Portrait of a real librarian adventurer

Portrait of a librarian, Bill Nikolai.

Portrait of a librarian, Bill Nikolai.

Last week, I promised a post about another adventurer librarian… this time, a real one! 😀

This week’s post shines the spotlight on Bill Nikolai, a librarian at Vancouver Community College (VCC) in Vancouver, British Columbia… who also happens to be an actor, a stand-in and a photo-double (those are two different jobs, as I have found out), as well as a paraglider, among other things. Wow!

A few years ago, Bill contacted me after he came across my post on Reel Librarians about our visit to the Vancouver and the (awesome) Vancouver Public Library, a post that included a behind-the-scenes look at a TV pilot that was shooting at the library one of the days we happened to visit. After a few emails back-and-forth, I asked Bill if we could do a librarian profile, and just three years later… here we are! And it’s sooooooo worth the wait, as Bill has had — and continues to have — an amazing life, both in AND outside the library.

By the way, here’s the quick backstory for the photo shown at right: This pic was a photo gag for an April Fool’s blog post about fitness in the VCC Library, and was also part of a “Men of IT” charity calendar at VCC.


From the film biz…


Prior to beginning his career as an academic librarian, Bill, in his own words, “dabbled in the film biz” after taking acting courses as an undergraduate.

MacGyver

He so much resembled actor Richard Dean Anderson that he ended up as his double for both MacGyver and Stargate SG-1. (Side note:  I *loved* MacGyver, y’all. LOVED. Watching MacGyver every week with my family remain some of my happiest memories of childhood. I grew up in the country backwoods of northeast Texas, with access to only one TV channel, ABC. Thank goodness MacGyver was on ABC!) So this bit of trivia about MacGyver had me geeking out and asking Bill questions like, “How glorious was Richard Dean Anderson’s feathered mullet up close?

And here are some awesome photos of some AWESOME mullets, courtesy of Bill himself:

Photodoubling Richard Dean Anderson for a low-flying helicopter scene in Season 4 of MacGyver, photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai.

Photodoubling Richard Dean Anderson for a low-flying helicopter scene in Season 4 of MacGyver, photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai.

Working as a stand-in for Richard Dean Anderson on MacGyver (complete with mullet!), photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai

Working as a stand-in for Richard Dean Anderson on MacGyver (complete with mullet!), photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai

Bill Nikolai and Richard Dean Anderson had a lot of fun on and off set, occasionally skiing together as well as playing a version of hockey on set with pucks made out of used camera tape, with doorways and table legs used as goals. Such an awesome visual — I’m sure there were a lot of double-takes (har har, pun intended) when they were together! ♄

Stargate

Bill also got an occasional line or two on Stargate SG-1 as the character Tech. Sergeant Vern Alberts, in addition to photo-doubling and standing in for Richard Dean Anderson.

In uniform as Airforce Tech Sergeant Vern Alberts on Stargate SG-1, photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai

In uniform as Airforce Tech Sergeant Vern Alberts on Stargate SG-1, photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai

Photodoubling RDA in Stargate SG-1, photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai

Photodoubling RDA in Stargate SG-1, photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai

More about the Stargate experience and his role as Vern Alberts:

“Stargate was an interesting gig in that mostly I worked as a stand-in, but I also often would do Richard’s off-camera lines for other actors if he wasn’t available on set for their singles (as opposed to two shots or other wide shots that included RDA). Sometimes the shot would catch a bit of “Richard’s” back (an “over-the-shoulder” shot); often that shoulder would be mine. I did a lot of the close-up hand doubling as well, both on MacGyver and Stargate. Lastly, occasionally, I would get a line or two as my own recurring character, an Airforce Tech Sergeant (my character finally became known as Vern Alberts), often with General Hammond (played by the late Don Davis) hovering over my shoulder in the Stargate control room. The name “Vern” was established in an episode called Window of Opportunity when Rick shouts “How’s the wife and kids, Vern?” as he is cycling past me in a hallway.  My real-life middle name is Vern (after my father, Werner); the “wife and kids line” was improvised, so just before delivering it, Rick asked me what I wanted my first name to be. Vern was a bit of an homage to my dad.”

Kibbitzing with Richard Dean Anderson, in 2006, underwater, on the set of Stargate Atlantis. Photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai.

Kibbitzing with Richard Dean Anderson, in 2006, underwater, on the set of Stargate Atlantis. Photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai.

Here’s the backstory of the photo above, courtesy of Bill:

“This episode involved a spacecraft crashing into the ocean and Colonel O’Neill (by then, a general, I believe) is forced to try to regain control of the craft as it sinks and fills up with water. I was there to potentially double RDA in some of the scenes. ( I have Advanced SCUBA training and am comfortable in confined spaces.) In the end, Rick did all his own action in this episode. This was just prior to the start of library school at UBC and coincidentally, this episode was largely shot on campus in the Marine Engineering facility, where the production had access to a large tank that could accommodate the submerged spacecraft.”

