Revisiting favorites | Pride and Prejudice librarian, Feb. 18, 2014

Continuing along my “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour and revisiting past favorites on this blog… next up is a post from February 2014, “Pride and Prejudice and librarians,” in which I analyze the character of Mr. Collins in the 1940 remake of Pride and Prejudice. The character of Mr. Collins was changed from a clergyman in the book to a private librarian to Lady Catherine de Burgh in the film, so I delve into researching possible reasons why this change came about.

I’ll pause while you browse the original post😉

Screenshot of 'Pride and Prejudice and librarians' post

Screenshot of ‘Pride and Prejudice and librarians’ post

Why this post?

Is it weird to admit that sometimes, I really enjoy rereading posts I have written? That’s the entire reason for this “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour, but still… maybe it’s odd to admit this in public and on the internet. Oh well, too late now!

But once again, I really do enjoy rereading this post, probably mostly because I love Jane Austen! I am a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, after all. (Seriously. That’s a thing. There’s even a huge Annual General Meeting every year to celebrate and analyze all things Austen.)

I also enjoy this post because I got to detail research avenues I took to try and piece together clues about why the profession of Mr. Collins was changed from a clergyman to a librarian. And I think I came up with some likely theories, including the influence of screwball comedies and adhering to the Hays Code of censorship during that time period.

And once again, I got to go off on a tangent with this post and a minor librarian character. (His profession is mentioned only once, at the beginning, and there are no scenes set in Lady Catherine’s private library.) I can do a lot with a little!🙂

New thoughts?

Rereading this post made me remember that I still need to get a copy of Helen Jerome’s 1934 dramatization of the play entitled Pride and Prejudice: A Sentimental Comedy in Three Acts, in order to close the loop on whether or not Collins’s profession is changed in the play this film is based on.

I also was struck by the significance of Collins’s own personal introduction of himself, in which he introduces himself as a librarian.

Screenshot of 'Pride and Prejudice and librarians' post

Screenshot of ‘Pride and Prejudice and librarians’ post

I don’t think this is the first time I’ve come across an introduction of a reel librarian character in which that onscreen introduction almost feels like an apology for the librarian profession. Like the character is saying, “Oh don’t mind me, I’m just a librarian.” How many other reel librarians have introduced themselves, and their librarian profession, as a way of apology? What does this signify to the audience, if we are seen onscreen as seemingly embarrassed by our own profession?

It has stirred a possible future post idea… but perhaps it would be like opening Pandora’s box?😉


I’ll be back next week to revisit another Reel Librarians favorite! Have I come across any of your favorites during this “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Revisiting favorites | Nancy Drew as librarian, Dec. 3, 2013

Continuing on my “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour and revisiting past favorites, next is my “Nancy Drew as a librarian?” post from Dec. 3, 2013.

Once again, I’ll pause to give you the opportunity to read the original post…😉

Reel Librarians | Screenshot of 'Nancy Drew as a librarian?' post

This post was inspired by playing the Nancy Drew computer game, The Silent Spy, which is set in Scotland. About 2/3 of the way into the game, a librarian reference was worked into a phone conversation between Nancy and her father, Carson Drew (he’s a lawyer and protective single father).

Reel Librarians | Nancy Drew as a librarian?

Reel Librarians | Nancy Drew as a librarian?

Why this post?

  1. I love Nancy Drew.
  2. I love that the phrase “library sciences” is used.
  3. I love that librarians are referred to as “the world’s unsung heroes.”
  4. Rereading this post makes me smile.
  5. See point #1 again. ♥

New thoughts?

I still stand by what I wrote back in 2013:

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.

And:

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.

And I’m not the only one who has connected the dots between private investigation and librarianship! I did a quick search on Google (keywords included similarities, librarians, and private detectives), and uncovered some interesting results, including:

“I must begin by explaining that the two jobs are not quite as contrary as one might think. Basically, both  jobs require effective searching skills. Both jobs require accuracy and a great deal of thought. Both require attention to detail. Both are customer-focused. Clearly one is more dangerous than the other; I have not decided which!”

  • A 2012 entry on the LIS Careers site that goes into detail about the similarities between library research skills and “skip tracing,” which is defined in the post as the process of locating a person’s whereabouts, an essential skill of private investigators.
  • This page from the Career OneStop website that compares the two professions of private detectives/investigators and librarians. This side-by-side comparison reveals the following skills and knowledge that the two professions have in common, including critical thinking, active listening, psychology, speaking, and judgment and decision making:

Reel Librarians | Screenshot comparison of private detectives and librarians from Career OneStop website

So, would Nancy Drew make a good librarian? A resounding YES! I wonder if there’s a librarian-shaped hole in the world of Nancy Drew fan fiction…😉


I’ll be back next week to revisit another Reel Librarians favorite!

