I recently came across a new book that references me and this Reel librarians site, and I couldn’t wait to share the news with you!
It’s a publication entitled La imagen de la biblioteca en el cine (1928-2015) by María Rosario Andrío Esteban, published in 2017 by Ediciones Universidad Salamanca, a university located west of Madrid in Spain. The title translates in English to The Image of the Library in Cinema (1928-2015), and it seems that my site helped provide titles of films for the author to analyze, as well as provided information about (stereotypical) characterizations of librarians in cinema. This book is more general and expansive in scope than my site — as evidenced by the title, the author focuses on the depictions of libraries, and not just librarians — but what an honor to have served as a resource for this academic publication!
Here’s a cover image of the newly published book:
Here is the (translated) abstract for the book on the Ediciones Universidad Salamanca website:
The objective of this work has been to configure the profile of visual elements, user activities and professional tasks that the filmmakers have chosen to represent the public library throughout the sound stage. For this, a list of 855 films was obtained between 1928 and 2015 (60% were American and 7% Spanish) in which 1,642 scenes with a library were identified. A visual analysis of each one of them allowed detecting about 1,220 librarians and about 9,000 users doing various tasks and activities that were systematically described.
The results show that the image of the public library is configured in the majority of the films with few cinematic elements. Books, shelves, tiles, labels and some ornaments are enough. On the other hand, the librarian actor generally possesses a more stereotyped image than librarians, who hardly carry more than one feature of the classical stereotype, especially if they are protagonists. The most frequent tasks in the film professional are customer service and non-specific technical work, order the fund, maintain order and the loan, tasks closer to the assistant than the information expert. For the cinemas the majority of the users are male, and they are mainly dedicated to talking to them, consulting books on the shelves, reading and studying.
From a professional point of view, for the cinema there are two main types of libraries: the public and the academic, being the functions related to the support to formal education and as a place of social gathering their more cinematic images. On the other hand, the representation of the library in the cinema has varied relatively little since 90 years ago, in spite of the great technological advances associated with the library and the profession.
OF COURSE I did a search through the book in Google Books, and my Reel Librarians site is referenced in two main places:
“Elementos estructurales de la representación bibliotecaria” (“Structural elements of library representation”) section, p. 132
Rough translation (via Google Translate):
Although this typology has not been confirmed empirically until date, it has served in function of the appearance and behavior of the librarian characters. This is the case of Jennifer Snoek-Brown and her website Reel Librarians. This librarian keeps the page up to date, including an important collection of films about librarians, classified from leading roles to simple cameos. The most relevant is her analysis of the typology of library characters seen in the cinema and that she defines as a function of the genre.
The author then goes on to summarize, as you can see a bit in the screenshot above, the different “character types” for male and female reel librarian roles, as well as the “atypical” characters that I have identified on the “Role Call” section of my Reel Librarians site.
“Metodología” (“Methodology”) section, p. 176
Rough translation (via Google Translate):
Chief librarian of Mt. Hood in Oregon Jennifer Snoek-Brown maintains “Reel Librarians,” a blog that compiles an extensive list of 862 films in English, 155 from other nationalities and 94 documentaries and short films with scenes in which she appears or speaks of a librarian. According to the author these references have been extracted from books, articles and web pages, as well as personal suggestions. This blog remains active, and its content is updated periodically.
This publication, only available in Spanish, looks to already have found its way into some library collections in the U.S., as per the book’s Worldcat record.
Amazing — this news has made my year!
Side note: This has reminded me that I need to explore that subject term, “Librarians in motion pictures,” in WorldCat. You can see in the screenshot above that that’s one of the linked subject terms listed for this book. I sense another post coming up… 😉