First podcast! Favorite ‘Reel Librarians’ posts of 2021 + a continuing goal for 2022

If you’ve wondered what the real-life librarian behind ‘Reel Librarians’ sounds like, then this podcast is for you!

Happy New Year! It’s an annual tradition here on Reel Librarians to take a quick look back at favorite posts from the past year before launching into the new year. It’s also good to keep trying new things, so this year, I decided it would be fun to explore a podcast format for this “year in review” post. And yes, this is the first-ever podcast produced by Reel Librarians!

For this podcast, I invited my spouse, Sam, to chat about our favorite Reel Librarians posts this past year. And a big shout-out to Sam for editing this podcast. ❤

Enjoy the first podcast for Reel Librarians!
Favorite posts of 2021 + a continuing goal for 2022

Music credit: “Public Library Blues” by Super_Sigil via CC Mixter, CC BY NC 3.0 license

Spoiler alerts & sources

As I mentioned in the podcast, here’s a spoiler alert for plot points mentioned about 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. (And please, do not share any spoilers on this post about Wong and the new Spider-Man: No Way Home movie — I will watch that movie once it’s available for streaming.)

This may seem like another spoiler, but I’m a librarian, so OF COURSE I have to credit my sources. Below I have added quick links to the posts that are referenced in the podcast — but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to discover in which context they’re mentioned and by whom!

FYI, some of the posts linked below are not necessarily our faves (or even published this past year!); let’s just say we had a wide-ranging conversation. 🙂 I’ve also arranged the post links below in alphabetical order by title, not necessarily in the order that they’re mentioned in the podcast.

What are your thoughts?

Did you enjoy this new podcast format? I have no intention of creating a regular podcast — I am most comfortable expressing myself through writing — but would you enjoy occasional or special podcasts on this blog? Do you have any sign-off catchphrases or podcast titles to suggest? (The nerdier, the better! 😉 ) Do you have any personal fave posts or themes from the blog this past year? Do you have any specific themes, ideas, questions, and/or reel librarian movies you would like me to explore in 2022? Please leave a comment and share.

Favorite reel librarian posts of 2020

Exploring my favorite posts from the past year

Happy New Year! I do hope 2021 will ultimately be better, safer, and healthier than the pandemic dumpster fire year that was 2020! But before launching into the new year, I wanted to take a quick look back at favorite posts from the past year. First, I will highlight the most viewed posts I wrote and published this past year, and then I will go into detail about my own personal favorite posts from this past year. As it turned out, there is some overlap between the two lists (unplanned, because I made my list of my own personal favorite posts first). I hope you enjoy these posts — even if they are only momentary distractions!

Viewer’s choice: Top 5 viewed posts published in 2020

  1. Law librarian failure in ‘Philadelphia’ (1993) (published June 2020)
  2. Spring training and special collections in ‘Major League’ (1989) (published April 2020)
  3. Reel librarians and archivists in 16 sci-fi films (published March 2020)
  4. A reel librarian returns in ‘Major League II’ (1994) (published May 2020)
  5. 5 movies featuring Black reel librarians in major roles (published July 2020)

Librarian’s choice: Top 5 personal favorite posts published in 2020

For my own personal favorite posts I wrote and published this past year, I will list the posts in chronological order.

From March 2020: Reel librarians and archivists in 16 sci-fi films

This post was fun to put together, and the idea for it germinated from updating my Genres & Themes page and thinking about additional genres I could highlight. There are so many reel librarians and archivists in sci-fi films, it was actually kind of hard to narrow down to just 16 for this post! I also enjoyed that it’s a “listmaking” post that goes a bit deeper, in that after I narrowed down the list, I noted three major trends of the reel librarian roles in these sci-fi films: HeroesHelpers, and Hindrances.

Read the post: Reel librarians and archivists in 16 sci-fi films

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Doctor Strange' (2016)
A closeup of reel librarian and sorcerer Wong from ‘Doctor Strange’ (2016)

From April 2020: Spring training and special collections in ‘Major League’ (1989)

I’ve always had a soft spot for Major League — and it appears that many of you do, too! In particular, I’ve also always had a soft spot for Rene Russo’s portrayal as Lynn, a reel librarian, and how she proudly states, “In two years I put together one of the best special collection departments in the country.

