Preview of ‘A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery’

One of my favorite byproducts about this site and research project is when friends and family send new reel librarian titles my way. It’s like I’ve got a network out there, looking out for me and my research interest of librarian portrayals in film. Thank you all, and please keep those titles and suggestions coming!

Last week, a colleague sent me the name of a new TV movie that she received word about through a cataloging list-serv. The TV movie in question is from the Hallmark channel (more specifically, in my area, the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel) called “A Bone to Pick:  An Aurora Teagarden Mystery,” starring Candice Cameron Bure as the title character — who happens to be a young librarian!

Screenshot of Aurora Teagarden Mystery series

I love the write-up on the Hallmark site:

A librarian with a sharp mind for murder, Aurora Teagarden is known around her small town as a master sleuth.

Remember this post about Nancy Drew, in which I opined that she would have been an AWESOME librarian?! It’s so meta… ;)

It turns out that this TV movie is an adaptation of a book series by Charlaine Harris, who also wrote the Sookie Stackhouse books (which were adapted into the True Blood TV series)! Harris wrote eight mystery novels in the Aurora Teagarden series from 1990 to 2003. Here’s how the series is described on its Wikipedia page:

In the first book of the series, twenty-eight-year-old Aurora (Roe) Teagarden is a professional librarian and belongs to the Real Murders club, a group of 12 enthusiasts who gather monthly to study famous baffling or unsolved crimes.

Sounds like fun! I haven’t been able to watch the TV movie yet, but I was able to record it during one of its repeated showings. So this means I will have a follow-up analysis post for you soon!

In the meantime, there’s a couple of videos on the Hallmark site for the Aurora Teagarden TV movies, as well as more info, photos, and upcoming showtimes.

Preview of the Aurora Teagarden Mystery

Have you watched this TV movie and/or read the books? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Guest post: Century Film Project

A special treat for y’all today:  a guest post from Michael at the Century Film Project blog! I met Michael recently at the ACRL Conference, and we realized we had a lot in common — after all, we’re both librarians in Oregon with film blogs. Hope you enjoy the guest post! 

Hello, gentle readers. Jennifer kindly asked me to post a little bit about myself and my blog here, and I’m honored to do so, even if I scarcely know where to begin.

Century Film Project header

My blog is called the Century Film Project, and it is a place where I post the reviews I write of century films. “What is a century film?” you may well ask. In my About page, I state:

“[c]entury films are movies that have been in existence for at least 100 years. As we move into the 21st Century, we have a unique opportunity to connect with a past period that no longer lives in human memory. The cinema connects us with the images and the dreamscapes of other eras.”

Screenshot from A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Screenshot from A Trip to the Moon (1902)

I have always felt that the most interesting thing about film is that it is a form of shared dreaming. We get to see into the minds of people who are distant from us and often very different, yet we find things there that we recognize as part of ourselves. From a historical point of view, this makes them a very strange kind of source – not a reflection of reality, but of wishes, hopes, and fears.

I originally had the idea of watching century films as a project of my own about 2012, and I started posting brief thoughts about them on my Facebook wall. In 2014, a couple of people I worked with told me they’d like to see these reviews moved to somewhere more permanent/navigable, like a website or blog. Hence, I launched the Century Film Project as a WordPress blog in March 2014. Since then, I have to admit, it’s kind of taken over my free time. The blog itself consists mostly of capsulized reviews of the movies I’m watching, along with occasional posts for context, about the news in the world of 1915, or the early film industry, or a specific filmmaker’s career. The other major part is the Century Awards! I give awards paralleling the Academy Awards on awards night to movies released 100 years earlier. Last year’s big winner was the Italian spectacle, Cabiria (1915).

Screenshot from Cabiria (1915)

Screenshot from Cabiria (1915)

There are a lot of neat things about looking at movies from 100 years ago, one of which is the way in which dates line up. We can think about how people then understood the Civil War in terms of how people of today remember the 1960s. Or we can think about inventions that became popularized in the mid-90s (internet, anyone?) and compare them with the development of film.

Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance in Burlesque on Carmen (1915)

Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance in Burlesque on Carmen (1915)

I have a checkered background that includes going to film school and working in film for a brief time, but I’m a professional librarian these days. Some of my first experience with information retrieval, searches, and organizing information came when I was a clerk at Movie Madness, a video store in Portland, Oregon. I still use what I learned there every day.

Jennifer and I met in Portand at the ACRL conference, which she blogged about a bit [here and here]. There were supposed to be informal lunches for people with different (non-library) interests, and we both showed up for one about movies. I know I was relieved to find people who didn’t only want to talk about the newest releases. And now I’ve gotten to write for her blog! You never know where networking will lead you…

Jennifer’s ACRL 2015 photo memories


Remember I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was attending the big national conference for ACRL, which came to Portland this year? I thought it would be nice to let y’all know how that went… Enjoy! :)

Originally posted on ACRL-Oregon/OLA Academic Division Blog:

We are posting a series of personal posts from ACRL-Oregon board members, highlighting personal experiences and perspectives of attending the ACRL 2015 Conference. Why? To help celebrate the national conference that took place in our state, to personalize the national conference experience for our local ACRL members, as well as to showcase the diversity of professional development and networking opportunities available through ACRL.

Would you like to add your own conference experience and/or photos to the ACRL-Oregon blog? Please contact us!

Next in our series…  photo memories from ACRL-Oregon Communications Coordinator Jennifer Snoek-Brown.

This was a conference of firsts for me:  my first time attending a national ACRL conference and my first time of living in the same city hosting a national conference. I took quite a few photos with my camera phone during the conference, so I thought a kind of photo essay would help me personally reflect on this experience.

ACRL 2015 Conference sign info

ACRL makes the…

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Countdown deals for E.J. Runyon’s fiction books

I just heard word from author E. J. Runyon that her fiction books are on sale today and tomorrow via Amazon’s Kindle countdown deals.

E. J. Runyon meme

I reviewed Runyon’s book, A House of Light & Stone, earlier this year, and that review expanded into an author Q&A. She initially piqued my interest when she revealed that a librarian had a prominent role in the book. :)

So if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, now’s your chance to support an author and score yourself a deal on her books!

ACRL comes to Portland

I interrupt our previously scheduled programming… because the national ACRL 2015 Conference has come to Portland! I will be spending the rest of this week at the conference — and this is Spring Break week in-between winter and spring terms, so no rest for the weary! Therefore, I am taking a quick break from the weekly posting schedule on this Reel Librarians blog to focus on networking and professional development opportunities at the conference.

ACRL 2015 Conference logo

If you’re wondering what in the heck “ACRL” means, it stands for Association of College & Research Libraries, and it is the academic division of ALA, the American Library Association. The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, founded in 1876 and chartered in 1879. There are over 62,000 members in ALA, and Melvil Dewey was one of its founding members!

The ACRL has an interesting origin story — it began informally in 1890, was officially adopted into ALA as a “College and Reference Library Section” in 1923, and was then officially reorganized as an ALA division in 1940. So this year (and conference) marks the 75th anniversary of ACRL, which is now the largest division of ALA and accounts for nearly 20% of ALA membership totals!

ACRL Conference Fun Events teaserThe ACRL 2015 Conference is shaping up to be a great one, with tons of programming and interesting keynote speakers. And being Portland — “Keep Portland Weird!” — there is even a section on the conference website, “Squatch out! for Serious Fun,” highlighting fun events in and around the conference.

For more info about ACRL:

For interesting (and slightly related) posts on this Reel Librarians site:

  • Click here for my “Typical or stereotypical?” post about typical characteristics of librarians. This post includes Melvil Dewey’s 1876 description of a typical librarian!
  • Click here for my “Cheers for library education” post about the 1941 film Cheers for Miss Bishop. This post includes info about the origins of library science education in the U.S. — and again, Melvil Dewey features heavily in this slice of librarian history!
  • Click here for my “Reel Librarians poster sessions” post highlighting personal pics from a state library conference.

