6th blog anniversary giveaway winner announced

Thank you for helping celebrate the 6th anniversary of this Reel Librarians blog and website! To help mark the occasion, I announced last week a personal, non-sponsored giveaway for a $25 Out of Print Clothing e-gift card, as a small token of thanks for my Reel Librarians readers.

I used Random.org to select the random winning entry, and entry #1, “popegrutch” turned up the winner!

Reel Librarians | Winning reader comment

Congratulations, Michael! Thank you for entering my 6th blog anniversary giveaway — and thank you for being a longtime reader! I’ll be in touch soon via email to send the $25 Out of Print e-gift card your way.


Next week is Banned Books Week, and I have a special post planned that ties into the censorship theme. Stay tuned!

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6th blog anniversary celebration + GIVEAWAY

Reel Librarians will celebrate its 6th blog anniversary next week! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 (One smiley face for each year.) To celebrate, I’m hosting another giveaway for readers!

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the GIVEAWAY info and entries, or take the scenic route and soak up some blogiversary stats along the way.

Reel Librarians, Lego Librarian

Quick stats comparison:

Looking back over the previous “blog anniversary” posts, I decided to update how this blog has grown:

2012
(1 year)

2017
(6 years)

Total views:  19,000+  200,000+
Total visitors:  900+ 122,500+
Total views on busiest day:  219 (April 10, 2012) 2,448 (August 22, 2013)
Total comments:  165 628
Total posts:  153 posts + 21 pages  417 posts + 21 pages
Total shares: 121 3,900+
Daily visits, average:  65 113
Total followers:  45  388

Previous blog anniversary posts:

Top 10 most popular posts this past year:

  1. Librarian t-shirt collection — a 2014 post with over 2,600 views this past year and over 7,000 total views
  2. Naughty Librarians (ladies, take it away) — a 2012 post with over 1,400 views this past year and over 9,000 total views
  3. Marian or Marion? — a 2012 post with over 1,300 views this year and almost 6,500 total views
  4. The Killing Kind vs. The Attic —  a 2013 post with over 1,200 views this year and still going strong with over 12,000 total views
  5. The Jedi librarian — a perennial favorite from 2013 with over 1,000 views this year and over 3,800 total views
  6. First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene — a new one to the list with almost 800 views this past year
  7. Stylish female reel librarians — another new one to the list with almost 500 views this past year
  8. Reel librarians with ‘A Bone to Pick’ — this 2015 post has collected over 400 views this year and over 850 total views
  9. Harry Potter and Madam Pince — this 2012 post has collected over 350 views this year and over 1,400 total views
  10. You, Me, Dupree, and the Naughty Librarian — this 2015 post has collected over 340 views this year and is going strong with almost 1,000 total views

6th blog anniversary GIVEAWAY:

To help celebrate six (and counting!) years of reel librarian fun and film analyses, I am also personally hosting another giveaway, to help say THANK YOU to all the readers and followers of this website and blog.

One lucky reader will win a $25 e-gift card from one of my favorite online stores, Out of Print Clothing, which offers literary-themed t-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, and other items.

Out of Print e-gift card


Note:  Out of Print is not sponsoring this giveaway or this site. I’m just a personal fan! The e-gift card giveaway prize is coming out of my own pocket, as a personal thank you to readers.


This giveaway opens today and will be open through next Tuesday, Sept. 19th, 2017, at 10 p.m. PST. This giveaway is also open to international readers. The winner will be chosen at random using the random.org site, and I will contact the winner by email soon after the giveaway closes. I will post the winner and winning entry on this blog on Wednesday morning, Sept. 20, 2017.

There are 6 possible entries on this 6th anniversary giveaway prize!

Mandatory entry:  

Leave a comment on this post to let me know how you first came across this Reel Librarians website and blog — even if this is your first time! If you’ve been a longtime reader and don’t remember, it’s ok to say that, too. 🙂

Please note that the comment box requires an email address, but this info is not open to the general public. Therefore, you do not need to put your email address in the comment itself.