Revisiting favorites | Serial killer librarian, Oct. 30, 2013

From social commentary to serial killers… never a dull moment on the Reel Librarians blog!

Continuing on my “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour and revisiting past favorites, next is my “Little miss serial killer librarian” post from Oct. 30, 2013, about the title character in 2004’s Chainsaw Sally.

Once again, I’ll pause to give you the opportunity to read the original post…😉

Screenshot from a favorite post on Reel Librarians

I have made it a tradition to focus on thriller/horror/scary/mystery movies each October. Librarians are in a LOT of scary movies, from bit parts to lead characters, including the title character of Sally in the cult hit Chainsaw Sally, who’s a librarian by day and serial killer by night.

Why this post?

I had a lot of fun watching this film, because it’s awesomely bad. Here’s how I put it back in 2013:

The film seems to have inspired an either love-it-or-hate-it kind of reaction. Some find the purposefully over-the-top gore and camp refreshing, like in the DVD Verdict review here, whose reviewer proclaimed it as a “nifty little indie horror-comedy,” while others dislike the trashy, low-rent look and feel. It is decidedly trashy, but also very self-aware of being so.

Rereading this post, I can also tell how much fun I had writing it, with phrases I used like “red-lipped relish” and lines like “And each of those insults earns a look that could kill. Literally.” It’s not every day you get such a meaty role for a reel librarian — har har — and you can tell star April Monique Burril is having a blast playing little miss serial killer Sally.

Sally kills library patrons who have broken library rules, including talking loudly, not returning a book, and misspelling a word. However, as I stated in the original post:

But the film also wants it both ways. It wants to make fun of librarian stereotypes and all those library rules, but it also wants to give Sally an easy out with her family’s tragic backstory.

New thoughts?

I always look forward to October, when I get to round up some more reel librarians in thriller and horror films. I teased at a possible connection in this original post between Sally from Chainsaw Sally and “Conan the Librarian” from UHF:

Screenshot from Reel Librarians post

Screenshot from Reel Librarians post

Now, after having reread this post, I’m inspired to further explore that idea in an upcoming post this October!

I was also inspired to look up star April Monique Burril to see what she’s been up to lately. The original film inspired two follow-up series, The Chainsaw Sally Show, plus Burril played the same “Chainsaw Sally” character in a 2012 film called Little Big Boy. Looks like I have another title to add to my Master List…🙂


I’ll be back next week to revisit another Reel Librarians favorite!

Revisiting favorites | The shushing librarian, Feb. 5, 2013

Continuing on my “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour and revisiting past favorites on this blog… next is the first of my favorite posts from 2013, an essay-style post entitled “The shushing librarian: Celebration or scorn?,” posted on Feb. 5, 2013.

Once again, I’ll pause to give you the opportunity to read the original post…😉

Screenshot from a favorite post on Reel Librarians

That post began by highlighting a then-recent survey from the Pew Research Center about “Library Services in the Digital Age.” My essay-style post, however, was not about the survey but rather about articles written about the survey and writers who focused solely on a return to quiet zones and the “shushing librarian” (the survey results actually highlighted that the public likes a variety of library services, including quiet zones and group study spaces).

Below are screenshots of quotes from two articles that sent me into a (not-so-quiet) rage.

First one was from The New York Times Sunday Review:

Reel Librarians screenshot

Reel Librarians screenshot

The next quote was from a Salon.com article:

Reel Librarians screenshot

Reel Librarians screenshot

I then used several examples of reel librarian portrayals of “shushing librarians” onscreen — and the scorn they inspire from other characters in the films — to counteract these would-be celebratory statements that actually serve as back-handed compliments.

Why this post?

My essay-style post is a good example of how you can use reel librarian examples to illustrate a point about society and pop culture. For that post, I included reel librarian characters and scenes from 1933’s The Good Companions (the first shushing librarian seen in film), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Waitress!, The Last American Virgin, and The Philadelphia Story.

I also totally got my snark on writing that post.😉

It also has one of my favorite conclusions:

Screenshot from a favorite post on Reel Librarians

Screenshot from a favorite post on Reel Librarians

New thoughts?

