Revisiting favorites | Spotlight on a news library, May 4, 2016

Today, I am wrapping up my “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour… next week is my 5th blog anniversary and GIVEAWAY!

The final entry in revisiting past favorites on this blog is a post from May 2016, “‘Spotlight’-ing a news library,” in which I analyze the 2015 Best Picture Oscar winner, Spotlight, which highlights investigative journalists researching decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic church.

I’ll pause if you’d like to skim or browse the original post

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Spotlight'ing a new library post

Why this post?

The best part about this post was discovering more about the real-life Boston Globe news librarian, Lisa Tuite, as well as reading interviews and articles about how vital she and her staff’s “research forensics” were to the investigation. (I have those interviews and articles linked in the original post.)

I love it when films provide opportunities to uncover more info and meaning behind-the-scenes. I’m never afraid to go off on tangents — they often pay off with more interesting discoveries, not to mention more interesting posts.

Plus, this film features the power of keywords!

And as a librarian, I gotta love a film that treats research — “Get those directories upstairs!” — as pivotal and key scenes.

New thoughts?

It’s such a pleasure — and a rarity! — to not only watch a good film that features a librarian in it, but to also watch a film that includes a good (and realistic) portrayal of a reel librarian. The two do NOT go hand in hand. See also 1957’s Desk Set and 1983’s Something Wicked This Way Comes as additional examples of this rare combination.

For good films that includes not-so-good (or not-so-flattering) portrayals of reel librarians, see the 1946 classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life, and 1984’s Ghostbusters, among others.

I’ll be back next week to celebrate my 5th blog anniversary and GIVEAWAY!

Revisiting favorites | Mandy the Mormon librarian, Aug. 26, 2015

Continuing along my “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour and revisiting past favorites on this blog… there are only two more posts (this and next week’s post) before my 5th blog anniversary and giveaway! Let’s get to it!

Next up is a post from August 2015, “You, Me, Dupree, and the Naughty Librarian,” in which I go into how the 2006 “comedy,” You, Me, and Dupree, both does and does not include a reel librarian.

I’ll pause if you’d like to skim or browse the original post… 🙂

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me, Dupree, and the Naughty Librarian" post

Why this post?

This post stands out to me because both the film and the reel librarian character are such oddities. The film is an odd mixture of comedy and trauma, and “Mandy the Mormon librarian” is a character who affects a lot of people and plot points and yet is never fully seen onscreen.

Although I did NOT laugh out loud watching the film (it’s seriously unfunny for a so-called “comedy,” and I’m personally not a big fan of the “everything goes so wrong that it’s funny” kind of movies), I DID laugh out loud rereading my post.

Dupree then runs out of the house with a pillow covering his private parts and thanks Molly “for the best night of my life” while Mandy, left alone in the house with all those open candle flames, sets the house on fire. Yes, that’s right. The Mormon librarian sets the house on fire.

That sure is some flammable symbolism, y’all.

New thoughts?

I still agree with my final summation of the film and the “Naughty Librarian” character type of Mandy the Mormon librarian:

So while this reel librarian portrayal is disappointing, to say the least — and equal-opportunity offensive to librarians, school teachers, Mormons, and Audrey Hepburn — it does serve up some interesting twists to the Naughty Librarian character type. Not enough for me to recommend the film — but that’s why I watch and analyze these reel librarian movies films, so you don’t necessarily have to. You’re welcome.

That got me thinking about how often I play off that sentiment or phrase, that I watch bad reel librarian films so you don’t have to. And how there’s a personal juxtaposition to be found there, because so often, the really bad movies can be the most fun to write about! Not to watch, mind you, and sometimes not even fun to analyze (read my post about 1937’s Navy Blues, and you’ll see what I mean), but more often than not, fun — and perhaps even a little satisfying — to write about.

I guess I just like gettin’ my snark on. 😉

I’ll be back next week to revisit one final Reel Librarians favorite… and then we get to celebrate my 5th blog anniversary and GIVEAWAY!

Revisiting favorites | WarGames and research, Dec. 31, 2014

Continuing along my “Summer of Nostalgia” blog tour and revisiting past favorites on this blog… next up is a post from the last day of 2014, “WarGames and research,” in which I delve deep into the brief research scene that takes place about a half-hour into the classic 1983 film, WarGames.

I’ll pause while you browse the original post… 🙂

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'WarGames and research' post

Why this post?

This is not only one of my personal favorites posts, I think it is also one of my best posts, both in terms of writing and analysis. And writing this post surprised me, as I stated at the end of the post:

The research scene is only a few minutes long, and the reel librarian portrayal only a few seconds long. I wasn’t expecting to get so much from so little. But there are so many layers to this scene, as I’ve hopefully demonstrated, with a lot of useful information relayed to the audience.

I had always like the classic film WarGames, but when rewatching it in terms of analyzing for reel librarians and research, I gained even more appreciation for the care in which the concept of research was handled in the film. There are valuable lessons to be learned about research by watching WarGames, including:

  • That you will probably search more than once — that’s why it’s called REsearch! Where you end up is probably not going to be where you began.
  • Put effort into your research and get creative in exploring different types of research materials. The research montage features peer-reviewed journal articles, newspaper articles, a thesis, plus a documentary video.
  • Explore different methods of approaching research, because not everything useful can be found through a computer.
  • There’s never just one way. There’s always a back door to research. (Just like with computer systems.)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a librarian for help!

Also, this movie has some of the best fake research materials and library catalog cards I’ve ever seen onscreen!

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'WarGames and research' post

New thoughts?

This post is another example of how I can do a LOT with a little. The research scene in the film is only a few minutes long, and the reel librarian is onscreen for only a few seconds, and yet this scene (and the librarian’s help!) is critical to advancing the plot of the film. And rereading this post made me realize just how much I enjoy analyzing reel librarian films that have secondary reel librarian characters.

Sometimes, people ask me why I don’t have a post yet that analyzes such-and-such film, usually one of the major reel librarian films, like The Music Man. The answer? Probably because it’s, well, harder to do and takes a lot more time. (I have written about major librarian characters, just not as frequently. See my Class I and Class II pages and look for film titles that are hyperlinks — they’ll take you to my film analysis posts about those specific films.) There’s just a lot more to analyze and wrap my head around and write about in a seminal reel librarian movie like, for example, The Music Man. That’s why I did a narrower focus when analyzing the 2004 TV movie, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear; in that post, “Quest for the ‘Liberated Librarian’,” I focused only on how the first 15 minutes set up the quintessential “Liberated Librarian” character type, rather than going into exhaustive detail about EVERY scene and reel librarian character in that TV movie.

When I set out to watch a film that I know has a secondary reel librarian character or a brief library scene, I think of it as a fun kind of challenge. Like, how many stereotypical traits can they pack into this brief glimpse of a reel librarian? Let’s see! Or, how many layers of meaning or significance can I detect in this brief library scene? Let’s see! Or, will this secondary reel librarian character be pivotal to the plot? Let’s see! (More often than not, they are.)

And even then, films like WarGames can surprise me by how significant they really turn out to be. When that happens, it’s refreshing and heartening. 🙂

I’ll be back next week to revisit another Reel Librarians favorite… just two more favorites to go before my 5th blog anniversary and GIVEAWAY!

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.


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!