As I remember it, this post took me quite a while to put together, particularly figuring out how to structure it, since Lynn is a major character throughout the film. I ended up using a baseball-themed series of headings, starting off with “First base” and ending up with a “Home run.” Cheesy? YES! That’s how I roll here on this Reel Librarians blog. 😉

Read the post: Spring training and special collections in ‘Major League’ (1989)

Tom Berenger and Rene Russo have a showdown in her library, in a scene from Major League
Tom Berenger and Rene Russo have a showdown in her library, in a scene from Major League (1989)

From July 2020: 5 movies featuring Black reel librarians in major roles

I put this post together in the midst of this past summer of racial reckoning, after I had participated (with a face mask on, of course) in a regional “Educators for Black Lives Matter” protest and march. I kept thinking about what I, a White woman and librarian, could do in my own little sphere of the interwebs, to highlight that Black Lives Matter and that Black representation of librarianship on screen matters. It’s only one post, I know, but after recently re-reading it, it’s a post that has helped inspire me to do more in the coming year to highlight on this blog more reel librarians of color. I will go into much more detail about this in my next post!

Read the post: 5 movies featuring Black reel librarians in major roles

Men of Honor Because They Said I Couldn’t Have It” video, uploaded by Jonathan F., Standard YouTube License

From August 2020: ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ librarian

This post just made me laugh putting it together! I mean, how could you NOT laugh when you’ve got a deadpan reel librarian spouting lines like:

Didn’t even get to keep my damn tiara.”

“Lutefisk is codfish that’s been salted and soaked in lye for a week or so.It’s best with lots of butter.

I often mix it up here on the blog, sprinkling in some lighter posts amidst the longer and more analytical posts. This post is a good example of the former.

Read the post: ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ librarian

Reel librarian from 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' (1999)
Reel librarian from ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ (1999)

From December 2020: Comparing library scenes between the original book and movie version of ‘The Da Vinci Code’

This post is one that I didn’t plan, and had not been thinking about at all. In fact, I had forgotten completely about the library research scene in this movie. Rewatching the movie reminded me of the library research scene in the book, and thus, an idea for this post was born. Some posts I plan and work on for ages, while others come spur-of-the-moment. This post is definitely a good example of the latter!

I think I enjoyed re-reading this post because I felt that my snarky sense of humor comes through in the end result. Did I chuckle at how many times I was able to slip in variations of the word “mansplaining” into the post? OF COURSE. 😉

Read the post: Comparing library scenes between the original book and movie version of ‘The Da Vinci Code’

Screenshot from 'The Da Vinci Code' (2006)
Mansplainer alert!

Did you have any personal favorite posts from this past year? Please share!

Sources used

Binge-read the 10 most popular Reel Librarians posts of all time

And by “all time,” I mean since 2011 when this site began!

As we are all probably feeling anxious and stressed during this global coronavirus pandemic, how about taking a break from binge-watching movies and TV series in order to binge-read about reel librarians? I looked through my site stats to find out the top 10 most-read and popular posts of all time. Below, I have listed them in reverse order, from #10 to #1, along with the first paragraph of each post, to whet your appetite.

Enjoy! 🙂

#10. ‘You, Me and Dupree’ — and the Naughty Librarian (Aug. 2015)

“You fixed Dupree up with a Mormon librarian?”

The 2006 film You, Me, and Dupree (2006) is an odd one. It stars Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, and Matt Dillon, and it’s directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, who also executive-produced the TV comedy, Community. You’d think those are ingredients for a potentially amusing film. But overall, those ingredients never really come together, and the half-baked film ends up feeling much longer than its 108 minutes. …

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)
Do the Dewey! bumper sticker on the reel librarian’s car

… continue reading ‘You, Me and Dupree’ — and the Naughty Librarian

#9. Harry Potter and Madam Pince (Dec. 2012)

How the Hogwarts librarian is depicted in the Harry Potter books

I recently reread the Harry Potter series, and this time around, took note of how the librarian, Madam Pince, is depicted. This librarian is never mentioned by name in the films as such, but she does make a physical appearance in the film version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). As portrayed by Sally Mortemore, the reel Madam Pince — her first name, Irma, is also revealed in that film’s credits — is physically more attractive than her counterpart in print. …

… continue reading Harry Potter and Madam Pince

#8. Books and book-burning in ‘Fahrenheit 451’ (May 2017)

“Is there not freedom in the very choice of which book you want to be?”

