Call for reader questions follow-up

Last week, I put out an open call out for reader questions and ideas, including:

  • Do you have a reel librarians question you’ve been wanting to ask, but you just haven’t gotten around to asking yet?
  • Do you have an idea for a post that I just haven’t gotten around to writing about yet?
“Question mark” by qimono is in the Public Domain, CC0

“Question mark” by qimono is in the Public Domain, CC0

Thank you to everyone who left comments on the post and/or emailed me directly. I really appreciate it! I wanted to honor the time y’all took to ask questions of me, so I’m pulling together the initial questions/ideas sent my way, as well as my first thoughts or ideas about each.


Writers and reel librarians


This comment came from Sam (full disclosure: he’s also my husband, so he’s super-invested in this blog by default!):

As a writer, I’m interested in portrayals of writers in film (and since writers write the films, we get a lot of those). But there seems an obvious relationship between writers and librarians, and I’m curious how many Reel Librarians are themselves writers. I know you’ve touched briefly on literary librarians in posts about Before Night Falls, for example, but I wonder how common or rare this is.

Very interesting idea, and one I hadn’t thought about before holistically, the relationship between writers and librarians or “literary librarians” and how often that is portrayed onscreen. This is a blog post idea I’m putting on my list!


Random musings


Kvennarad left a series of great ideas or musings via the comments section on last week’s post, so I’m going to break down each section:

Writers/libraries/marketing – I notice, for example, that a boxed collection of the Harry Potter novels plus all the spin-off books is being marketed as ‘The Hogwarts Library’. Interesting use of the word ‘library’ here, to mean “All the books you already have but need to buy again to make someone richer who is already very rich” (and, I might add, who has an honorary Doctorate at the University of Edinburgh AND the Légion d’ f-ing Honneur!).

This idea sort of relates to Sam’s suggestion, about exploring links between writers and libraries, but has a different flavor, into the use of “library” to give credence (?) to a marketing strategy. My first thought is to correlate this to the common usage of using librarians in films, period, to give credence to a plot line or a character. The underlying notion here:  libraries, and by extension, librarians, enjoy a large degree of trust by the general public. And writers, directors, and marketing strategy specialists definitely use this to their advantage! So I’m putting this on my list of blog ideas to explore… 🙂

Mr Norrell’s library of magical books in ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke -> adapted for TV.

I just added this to my Master List of reel librarian titles, for further exploration!

Christopher Lilly’s library in ‘Fingersmith’ by Sarah Waters, a library of pornography that grew by the addition of more material as it was written -> adapted for TV. This was possibly based on the real-life collection/bibliography of Henry Spencer Ashbee.

That sounds fascinating! Definitely just added this to my Master List of reel librarian titles.

The library of the Unseen University in the ‘Discworld’ corpus -> various adaptations. Ook!

This is one I’ve gotten to, yay! 😀 I have written about the Unseen University library, and its ook-y librarian in this post analysis of the TV movie The Color of Magic (2008), adapted from two of Terry Pratchett’s books, the 1983 work of the same name (although it is spelled in the English way, The Colour of Magic, the first in his famous Discworld series) and the second book in the series, The Light Fantastic.

Every novel and every adaptation of a novel set in a big house in England will, at some point, feature a library. This is a rule. Every novel and every adaptation of a novel where any of the characters are at university will feature a scene where a character is studying in the university library. These are the rules! 

This is so true! I primarily focus on the portrayals of librarians, rather than just libraries, but I have also often written about onscreen libraries, especially in film analysis posts of Class V films. I have thought about writing a post about private libraries, like the ones seen in films or series set in a big house in England (have you found your Gutenberg Bible, yet, Lord Grantham of Downtown Abbey?!) or in films set in academia. It is for that reason that I have added, and continue to add, mannnnnnny college- or university-focused films onto my Master List of films — sooner or later, as you’ve noted, there’s a scene in the library! 😀 For example, that’s totally why I watched The Rewrite, because it was set at a university, and I thought it might have a library scene, and perhaps a reel librarian. It didn’t end up having a librarian, but it did have a library scene — and the resulting post was actually quite interesting to put together and write!

‘Wings of Desire’ is an amazing film, with lots of footage set in a library… No reel/real reason why I include this, it just haunts me.

Yes, this film was already on my Foreign Films reel librarians list. I have also written an analysis post on City of Angels, the (inferior) U.S. remake starring Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage. It would be interesting to do a post about Wings of Desire, and then perhaps a follow-up comparing the two films and their two reel libraries/librarians. Adding this to my ideas list… 🙂


Exploring more firsts


Longtime reader popegrutch, who has his own awesome film site, Century Film Project, left a short comment with 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!

I have done 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. Hmmm… this has got me thinking… thanks, Michael!


Revisiting past reader questions


I also received an email from a reader, who preferred to remain anonymous, asking me to please revisit the previous questions readers asked me from the 2013 Reader Q&A post:

How many movies have librarians in them?
How many movies are there with librarians of color?