Rereading that post, I still find myself getting incensed, particularly by that line about how “professional shushers were once celebrated in cartoon and sitcom.” That is total nonsense, then and now. First of all, librarians are NOT “professional shushers,” and librarians who have shushed others onscreen have NEVER been “celebrated in cartoon and sitcom.” Rather, these kinds of “shushing librarian” portrayals have perpetuated a misconception onscreen, a stereotypical conceit that has always inspired onscreen derision, scorn, rolling eyes, and dismissal, which is as damaging in reel life as it is in real life. As I wrote back in 2013:

Unflattering portrayals all, with librarian characters who serve as the butt of jokes, not as the receiver of esteem or respect.

And I still feel outrage at the cluelessness of those who seek to “celebrate” that kind of nonexistent nostalgia, and who actually end up helping perpetuate misconceptions.

I absolutely agree that quiet areas are often overlooked in today’s busy and loud world, and I advocate for quiet zones in libraries. They are just as important as areas in libraries where people don’t have to be quiet, where they can work together and communicate. Recognizing the variety of services that libraries and librarians provide is key — the key to public recognition and understanding of what we can do for them. Focusing on just one aspect of that, and a misunderstood one at that, is detrimental to the efforts to both properly understand and adequately fund libraries in this country.

That also leads me to the current and very relevant American Library Association public awareness campaign, “Libraries Transform,” that addresses just this kind of misplaced attention. Instead, librarians across the U.S. are united on how “Libraries Transform” and “showcasing the transformative nature of today’s libraries and elevating the critical role libraries play in the digital age.”

And boom, we’ve come full circle, from a 2013 Pew Research Center report on “Library Services in the Digital Age” to a 2016 campaign about the “critical role libraries play in the digital age.”

I love it when a plan comes together… 😉


I’ll be back next week to revisit another Reel Librarians favorite!

Revisiting favorites | Harry Potter librarian, Dec. 4, 2012

Continuing my “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour and revisiting past favorites on this blog… we are rounding out favorites from 2012! In this post from Dec. 2012, “Harry Potter and Madam Pince,” I reread the entire Harry Potter series and took note of how the librarian, Madam Pince, is depicted in each book.

I’ll have to revisit this post and see if it needs updating, after I read the newest title, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in the series. (The 8th book in the series will be released on July 31, and the play version opens on July 30.)

Once again, I’ll pause while you read the original post…😉

Screenshot from a favorite post on Reel Librarians

Screenshot from a favorite post on Reel Librarians

When I went back through all of my posts to choose personal favorites for this blog tour, I didn’t even think about the new book in the Harry Potter series and how the timing worked out! (As you have probably noticed, I started at the beginning, in 2011, and have been going through past favorites in chronological order.) But it is amazing how the timing has worked out perfectly for revisiting this post!

Why this post?

This post is one of my favorites because, once again, I was able to branch out a bit and explore a reel librarian character whose origins began in print. The character appears onscreen in only one of the films, 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but Madam Pince appears in all but two books in the series.

New thoughts?

This is also an example of how time-consuming one post can be to put together. I had had the idea for ages, but it took me awhile to reread all those Harry Potter books (of course, that time was well spent). I remember when going back through the books, I would put little post-it markers on the pages whenever I came across a mention of Madam Pince. (I also put different-colored post-its when the library was mentioned, but no mention of the librarian herself.) And then it took time to retype those passages, and make sure I had the correct page numbers, etc.

Going back and rereading my post, I appreciate the time that I did take, as it turned out to be a very helpful and informative post, and a fun one to reread. Filtering out all the passages that focus on Madam Pince really highlights how effectively (and consistently) J. K. Rowling depicted her, even in short passages, with verbs like “stalked,” “chivvy,” “prowled,” “swooping down,” and descriptions like “the irritable, vulture-like librarian” and “her shriveled face contorted with rage.” It is NOT a flattering portrayal of a librarian, but it is a memorable one.

Reel Librarians screenshot

Reel Librarians screenshot

I had also forgotten that the last mention of Madame Pince, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, has her standing beside Filch at Dumbledore’s funeral. And just a quick search on Google does reveal results for fan fiction pairing those two characters together!

Rereading this post also made me think about how the library at Hogwarts is much more prevalent in the books, as well as in the films, and how much the library itself becomes a character. Especially the Restricted Section! For me, that links back to an idea commented on in my “Heard but not seen” post. So many connections…🙂


I’ll be back next week to revisit another Reel Librarians favorite!