I recently rewatched the 1966 film version of Fahrenheit 451, directed by French New Wave director Francois Truffaut and starring Julie Christie in a dual role and Oscar Werner as Montag, the fireman who falls in love with books, the very thing he’s charged with burning. …

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Fahrenheit 451' (1966)
Oscar Werner as Montag

… continue reading Books and book-burning in ‘Fahrenheit 451’

#7. First impressions: Monsters University (July 2013)

“What are you afraid of? You just angered a 40-foot librarian!”

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how two members of my family had tipped me off to a reel librarian featured in the recent release, Monsters University (2013). Since that post went live, I have had five additional friends recommend I watch the movie, which I did over the Independence Day long weekend. …

… continue reading First impressions: ‘Monsters University’

#6. The Jedi librarian (March 2013)

“If an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist.”

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I watched the fan edit of the Star War prequel trilogy, entitled Star Wars:  Rise of the Empire, which was compiled back in 2007. Out of the 7+ hours of the original prequels (Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999; Episode II: Attack of the Clones, 2002Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005), this techie fan managed to whittle the story down to a still-healthy-yet-manageable 4 hours. It seemed like a majority of the second prequel, Attack of the Clones, stayed on the cutting-room floor (no more painful love scenes out on the lake by Naboo, thank goodness!), but guess which scene made the cut in its entirety? …

Jedi librarian glare in Star Wars Episode II
Jedi librarian glare in Star Wars Episode II

… continue reading The Jedi librarian

#5. First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene (Feb. 2017)

The reel librarian character echoes the barriers that were starting to crack, brick by brick and book by book.

I recently watched the Best Picture-nominated film Hidden Figures, which is a biographical film featuring three African-American female mathematicians — or “computers” — at NASA during the early 1960s. The film sheds lights on their individual and collective struggles to earn personal and professional respect, both as women and as African-Americans in a field dominated with white males. The three female leads all deliver top-notch performances: Taraji P. Henson as brilliant mathematician Katherine G. Johnson; Octavia Spencer in an Oscar-nominated performance as mathematician and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan; and Janelle Monáe as firecracker engineer Mary Jackson. …

… continue reading First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene

#4. Librarian t-shirt collection (Sept. 2014)

“I have secret powers… I’m a librarian!”

I was going through some of the archived posts here on this Reel Librarians blog, and I came across this early post about my “Marian the Librarian” coffee mug. And then two things clicked: …

Reel Librarians | Librarian t-shirt collection
Librarian-themed t-shirts from my personal collection

… continue reading Librarian t-shirt collection

#3. Marian or Marion? (May 2012)

Researching the reel librarian in ‘The Music Man’

I am a stickler for spelling and punctuation (see my post last week on that anal-retentive trait), so it still bugs me that I can’t ever seem to remember if the librarian in The Music Man is spelled “Marian” or “Marion.” I spelled it BOTH ways in my undergraduate thesis, which still makes me cringe. And that’s probably what inspired this blog post — maybe after writing this, I won’t have to look it up again. 😉 …

… continue reading Marian or Marion?

#2. Naughty Librarians (ladies, take it away) (March 2012)

Exploring the female Naughty Librarian character type

A rose by any other name… the Naughty Librarian. We’re down to the final category of exploring reel librarian character types (see previous posts hereherehereherehereherehere and here). And I know I’m going to get a lot of hits out of this post, as “naughty librarian” — and similar phrases like “sexy librarian” or “tomcats librarian” —  are the MOST POPULAR search terms that lead to my blog. It’s a classy joint I’m running here, this Reel Librarians blog. …

… continue reading Naughty Librarians (ladies, take it away)

#1. ‘The Killing Kind’ vs. ‘The Attic’ (Oct. 2013)

The Attic (1980) serves as a kind of cinematic continuation of two characters featured in The Killing Kind (1973)

As I mentioned in last week’s postThe Attic (1980) serves as a kind of cinematic continuation of two characters featured in The Killing Kind (1973). I have a copy of both films, so I set about watching The Killing Kind this past weekend and comparing the two. There are some eery similarities in both films, but some interesting differences, as well. Enjoy! …

Reel Librarians | 'The Attic' screenshot
Librarian hallucinations in The Attic

… continue reading ‘The Killing Kind’ vs. ‘The Attic’

Any personal faves?