My Master List has definitely grown since that post I wrote four years ago, when I added up a running total of 1,041 reel librarian films thus far (pulling together the titles on my Master List, Foreign Films, and Short Films & Documentaries lists). I have also personally watched more reel librarian films in the last four years, as well. Back in 2013, from the films I have personally watched and added to my Reel Substance section, I had also counted at least 24 portrayals of reel librarians of color.

It would definitely be worth going back over those lists again and seeing how those numbers have changed!


Thanks again to everyone who rose to my challenge and call for reader questions! I count at least a dozen, if not more, additional blog post ideas stemming from these four reader comments/questions.

I’ll be back next week with a film analysis post, and then I’m hoping to dig into some of these great ideas. Stay tuned! 🙂

Ask the real librarian: Call for reader questions

I did a Reader Q&A post a few years ago, and I do a reader poll post twice a year, but I thought it would be fun today to put an open call out for reader questions and ideas. I’m a librarian, so it feels natural for me to answer questions!

Do you have a reel librarians question you’ve been wanting to ask, but you just haven’t gotten around to asking yet? Do you have an idea for a post that I just haven’t gotten around to writing about yet?

"Question mark" by qimono is in the Public Domain, CC0

“Question mark” by qimono is in the Public Domain, CC0

Or perhaps you’d like me to revisit some of the previous questions readers have asked me from that 2013 Reader Q&A post, including:

  • How many movies have librarians in them?
  • How many movies are there with librarians of color?

So, I am officially asking for you to ask me, the “real librarian” behind this Reel Librarians site, about your question(s) or your post idea(s).

How? There are various ways to contact me:

  • leave a comment on this post below
  • use the inquiry form on the “Ask a Real Librarian” link that’s also on the navigation bar above
  • email me directly at reel.librarians@gmail.com

Thanks in advance, and I look forward to your questions and ideas!

Reel Librarian faves, 2016

As promised last week in my 2016 review post, here are my top five favorite posts from 2016, presented in chronological order:


Stylish female reel librarians (Jan. 2016) + Stylish male reel librarians (Feb. 2016)

This was a fun pair of posts to think about and write. People don’t often equate “librarians” with “style” — on or off screen — but there are actually a lot of stylish reel librarians out there!

Collage and screenshot of Mary's style in 'Party Girl'


Wet Hot American library (March 2016)

No actual reel librarians in this movie, but there is a funny scene set in the local public library, which has quite the collection in both astrophysics and camp directing. It was also a fun movie to watch, especially shouting out names of the many popular actors who starred in this cult classic comedy.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot of the library scene in 'Wet Hot American Summer'


‘Spotlight’-ing a news library (May 2016)

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Spotlight, the Best Picture Oscar winner last year, as well as writing about the importance of research in this movie. I also enjoyed researching the real-life Lisa Tuite, the head librarian at the Boston Globe, portrayed by Michele Proude in the film.

Reel Librarians | Print collection of news library in 'Spotlight' (2015)


Nymphomaniac librarian in ‘The Wicker Man’ (Oct. 2016)

This is a cult classic film, and upon rewatching it, I finally cleared up the confusion I had about the reel librarian in this film:  that the same actress, Ingrid Pitt, is both the town’s registrar and librarian. And where did I get the term ‘nymphomaniac librarian’? From Pitt herself!

“It was a nymphomaniac librarian I was playing, and I always liked the librarian bit, because I’m really into books.“

Reel Librarians | Collage of contrasts for librarian character in 'The Wicker Man' (1973)


The danger of a single story for reel librarians (Nov. 2016)

This post was inspired by the closing keynote address from a regional library conference I had attended the week before, referencing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2009 TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” It was a rewarding exercise to go a bit deeper and more philosophical on the blog while revisiting the core goal of this site and why I continue to blog and research about librarians in film.


Did you enjoy these posts, too? Please leave a comment and share!

Reel Librarians in review, 2016

Happy 2017! Here’s a quick look back at Reel Librarians during 2016, in which almost 30,000 visitors visited, with almost 40,000 views.

Wordpress review

Most popular posts of 2016 overall

The most popular posts last year were actually all published prior to 2016, which the WordPress stats helpers interpret as “Your writing has staying power!” 😉

Most popular posts written and published in 2016

My personal favorite posts of 2016

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!

 

Announcing the winner of the 5th blogiversary giveaway

Thank you all for helping celebrate the 5th anniversary of this Reel Librarians blog and website! To help mark the occasion, I announced last week a personal giveaway for a $25 Out of Print Clothing e-gift card, as a small token of thanks for my readers.

There were 16 valid entries for the giveaway, and thank you all for participating! It was quite nice to see a variety of entries, from both new and returning readers.

I used Random.org to select the random winning entry:

Random number generator and winning entry

Entry #2 belonged to Emily Scott, a longtime reader of Reel Librarians.

giveaway winning entry

Congratulations, Emily! I’ll be in touch soon via email to send the $25 Out of Print e-gift card your way!


Next week puts us into October, and that means I’ll be continuing my annual tradition of analyzing scary movies that feature librarian portrayals! Stay tuned for all the thrills and chills of reel librarians! 😉