Video recording for ‘Shush-ers, Spinsters & Sirens: Exploring Librarians in Film’ presentation

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I presented about reel librarians at my college a few weeks ago as part of our “Library Lunchtime Lecture” series. My talk was filmed by our Media Services staff, and they’ve uploaded it to our college’s YouTube channel. So if you’re a longtime reader (thank you!), you can finally put a voice to the words I write every week on this blog. 😉

Shush-ers, Spinsters & Sirens: Exploring Librarians in Film

Check it out below:

Shush-ers, Spinsters & Sirens: Exploring Librarians in Film (5708140 Melissa Adams),” uploaded by TCC Multimedia, Standard YouTube License

Please note that this recording does not include captions.

The camera operator kept the camera pretty close (to protect students’ privacy), and I wore a mic (which I promptly forgot about, so there are times when I hit the mic that was pinned to my denim jacket, sorry). The room was full, so there were 40-50 people present in total, including one entire class of students. The energetic vibe in the room on the day isn’t all that evident in the video recording (especially because you can’t hear anyone else!), but it was a really fun program to present!

Presentation timeline

  • Introduction:  My intro lasts the first 17 minutes of the recording
  • Film clips:  The bulk of my presentation, including a majority of the brief film clips, start from 17 minutes in and last through the 48-minute mark.
  • Audience Q&A:  The questions start around the 48-minute mark and last through the final 1 hour, 2 minute duration of the video
    • I forgot to verbally restate the questions during the program for the benefit of the recording, so I’ve summarized the questions below and their approximate start times in the video:
      • What got you started in this research and your undergraduate honors thesis? [48:40]
      • What has been the greatest change in librarianship that you’ve experienced personally, things you didn’t know about librarianship until you became a librarian? [50:15]
      • Do you think you would have chosen librarianship if your mother hadn’t been a librarian? [52:10]
      • What is the reaction from other librarians when you present on this topic at librarian conferences? Is it well-received? Do they see the value in this research? [53:45]
      • What are some indicators of what it takes to be a librarian (in case some students present are interested in librarianship)? [56:00]
      • Have more recent films included more positive portrayals of librarians? [58:00]
      • Is there more diversity in librarianship itself? Or is art imitating life? [59:00]
      • From your personal experiences, do you have concerns about the profession or where it’s headed? [1:00:00]

Continuing the conversation

Let’s continue the conversation! Please share any additional questions you’d like to know about my reel librarians research, and/or share anything you found particularly interesting in the video.

And if you actually did watch the video all the way through, then five gold stars for you! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Favorite reel librarian posts, 2017

As promised last week in my 2017 review post, here are my personal favorite posts from 2017, presented in chronological order:

A disappearing reel librarian (Jan. 2017)

This post took a long time to write… because the film in question, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, actually comes in 3 different versions! Y’all know I like to be thorough, so yes, I watched all 3 versions and analyzed the reel librarian’s character in each version (the reel librarian is the sister of the title character). It was an interesting post to put together, as I had to think my way around how to structure the post and incorporate all 3 different versions of the film — and thus, 3 different versions of this same reel librarian character!

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby' (2014)

Screenshot from ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby’ (2014)

Librarians of Congress (March 2017)

I got the idea to explore the history of the Librarians of Congress after I did an in-depth analysis of the classic 1976 film, All the President’s Men, which features a pivotal scene in the Library of Congress. I went down the research rabbit hole for this post — and enjoyed every minute of it!

Screenshot from 'Librarians of Congress' post

Screenshot from ‘Librarians of Congress’ post

The reel librarian in The Handmaid’s Tale (April 2017)

This post was a timely film to revisit, right before the Emmy Award-winning mini-series adaptation premiered. I enjoyed revisiting this film and how well it held up, and how relevant this story remains today.