Bonus entries (5 more chances to win!):

  • Leave a separate comment on this post about how you follow this Reel Librarians website and blog (via email, WordPress reader, Pinterest, Bloglovin, visiting weekly, or some other way — or even if this is your first time!).
  • Leave a separate comment on this post about one of your favorite posts on this blog. In your comment, please include the post link and a sentence about why it’s one of your personal faves.
  • Share this giveaway via Twitter and/or Facebook or other social media, and leave a separate comment on this post with applicable links.
  • Browse the Out of Print website and leave a separate comment on this post with a favorite item from the site.
  • Leave a separate comment on this post with a reel librarians-related question, post idea, and/or specific film you’d like me to review.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for entering the giveaway! Good luck, and I’ll be back next week with the winner of the 6th anniversary giveaway! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Reel librarians by the numbers + through the decades

This is a post inspired by the comment posed by longtime reader Michael of the Century Film Project site. He left a short comment on my call for reader questions and ideas that contained several very intriguing post ideas:

I would ask about some of the earliest things you’ve found:  first reel librarian you’ve found so far, oldest library in a movie, first “liberated” librarian, first instance of each character type, maybe first of each class of reel librarian as well!

Two weeks ago, I detailed the earliest reel librarian portrayals I’ve been able to come across so far, and last week, I detailed the earliest portrayals for each character type category.

Calculator photo by edar is licensed under CC0

As I prepared those posts, I made notes of the number of films for each decade per class, so I thought I’d share those totals here in this follow-up post and in the table below.

As a quick reminder, here are the brief descriptions for each class category of reel librarian films:

  • Class I:  Films in which the protagonist or other major characters are librarians, and the librarian’s occupation serves as catalyst or is otherwise integral to the plot.
  • Class II:  Films in which the protagonist or other major characters are librarians, but the librarian’s occupation does not directly affect the plot.
  • Class III:  Films in which the librarian(s) plays a secondary role, ranging from a supporting character to a minor character with perhaps only a few lines in one memorable or significant scene.
  • Class IV:  Films in which the librarian(s) plays a cameo role and is seen only briefly with little or no dialogue.

Class I

Class II

Class III

Class IV

Decade Totals

1920s

0 1 0 0 1

1930s

4 1 3 2 10

1940s

4 2 12 1 19

1950s

3 4 4 1 12

1960s

6 6 10 3 25

1970s

2 4 7 3 16

1980s

5 8 18 14 45

1990s

10 9 22 27 68

2000s

7 7 24 12 50

2010s

2 2 5 4 13

Class Totals

43 44 105 67 259

Please note that the above table is a snapshot, by decade, of the 259 films I have seen and analyzed thus far. This is not a reflection of every reel librarian film that exists, or those I have identified thus far on my Master List.

Looking at the totals by this angle, I am most surprised by how many 1990s reel librarians I have identified and analyzed thus far. In general, I have watched more recent films than older films. This might be partly explained by the fact that it’s simply easier to get copies of newer films and more difficult to get copies of older films.

I am not surprised that Class III, filled with supporting characters, garners the most reel librarian portrayals for all but one decade (the 1930s).

If you love numbers, then I also broke down more numbers of the Master List I’ve compiled thus far, and more, here in this “Revisiting reel librarian totals” post.

Stay tuned for next week…

Next week, I will be begin celebrating the 6th year anniversary of Reel Librarians — and I will be hosting a special giveaway for readers!

Earliest reel librarians in different character type categories, reader question follow-up

I am following up on another reader question from my call for reader questions and ideas, a question posed by longtime reader Michael of the Century Film Project site. He left a short comment that contained several very intriguing post ideas, including this one:

I would ask about some of the earliest things you’ve found…  first “liberated” librarian, first instance of each character type…

I cross-referenced my reel substance lists with my character types section to answer this reader query.


Spinster Librarian

The “Spinster Librarian” is arguably the most stereotypical female librarian image. This character type includes “old maid” librarians who are uptight and sexually undesirable (or at least, seen as asexual).

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across is in 1936’s Cain and Mabel. In this film, Clark Gable plays a prizefighter who falls in love with a struggling Broadway actress (Marion Davies). In one scene, they meet at the library to plan their elopement and startle a couple of librarians — one of whom is Lillian Lawrence in an uncredited role!

Interesting that, although her role was uncredited, Lawrence made it onto one of the “lobby cards” use in the film’s marketing:

Reel Librarians | Lobby card for 'Cain and Mabel' (1936) showcasing the library scene

Lobby card for ‘Cain and Mabel’ (1936) showcasing the library scene


Anti-Social Librarian

The “Anti-Social Librarian” character type serves as essentially the male equivalent of the “Spinster Librarian.” This character type hoards knowledge and is a supporting or minor character rarely seen outside the library.

