few English-language titles that, thanks to The Whole Library Handbook 5, I have already added to my Master List. The starred titles in blue are the ones that include write-ups that specifically mention reel librarian characters:

  • About Adam (2000)
  • Toronto Stories (2008)
  • *Toy Story 3 (2010) – includes a character called “The Bookworm,” with a library of instruction manuals in the closet
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • True Colors (1991)
  • *The Twelve Trees of Christmas (2013, TV movie) – main character is a librarian, Cheri Jamison (Lindy Booth)
  • Twilight Man (1996, TV movie) — includes a library guard character
  • *Twixt (2011) –  Library Assistant (Lucy Bunter) and librarian Miss Gladys (Dorothy Tchelistcheff)
  • Undertaking Betty (2002)
  • The Undying Monster (1942)
  • Utah Wagon Train (1951)
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008, Spain / US)
  • *Virtual Nightmare (2000, Australia, TV movie) — includes “plucky librarian” Natalie (Jennifer Congram)
  • *Voyage into Fear (aka Encounters, 1993, Australia) — Librarian (Monique Dykstra)
  • A Warrior’s Heart (2011)
  • Washington Merry-Go-Round (1932)
  • *The Watermelon Woman (1996) – Archivist (Sarah Schulman) for fictional CLIT Institute, an all-volunteer lesbian archives
  • Welcome to Mooseport (2004) — includes a library architect character
  • Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
  • What Dreams May Come (1998)
  • What’s Your Number? (2011)
  • The Winslow Boy (1999)
  • Witchboard (1986)
  • Zodiac (2007)

Happy list-making … and checking those lists twice! ;)

Lego minifigures, a visual history

Earlier this summer, I posted the news about a new Lego librarian minifigure, which included my experience hunting one down. I also celebrated the second anniversary of this blog with a librarian minifigure giveaway, here and here. I thought I had thoroughly explored the librarian-themed minifig universe…

I was mistaken. ;)

Last week, while I browsed the shelves at a huge Scholastic book fair warehouse (does anyone else get really excited and wax nostalgic about Scholastic book fairs?), when lo and behold, I turned a corner and encountered the book, LEGO Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History (published by DK, 2013).

Reel Librarians | Lego minifigures, a visual history

Front cover — click for larger image

Reel Librarians  |  Lego minifigures, a visual history

Back cover — click for larger image

So OF COURSE I had to take photos. You’re welcome ;)

Reel Librarians  |  Lego minifigures, a visual history

Reel Librarians  |  Lego minifigures, a visual history

Turns out the modern Lego minifigure was first introduced in 1978. Who knew?! The librarian minifigure didn’t show up until this year, in the 2013 Series 10 series, meaning it took 35 years to get around to including a Lego librarian minifigure. We came after the mime, super wrestler,  zombie, cheerleader, musketeer, sleepyhead, lederhosen guy, and lawn gnome, just to name a few.

And when I mentioned that to my husband, here’s how the conversation went:

Me:  It took them 35 years to feature a librarian?!

My husband:  Well, they kept bringing it up, but they kept getting shushed.


Gotta admit, that got a chuckle — or two — out of me. :D

Nancy Drew as a librarian?

Reel Librarians  |  Nancy Drew logoThis past holiday weekend, my husband and I settled down to play the latest Nancy Drew adventure game, The Silent Spy, the 29th installment in the computer game series by Her Interactive. We are hard-core Nancy Drew fans (I grew up on the book series, as well as related spin-off series like The Nancy Drew Case Files), and we look forward to playing each new computer game together. This latest game release is set in Scotland and involves a highly affecting backstory about Nancy’s deceased mother, Kate. We both enjoyed The Silent Spy, especially as it had so many elements right up my husband’s alley:  Scotland, clan tartans, old coins, archery, the “Samantha Quick” tie-in (you have to be a longtime fan and player of the computer game series to get this reference), etc.

But what does this have to do with librarians? I was surprised — very pleasantly so! — that a librarian reference was worked into a phone conversation between Nancy and her father, Carson Drew (he’s a lawyer and protective single father). This conversation occurred about 2/3 of the way into the game, with Carson continuing to urge Nancy to stay safe and return home as quickly as possible. Here’s how this specific conversation begins:

Reel Librarians  |  Nancy Drew as a librarian?

Reel Librarians  |  Nancy Drew as a librarian?

Nancy is quite surprised at Carson’s suggestion of a career change! The conversation concludes:

Reel Librarians  |  Nancy Drew as a librarian?

What I love about this:  Carson Drew (or rather, the game writers) know about library science. Score! And he recognizes us as “the world’s unsung heroes”? ♥ LOVE ♥ (But pssst, Carson, you might want to check out The Librarian TV movie trilogy. That’s one reel librarian who DOES get himself involved in all sorts of adventures, and I’m pretty sure Flynn “The Librarian” Carsen has found himself kidnapped a time or two… )

But I digress … Nancy Drew as a librarian? Gotta say, Nancy Drew would be an AWESOME librarian. Am I right or what?! Her ability to recognize patterns and organize information would definitely be put to good use as a librarian. As would her lifelong quest to ask questions and find out info relevant to whatever adventure she is currently pursuing. Plus, in the games, Nancy is always seeking out books to read up on whatever topics are relevant to the game’s backstory and puzzles; for example, in The Silent Spy, we (through Nancy) get to read about clan tartans, Mary Queen of Scots, the history and construction of bagpipes, as well as different kinds of archery bows.

For  librarians — especially those of us who work with the public at the Reference Desk, like yours truly — every day holds the promise of learning something new, every day is like a scavenger hunt, every day is an opportunity to hunt down useful information. So there actually are quite a few similarities between detectives and librarians, however much our tools in trade and work locales may differ. And similar to private detectives, our job is to locate relevant info as efficiently and seamlessly (read:  quietly) as possible.

Unsung heroes, y’all. Carson Drew, YOU are my hero. 

And if you’re interested in learning more about The Silent Spy, click here for more info, including character profiles, trailers, screenshots, and reviews.

The Quotable Librarian

Yikes, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a “Quotable Librarian” post. For more posts featuring reel librarian quotes, click here, here, here, and here.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans!

Quotable Librarian
Click collage for image sources

Big Bully (1996)

David (Rick Moranis):  I’ve always wanted to tell you what a big impact this library had on my life. It was the first place that really taught me the importance of reading, of books. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that.

Mrs. Rumpert, the school librarian (Norma MacMillan):  Green Eggs … and Ham.

David:  That’s right! That was my favorite book. How did you remember that?

Mrs. Rumpert:  It’s 8,862 days overdue.

David:  You’re serious.

Mrs. Rumpert:  It’s what I live for, dear.

[click here for more about this film]

Desk Set (1957)

Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn):  They can’t build a machine to do our job. There are too many cross-references in this place. I’d match my memory against any machines, any day.

[click here for more about this film]

[click here for a side-by-side comparison of the film version and the original play]

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart):  Where’s Mary? 

Clarence (Henry Travers):  You’re not going to like it, George. She’s an old maid. She never married. She’s just about to close up the library!

[click here for more about this film]

[click here for my "It's a Wonderful ... Stereotype?" post]

[click here for an exploration of the "Spinster Librarian" character role]

Major League (1989)

Lynn Wells (Rene Russo):  I stopped being an athelete three years ago. Books are my life now. Don’t you dare laugh. In two years, I’ve put together one of the best special collection departments in the country.

[click here for more about this film]

Party Girl (1995)

Judy Lindendorf (Sasha von Scherler):  Re-code it!

[click here for more about this film]

[click here for more of my "Hall of Fame" of personal reel librarian faves]