And OF COURSE y’all know that I looked Bill up on IMDb.com, right? Check out Bill Nikolai’s IMDb.com profile for yourself.

First Target

What was Bill’s favorite day on a set? It was for a 2000 TV movie called First Target (also, check out the film’s trailer here, which also features him!), and as Bill described it, “[A day] in which I got to kiss a very bad girl, then got drugged, kicked and drowned by her.” The “very bad girl” was a beautiful assassin, played by Ona Grauer, and it serves as the one time he also got to do a stunt. The TV movie also starred Daryl Hannah.

You can check out the scene in the video below:

First Target,” uploaded by Eduardo PĂ©rez, Standard YouTube license


… to the library biz…


Bill earned his Master’s in Library Science at the i-School at the University of British Columbia in 2008 at the age of 51 and has been working full-time ever since at the Vancouver Community College Library, where he co-led the library instruction program and teaches information literacy classes. (As Bill and I are both librarians at community colleges, we have shared via email our common experiences about our love of teaching; our love of serving a diversity of students; and the myriad responsibilities, and usually smaller library staffs, that are a common reality for many community college librarians.) Before earning his MLS, Bill also had an academic career as an ESL instructor at different universities in Japan.

Check out Bill’s profile page, brief bio, and subject specialties here on the VCC LibGuides.

Bil Nikolai's profile page on the VCC LibGuides

Bil Nikolai’s profile page on the VCC LibGuides

And Bill in another photo for the “Men of IT” charity calendar at VCC. (I feel 100% positive that charity calendar sold out! Go VCC!)

"Ask a Librarian" indeed! Photo for "Men of IT" charity calendar for VCC, courtesy of Bill Nikolai

“Ask a Librarian” indeed! Photo for “Men of IT” charity calendar for VCC, courtesy of Bill Nikolai

That photo above TOTALLY FITS the description in the last lines of Bill’s personal bio on IMDB.com, right?!:

Bill subsequently returned to school and completed a second Master’s Degree. He now works as a mild-mannered college librarian in Vancouver.

Behold the “mild-mannered” librarian below, in a fun photo collage of him in 2006, before and after scary-looking monster makeup on the set of the failed TV pilot A.M.P.E.D. Of course, my favorite part is the photobombing of the classic library science textbook, Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. Bill had just started his library science program at UBC, and he brought along study material for the long hours spent in the makeup chair.

Fun fact:  I also had the SAME textbook in library school for my reference services course in library school!

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

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

Also, I think I might just have my next Halloween costume idea… 😀

With retirement from the library on the horizon, Bill has started to get back into the acting game, as he is still a member of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), which is Canada’s version of the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG) in the United States. He recently had a non-speaking acting role on the TV series Supernatural (April 2017, Season 12, Episode 18, “The Memory Remains“). His character was named “Black Bill,” and his role was to “slit someone’s throat in a flashback sequence 
 very un-librarian-like!” 😀

Bill was also featured this month on the cover of a local senior’s magazine, Inspired Senior Living:

Bill Nikolai's cover and interview in Inspired Senior Living magazine, June 2017

Bill Nikolai’s cover and interview in Inspired Senior Living magazine, June 2017. Click screenshot to browse through the issue online.

The feature interview, entitled “Bill Nikolai: Flybrarian,” is a great read, with more pics of Bill and his wife, Linda. I really loved this quote in particular, which is toward the end of the article:

Quote from Bill Nikolai's feature interview in the June 2017 issue of 'Inspired Senior Living' magazine

Quote from Bill Nikolai’s feature interview in the June 2017 issue of ‘Inspired Senior Living’ magazine


… and up to the skies


Bill Nikolai, librarian and paraglider, showcases how he likes to combine his “thinking person’s pursuits” — literally! This was another gag shot for another charity calendar. In the photo below, Bill is “reading” Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight, by William Langewiesche.

Paragliding librarian, photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai

Paragliding librarian, photo courtesy of Bill Nikolai

And last but not least, below are a couple of videos Bill has shared about his “paragliding obsession” mentioned in the article linked above.

The “Paragrinding” video below was shot in September 2013 and screened at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, as well as at the Legacy Film Festival on Aging in San Francisco. (Bill shot all the GoPro footage.)

ParaGrinding” by Bill Nikolai, via Vimeo

And here’s a link to a very recent paragliding video (3 minutes) that Bill also shot:

Grouse Spring” by Bill Nikolai, Standard YouTube license

Like I said, Bill’s story was worth the wait, right?! 😀


Thank you so much, Bill, for getting back in touch with me and your willingness to share so much of your fascinating personal and professional story and behind-the-scenes photos. I am so honored to feature you here on Reel Librarians. You go into the Reel Librarians hall of fame, for sure, as you have an insider’s view in both the library and cinematic worlds.

By the way, when I first asked Bill about doing a “guest post” or profile for Reel Librarians, his charming and modest response was that he wasn’t sure his story would be “much of great interest to the librarians out there.”