Casanova, the lover and the librarian

This past week, I rewatched the 2005 film Casanova, starring the late Heath Ledger as “the world’s greatest lover.” It’s a slight film, to be sure, but an enjoyable one amidst stunning backdrops. Heath Ledger is well cast as the title role, and a large cast of well-known actors — including Oliver Platt and Jeremy Irons (!) — romp their way through the film.

It starts off with a closeup of Casanova writing his memoirs, and flashbacks reveal tales of love and adventure (along with heartbreak). “10,000 pages, my life and loves. That’s just about 1 woman for every page.”

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'Casanova' (2005)

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'Casanova' (2005)

So what does this have to do with librarians?

Casanova spent the last dozen or so years of his life as private librarian to Count Joseph Karl von Waldstein at the Castle du Dux in Bohemia. In 1783, Casanova was exiled from his birthplace, Venice, for the second time, and from 1785 to 1798, he spent the remainder of his life at the Castle du Dux. While the job — and locale — must have been quite a lonely one, Casanova used that time well by writing his memoirs, Histoire de ma vie (Story of my Life). All 12 volumes of it! And it is because of these memoirs that we know his name today. Becoming a librarian, therefore, helped Casanova in preserving his legacy — and by his own hand, cement his place in history.

(See, librarianship helps EVERYONE. ;) )

Libraries and librarians are never mentioned in the 2005 film. There is, however, a literary angle explored in the film. Casanova falls in love with a young lady, Francesca Bruni (played by Sienna Miller), who is a (fictional) swashbuckling intellectual who writes philosophical texts under a male nom de plume. She visits a libreria, which is Italian for “bookstore,” as seen below (Library would be “biblioteca,” FYI). There are a few scenes throughout the film set in this bookstore.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'Casanova' (2005)

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'Casanova' (2005)

There’s an interesting history to how his memoirs made it to the public, here in this article about Casanova on the Smithsonian site. The memoirs were published in bowdlerized versions all through the 19th century through the mid-20th century, and the complete text was not published until 1960. You can read the (bowdlerized) English translation of his memoirs here on the Project Gutenberg site.

You might also enjoy this round-up of 10 surprising former librarians. As well as my review of the book Casanova Was a Librarian: A Light-Hearted Look at the Profession, written by librarian Kathleen Low.

Good news + updates on friends’ projects

Cover of Cataloging and Managing Film & Video Collections: A Guide to using RDA and MARC21Good news! My compatriot Colin Higgins — a librarian at Cambridge and blogger of Libraries at the Movies — has written a cataloging book, Cataloging and Managing Film & Video Collections: A Guide to using RDA and MARC21, newly published by ALA Editions. Last year, Colin had asked me to provide editing feedback on the first half of his manuscript, and I was glad to do so. Even more so because he wrote a book about cataloging, and I’m no cataloger. (But I think that’s exactly why he asked for my feedback — if I could understand it, surely a cataloger would! ;) )

So in all its newly published glory, here is Cataloging and Managing Film & Video Collections: A Guide to using RDA and MARC21 by my blogger friend and reel librarian compatriot Colin Higgins. You can view more info and pricing info here at the ALA Store.

Congratulations, Colin!

And when I went to view the press release about Colin’s new book, lo and behold did I spy a familiar name listed as the book’s book’s contact and marketing coordinator:  Rob Christopher! The same Rob Christopher as the author of Queue Tips: Discovering Your Next Great Movie, which I reviewed last year? The same Rob Christopher whose Kickstarter campaign to finish “Pause of the Clock,” a film he shot 20 years ago, I featured a couple of weeks ago on this blog? It is a small world after all! And I am pleased to let everyone know that Rob’s Kickstarter campaign goal was successfully funded (as a contributor, I’ve been getting updates about the project’s progress).

Congratulations, Rob!

It’s a good day for real librarians and libraries! :)