Reel Librarians | A screenshot from 'The Handmaid's Tale' (1990)

A screenshot from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (1990)

New book ‘This is What a Librarian Looks Like’ — and I’m in it! (April 2017)

This was a joyous post to write and news to share with everyone! It still gives me chills to think that I am helping represent the librarian profession in a published book. ♥ ♥ ♥

'This is What a Librarian Looks Like' cover and email

Portrait of a real librarian adventurer (June 2017)

This post was one of the most popular posts in 2017! Years ago, I had asked Bill Nikolai — a real-life librarian as well as an actor, a stand-in, and a photo-double — to share his story with my readers, and it was definitely better late than never! He has had such an interesting and inspiring life, on and off screen.

Collage of two shots taken on the set of TV pilot A.M.P.E.D., courtesy of Bill Nikolai

Collage of two shots taken on the set of TV pilot A.M.P.E.D., courtesy of Bill Nikolai

A list of banned reel librarian movies (Sept. 2017)

This post took quite a bit of time to research and put together — but it was worth it! It coincided with the annual Banned Books Week, and I thought a list of banned reel librarian movies added to that national conversation about censorship. And it’s a good kind of post to revisit every couple of years for updates.

Reel librarian movies banned graphic

Conan the Librarian and Chainsaw Sally (Oct. 2017)

I enjoyed this post mainly because the idea of Conan the Librarian and the serial killer librarian Chainsaw Sally getting together made me laugh. As did my subheading, “Conan and Sally sitting in a tree… K-I-L-L-I-N-G.” 😀

Conan and Chainsaw Sally collage

Christmas with a reel librarian in ‘My Side of the Mountain’ (Dec. 2017)

I didn’t expect much out of rewatching this 1969 film adaptation of the 1959 young adult novel of the same title — but I ended up falling in love all over again with the reel librarian in this film! Basically, the librarian helps save a young boy AND Christmas at the same time.

Christmas with a reel librarian in 'My Side of the Mountain' (1969)

Christmas with a reel librarian in ‘My Side of the Mountain’ (1969)

Did you enjoy these posts, too? Any personal faves of yours not represented here? Please leave a comment and share!

Reel librarians in review, 2017

Happy 2018! Here’s a quick look back at Reel Librarians during 2017.

Wordpress review

10 most popular posts of 2017 overall

Almost all of the 10 most popular posts last year were published prior to 2017 — with a couple of notable exceptions, #4 and #7 — which the WordPress stats helpers interpret as “Your writing has staying power!” 😉

  1. Librarian t-shirt collection (Sept. 2014)
  2. Marian or Marion? (May 2012)
  3. Naughty Librarians (ladies, take it away) (March 2012)
  4. First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene (Feb. 2017)
  5. The Killing Kind vs. The Attic (Oct. 2013)
  6. The Jedi librarian (March 2013)
  7. Books and book-burning in ‘Fahrenheit 451’ (May 2017)
  8. Harry Potter and Madame Pince (Dec. 2012)
  9. You, Me, Dupree, and the Naughty Librarian (Aug. 2015)
  10. Reel librarians with ‘A Bone to Pick’ (July 2015)

10 most popular posts written and published in 2017

  1. First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene (Feb. 2017)
  2. Books and book-burning in ‘Fahrenheit 451’ (May 2017)
  3. The Quotable Librarian | Inspirational quotes from famous librarians (May 2017)
  4. Reel librarians in ‘Rollerball’ | Analyzing the 1975 original film and 2002 remake (Feb. 2017)
  5. All the president’s librarians (March 2017)
  6. Portrait of a real librarian adventurer (June 2017)
  7. New book ‘This is What a Librarian Looks Like’ — and I’m in it! (May 2017)
  8. Revisiting the reel librarian hero in 1999’s ‘The Mummy’ (July 2017)
  9. The reel librarian in The Handmaid’s Tale (April 2017)
  10. A closer look at the reel librarians in the original Ghostbusters (July 2017)

My personal favorite posts of 2017

I always find it an interesting exercise to take a look back and identify my own personal favorite posts of the year. That’s why I will be back next week with an entire post dedicated to it… See you then!


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:

(1 year)

(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 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


0 1 0 0 1


4 1 3 2 10


4 2 12 1 19


3 4 4 1 12


6 6 10 3 25


2 4 7 3 16


5 8 18 14 45


10 9 22 27 68


7 7 24 12 50


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!