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across thus far is Ian Wolfe as Mr. Wilkes in 1939’s Fast and Loose, a comedic mystery involving a stolen manuscript, rare books, and a collector’s private library. Ian Wolfe’s role fulfills both the “Anti-Social Librarian” and “Male Librarian as Failure” character types. But Wolfe’s role is so small that it doesn’t even make the film’s trailer!


Spirited Young Girl

The “Spirited Young Girl” character type describes a young girl who works in the library — only a temporary job — and usually meets the leading man while working. These tend to be more substantial roles.

Claire Windsor as Amelia Briggs in 'The Blot' (1921)

Claire Windsor as Amelia Briggs in ‘The Blot’ (1921)

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across thus far is Claire Windsor as Amelia Griggs in 1921’s The Blot. In this silent film, Amelia is courted by both a wealthy young man and a poor minister. Her family is poor, but her librarian’s salary makes no difference in her family’s finances.

See here for an analysis post of The Blot I wrote a few years ago.


Male Librarian as Failure

The “Male Librarian as Failure” character type is suggestive of flaws in library:  only “failures” would choose to—or resort to—work in a library. Sometimes, this failure is used as a pretense or social construct (e.g. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold).

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across thus far is Ian Wolfe as Mr. Wilkes in 1939’s Fast and Loose, a comedic mystery involving a stolen manuscript, rare books, and a collector’s private library. Ian Wolfe’s role fulfills both the “Anti-Social Librarian” and “Male Librarian as Failure” character types. (See above for the film’s original theatrical trailer.)


Liberated Librarian

The “Liberated Librarian” female character type denotes a trapped and/or naïve woman who discovers herself—and what she’s capable of—with the help of a man or in face of an adventure/disaster.

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across thus far is Barbara Stanwyck as Lulu Smith in 1932’s Forbidden:  Lulu quits her librarian job in the film’s first five minutes, setting off to Havana and adventure.

You can view the opening library scene here on the TCM site.

Barbara Stanwyck as Lulu in 'Forbidden' (1932)

Barbara Stanwyck as Lulu in ‘Forbidden’ (1932)

The “Liberated Librarian” male character type seems initially similar to the “Male Librarian as Failure” type — but eventually breaks free (often at the very end of the film). They usually need outside force or action to instigate the “liberation.”

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across thus far is Anthony Allan as Phil Sergeant in 1939’s Fast and Loose:  Sergeant is a rare book dealer who became a private librarian — and finds himself involved in a mystery and reunited with his former mentor!

For each “Liberated Librarian,” the liberation can be positive or negative, and they are usually substantial roles, with the librarian’s “liberation” often serving as the film’s major plot.


Naughty Librarian

The “Naughty Librarian” female character type describes a flirtatious or sexually charged librarian who often engages in violent (or otherwise criminal behavior) when her love or sexual desires go unfulfilled or are repressed. Sometimes, these characters are quiet when working in the library and then “let their hair down” after work.

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across thus far is Sarah Selby as Miss Gottschalk in 1943’s The Seventh Victim. She gives away confidential patron records in exchange for a flirtatious interlude with Jason Hoag (Erford Gage), a book clerk by day and poet by night. Naughty Librarians tend to be major characters; however, Miss Gottschalk’s character is a minor character in only one (but pivotal) scene. She is also a mild-mannered “Naughty Librarian” compared with later portrayals (e.g. the serial killer librarian in 1990’s Personal Ads), but she does engage in unethical behavior for the sake of her desires.

Read my analysis post of The Seventh Victim here in this post — the film also serves as the first horror film featuring a reel librarian!

Miss Gottschalk as Sarah Shelby in 'The Seventh Victim' (1943)

Miss Gottschalk as Sarah Shelby in ‘The Seventh Victim’ (1943)

The “Naughty Librarian” male character type is a sexually charged male librarian — focused on sex rather than a diluted vision of love — who is usually unsuccessful professionally.

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across thus far is Laurence Payne as Edgar Marsh in 1960’s The Tell-Tale Heart. He also engages in violent behavior when his sexual desires go unfulfilled!

Read more about this adaptation in my analysis post of The Tell-Tale Heart.