Any personal favorites among these Top 10? Please leave a comment and share! And please continue washing your hands and practicing social distancing. Be well, everyone!

Favorite reel librarian posts of 2019

Celebrating my favorite posts from the past year

Happy New Year! Before launching into the new year, I wanted to celebrate a quick look back at my favorite posts from the past year. Please note that these are personal favorites, not necessarily the most viewed posts I wrote and published this past year.

From May 2019: Graduate library school discussion in ‘Party Girl’

In this post, I had fun diving into a specific scene in 1995’s cult indie film Party Girl, the scene in which a group of librarians discuss graduate library science programs. It’s just a WONDERFUL scene, with a diversity of ethnicities, genders, ages, and opinions. I also enjoyed going off on a tangent to explore what graduate library science programs had been available at that time.

Related post: Graduate library school discussion in ‘Party Girl’

Librarians discuss library school options in Party Girl (1995)
Librarians discuss library school options in Party Girl (1995)

From June 2019: The dragon lady librarian in ‘The Golden Child’ (1986)

This post was really fun to analyze and write. Some posts take forever to put together, and some posts come together really quickly. This post is an example of the latter.

In particular, it was satisfying to realize that the reel librarian character, the dragon lady librarian, showed up three times in the film, essentially driving the plot forward at critical points each time. And it was interesting to note that although she was a most unconventional librarian in some ways (by, uh, being half-dragon), she was also a very conventional librarian by how she invited questions (“Do you have any other questions?“) and how she answered those questions.

Related post: The dragon lady librarian in ‘The Golden Child’ (1986)

From June 2019: First impressions: ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’ (2019) and its memorable fight scene in the NYPL

This post is a good example of my “First impressions” series of posts — posts that feature current films I have watched in theaters that include reel librarians and/or library or archives scenes — as well as an excellent example of how a short library scene can result in a surprisingly in-depth post.

As I wrote in the original post:

And they did this scene so well that it took me more than FOUR HOURS (!!!!) to draft this initial post. For a scene that lasts less than two minutes. My initial notes, the ones I jotted down on the notepad app on my phone, were pretty brief. But once I started to unpack, er, unshelve the scene, there was a lot more there to analyze and think through than I had originally thought!

Related post: First impressions: ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’ (2019) and its memorable fight scene in the NYPL

Library fight scene from John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)
Library fight scene from John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

From August 2019: Here’s lookin’ at you, Mr. Stringer

In this massive post, I delve into the role of village librarian Mr. Stringer, a supporting character in all four movies of MGM’s Miss Marple series of the 1960s. Mr. Stringer was played by Stringer Davis, the real-life husband of Margaret Rutherford, who played the leading role of Miss Marple.

Why did I choose this post as one of my faves? Because I had had the idea of analyzing Mr. Stringer’s role in all four films for YEARS, and I kept putting it off because I knew it would take a long time to watch all the films, take notes, rewatch the films, take screenshots, create collages, write the post, etc. And indeed, it took me weeks to put this post together — but it felt enormously satisfying to finish the post and publish it.

Plus, it was so much fun to watch Stringer Davis’s expressive face! I created collages of his different facial expressions in each film, and narrowing down those pics was probably the hardest — and most fun! — part of putting this post together. 😉

Related posts: Here’s lookin’ at you, Mr. Stringer ; Reel librarian Mr. Stringer returns in ‘The Alphabet Murders’ (1965)

A collage of Mr. Stringer's facial expressions in Murder, She Said (1961)
A collage of Mr. Stringer’s facial expressions in Murder, She Said (1961)

From October 2019: 3 reel librarians who have died in the line of duty

The title of this fave post is certainly a walking spoiler alert! I highlight 3 different films in which reel librarian characters die — in different ways — in the line of duty. I enjoy this post because it’s a good example of:

  • how I go off on tangents
  • how I enjoy making lists
  • how posts can come from asking myself the oddest questions (Why WOULDN’T you ask yourself, “Have there been any reel librarians who have died in the line of duty?” 😉 )
  • how I use my own blog and archives to research these kinds of questions

Related post: 3 reel librarians who have died in the line of duty

Bookmobile goes up in flames in Ricochet
Bookmobile or bust in Ricochet

Any personal faves of yours in this bunch? Please leave a comment and share! 🙂

Sources used

3 reel librarians who have died in the line of duty

Spoiler alerts!

