I was so happy when I came across this set of lobby cards — an old form of advertising — for one of the best all-time librarian films, Desk Set (1957), starring the Grande Dame of reel librarians, Katharine Hepburn. She plays Bunny Watson — it IS a comedy — the head librarian of a TV network’s research department.
The library set is highlighted in most of the lobby cards (click on each to see a bigger image), which must be rare in movie advertising. And the library in the film IS a glorious set, a supporting character all by itself. There are stairs on either side leading to a second level, and there are rows and rows of books and several file cabinets. The librarians often go in and out of this private library to answer questions.
In the main area, the assistant librarians’ desks are arranged in an informal U-shape, and Bunny has her own office (with a private elevator!) off to the side. In one of the cards, you can also glimpse a bit of EMERAC, the huge computer installed by efficiency expert Richard Sumner, played by Spencer Tracy. You can also tell how much fun these librarians have, depicted by the lobby card scenes of laughter and partying (they’re at an office Christmas party). And as an extra bonus, one card showcases a bit of Bunny’s apartment — another rarity to witness a librarian’s home life!
And now, just for fun:
- Look inside NPR Library (americanlibrariesmagazine.org)
- “Librarians” – An Endangered Species? (scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org)
- A library is not… (philbradley.typepad.com)
- content, container, or concept? what the catalog card tells us. (infomational.wordpress.com)
- Architecture Review: New York’s Public Architecture Gets a Face-Lift (nytimes.com)