Reel Librarians | Screenshots from 'The Tell-Tale Heart' (1960)

Screenshot from ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ (1960)


Information Provider

The “Information Provider” character type, male or female, provides information — or sometimes, misinformation — to a character, or to the audience. This includes establishing the library setting, highlighting rules, and occupational tasks, like shelving, stamping, pushing book carts, checking out books, answering a reference question, closing up, etc. These characters tend to be supporting or minor characters.

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across thus far are:

  • An uncredited female in 1921’s The Blot, who works with one of the film’s leads, Claire Windsor. In the screenshot below, you can see a glimpse of her answering the telephone. Read more about her role and the film here in my analysis post of the film.
An uncredited librarian in 'The Blot' (1921)

An uncredited librarian in ‘The Blot’ (1921)

Opening library scene in 'Forbidden' (1932)

Opening library scene in ‘Forbidden’ (1932)


Comic Relief

The “Comic Relief” characters are usually the target of jokes. These are the crudest portrayal of librarians and usually supporting or minor characters.

The earliest example of this character type I’ve come across thus far are:

  • Harry C. Bradley in an uncredited role in 1936’s Cain and Mabel.
  • Hilda Plowright as the Quaker Librarian in 1940’s The Philadelphia Story (1940). The audience is invited, along with Jimmy Stewart, to make fun of the Quaker Librarian’s “thee’s” and “thou’s.” Read my analysis post of The Philadelphia Story here.
Reel Librarians | The shushing librarian in 'The Philadelphia Story' (1940)

The shushing librarian in ‘The Philadelphia Story’ (1940)


Thanks again, Michael, and I’ll be back next week with one more follow-up post inspired by your comments and ideas! 😀

Earliest reel librarians I’ve come across, reader question follow-up

A few weeks ago, I posted a follow-up to my call for reader questions and ideas, and I am following up with this question posed by longtime reader Michael, who has his own awesome film site, Century Film Project. He left a short comment that contained several very intriguing post ideas, including:

I would ask about some of the earliest things you’ve found: first reel librarian you’ve found so far… maybe first of each class of reel librarian as well!

I have written a post about “Reel Librarian Firsts,” but that early post focused on librarian firsts in cinema history — not about exploring my own firsts of discovery with reel librarians.

So to answer this question, I went back through my Reel Substance section, Classes I through IV, and noted the earliest reel librarian films I’ve come across in each category in order to build my list of the first and earliest reel librarians I’ve found thus far.


The Blot — 1921 (Class II)

This is the earliest reel librarian film and portrayal I’ve come across. And it’s a reel librarian in a major role! In this silent film, a young librarian, Amelia (Claire Windsor), is courted by a wealthy young man and a poor minister. The film was also directed by a well-known woman director of the time, Lois Weber.

See here for an analysis post of The Blot I wrote a few years ago. And you catch the tiniest glimpse of the library scene at the end of the clip below.


Forbidden — Jan. 1932 (Class I)

The second earliest reel librarian film I’ve come across — and another major reel librarian character! Barbara Stanwyck pays Lulu, a lonely and idealistic young librarian. She quits her library job within the film’s first 5 minutes and sets sail for Havana, where she becomes romantically involved with an older man (Adolphe Menjou). Romantic melodrama ensues: the plot includes an illegitimate child, a lifelong adulterous affair, murder, and a deathbed pardon!


No Man of Her Own — Dec. 1932 (Class I)

Another major reel librarian character! In this drama, Carole Lombard plays a young librarian in a small town. A con artist and gambler (Clark Gable) goes to the small town in order to escape prosecution, and OF COURSE he falls in love with the young librarian. A few scenes are set in the library, including one in which Gable looks up Lombard’s skirt while she shelves books!


The Good Companions — 1933 (Class IV)

Three wayward souls find their way to a variety troupe called the “Dinky Doos” — thankfully, they change the name straightaway to “The Good Companions,” hence the film’s title. A brief library scene with a male librarian serves as cinema’s first “Shush!” from a reel librarian.

See here for an analysis post of The Good Companions that I wrote a few years ago.


Cain and Mabel — 1936 (Class III)

Another early reel librarian film starring Clark Gable! In this film, he plays a prizefighter who falls in love with a struggling Broadway actress (Marion Davies). In one scene, they meet at the library to plan their elopement and startle a couple of librarians.


And here are the remainder of the reel librarian films from the 1930s decade:


Thanks again, Michael, and I’ll be back next week with another follow-up inspired by your comment! 😀