I recently got to thinking, as you do, “Have there been any reel librarians who have died in the line of duty?” So I went back through my archives, and the answer is… YES!

Let’s explore 3 examples, shall we? (Spoiler alerts!)

Mr. Book Man in Ricochet (1991)

In the action thriller Ricochet (1991), lifetime criminal Earl Talbot Blake (John Lithgow) seeks revenge on the hotshot detective (Denzel Washington) who put him away.

Early in the film, Blake meets “Mr. Book Man,” the prison librarian (Don Perry), in the hospital. While pushing a library cart and delivering books to inmates, Mr. Book Man stops to chat with Blake and tries to cheer him up:

Young fella? Look at you! Lying there like a lump on a log. So what if you’ve made a few mistakes? You can change your life for the better. Don’t you have anything to live for?

Their second meeting years later in a prison parking lot doesn’t go so well. Blake is breaking out of prison and is in disguise as a lawyer. But Mr. Book Man, who has gotten out of his bookmobile, recognizes Blake and calls out:

Hey there, young fella. Do you remember me? The books in the hospital?

His good memory earns him a bullet in the chest. Therefore, this reel librarian in Ricochet (1991) literally did die in the line of duty! 😦

Reel librarian offers a book in Ricochet
Is the pen mightier than the sword in this scenario?

To add insult to injury, Blake then uses the bookmobile as his getaway vehicle! The bookmobile also meets a grisly end. 😦

Read more in my 2012 analysis post, Hey! Mr. Book Man, find a book for me in ‘Ricochet’

The Illiterate Librarian in The Last Supper (1995)

In the black comedy The Last Supper (1995), five grad student roommates find themselves succumbing to murderous temptations when faced with right-wing thinkers at their dinner table.

In one memorable scene, a librarian condemns Catcher in the Rye.

Catcher in the Rye is supposed to be art? Thumbelina is art. Catcher in the Rye is just mean-spirited garbage littered with the “F” word.

That is enough to condemn the librarian… to DEATH. She ends up getting knifed in the back. Ouch!

The Illiterate Librarian in The Last Supper (1995) gets knifed in the back
That’s gotta hurt

Pamela Gien plays the ill-fated reel librarian, who is credited as The Illiterate Librarian.

Read more in my 2012 analysis post, Not your typical ‘last supper’.

Wong the Sorcerer Librarian in Doctor Strange (2016)

Forewarned, this one has a twist.

In Doctor Strange (2016), part of the Marvel Comics Universe saga, surgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) travels to an Asian monastery in hopes of healing his hands, which were crushed in a terrible car accident. The monastery librarian, Wong (Benedict Wong), is also a Master of the Mystic Arts, and he teaches Strange several important lessons throughout. The film also literally begins and ends in the Kamar-Taj monastery library.

Near the end of the film, right before the final face-off, Wong heads off to defend the Hong Kong sanctum. He leads the other sorcerers in battle, and Wong goes outside to head the villain Kaecilius off before he can enter the Hong Kong sanctum.

We don’t get to see their ensuing fight; instead, by the time Strange arrives on the scene, the Hong Kong sanctum has fallen, and Wong has been defeated, dead in the rubble. His chest has been punctured by a rebar.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Doctor Strange' (2016)
Reel librarian death

But here’s the twist:

Wong get resurrected.

How? Strange knows how to turn back time, so he uses that spell to bring Wong back to life.

WHEW.

Therefore, Wong the Sorcerer Librarian does technically die in the line of duty… but he also lives to fight another day. We get to see him helping to save the day in both Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). (I think it’s fair to say that Wong is one of my very favorite reel librarian characters. ❤ )

Read more in my 2018 analysis post, Sorcerer librarians of ‘Doctor Strange’.

These are just 3 examples, so here is a heartfelt RIP to all the reel librarians who have died in the line of duty.

Sources used

  • Doctor Strange. Dir. Scott Derrickson. Perf. Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong. Marvel Studios, 2016.
  • The Last Supper. Dir. Stacy Title. Perf. Annabeth Gish, Cameron Diaz, Courtney B. Vance. Columbia, 1995.
  • Ricochet. Dir. Russell Mulcahy. Perf. Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Ice-T, Kevin Pollak. HBO/Warner Bros., 1991.
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