Well, I’m a fellow librarian, and I find Bill’s story extremely interesting — AND inspiring!

Anyone else feel inspired around here? Please leave a comment and share!

Guest post: Century Film Project

A special treat for y’all today:  a guest post from Michael at the Century Film Project blog! I met Michael recently at the ACRL Conference, and we realized we had a lot in common — after all, we’re both librarians in Oregon with film blogs. Hope you enjoy the guest post! 


Hello, gentle readers. Jennifer kindly asked me to post a little bit about myself and my blog here, and I’m honored to do so, even if I scarcely know where to begin.

Century Film Project header

My blog is called the Century Film Project, and it is a place where I post the reviews I write of century films. “What is a century film?” you may well ask. In my About page, I state:

“[c]entury films are movies that have been in existence for at least 100 years. As we move into the 21st Century, we have a unique opportunity to connect with a past period that no longer lives in human memory. The cinema connects us with the images and the dreamscapes of other eras.”

Screenshot from A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Screenshot from A Trip to the Moon (1902)

I have always felt that the most interesting thing about film is that it is a form of shared dreaming. We get to see into the minds of people who are distant from us and often very different, yet we find things there that we recognize as part of ourselves. From a historical point of view, this makes them a very strange kind of source – not a reflection of reality, but of wishes, hopes, and fears.

I originally had the idea of watching century films as a project of my own about 2012, and I started posting brief thoughts about them on my Facebook wall. In 2014, a couple of people I worked with told me they’d like to see these reviews moved to somewhere more permanent/navigable, like a website or blog. Hence, I launched the Century Film Project as a WordPress blog in March 2014. Since then, I have to admit, it’s kind of taken over my free time. The blog itself consists mostly of capsulized reviews of the movies I’m watching, along with occasional posts for context, about the news in the world of 1915, or the early film industry, or a specific filmmaker’s career. The other major part is the Century Awards! I give awards paralleling the Academy Awards on awards night to movies released 100 years earlier. Last year’s big winner was the Italian spectacle, Cabiria (1915).

Screenshot from Cabiria (1915)

Screenshot from Cabiria (1915)

There are a lot of neat things about looking at movies from 100 years ago, one of which is the way in which dates line up. We can think about how people then understood the Civil War in terms of how people of today remember the 1960s. Or we can think about inventions that became popularized in the mid-90s (internet, anyone?) and compare them with the development of film.

Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance in Burlesque on Carmen (1915)

Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance in Burlesque on Carmen (1915)

I have a checkered background that includes going to film school and working in film for a brief time, but I’m a professional librarian these days. Some of my first experience with information retrieval, searches, and organizing information came when I was a clerk at Movie Madness, a video store in Portland, Oregon. I still use what I learned there every day.

Jennifer and I met in Portand at the ACRL conference, which she blogged about a bit [here and here]. There were supposed to be informal lunches for people with different (non-library) interests, and we both showed up for one about movies. I know I was relieved to find people who didn’t only want to talk about the newest releases. And now I’ve gotten to write for her blog! You never know where networking will lead you


Special double feature: Miranda and the bibliothĂ©caire

Today’s post is a special double feature:  Reel Librarians goes international! (BibliothĂ©caire in the heading’s subtitle is French for librarian.)

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Mister Pamp from the Notorious Bib site — basically, the French version of my Reel Librarians site — and after some correspondence back and forth, I suggested the idea of analyzing the same film and sharing our perspectives on each other’s sites. He was up for the challenge, and we chose the 2002 indie film, Miranda. Why? Because we both happened to have personal copies of the film, but neither one of us had yet watched it. Simple as that. Sometimes, practicality rules triumphant. It just so happened that we chose a British-made film.

I enjoyed the experience, as well as reading my French colleague’s take on this film. We ended up with similar outlooks on the film, but it’s interesting to read how we took different routes to end up at the same place. Also, Mister Pamp was able to locate the real-life filming location for the library featured in Miranda!

Click below for each perspective, and enjoy! 🙂


An American librarian’s perspective  |  A French librarian’s perspective


Miranda:  An American librarian’s perspective
Jen @ Reel Librarians

(POSSIBLE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT)

Miranda is a strange woman. And a strange film. It’s a British-made film starring two American actors:  Christina Ricci as the title role and Kyle MacLachlan as a kinky businessman obsessed with Miranda. Although one of the lead characters, Frank (played by British actor John Simm), is (1) a reel librarian, (2) earns second billing in the film’s credits, and (3) whose relationship with Miranda is the film’s central plot, there is NO MENTION of him in the film’s trailer that came as an extra on my dvd copy. John Hurt, in a supporting role, also replaces John Simm above the title on the film’s posters and advertising. Ouch.

Those omissions pretty much sum up how important the reel librarian’s occupation is to this Class II film. As in:  not very. He could have been a bank teller or a pharmacist or any occupation seen to serve behind a counter. I agree with the Movie Librarians’ summation:  “Frank’s character was no doubt made a male librarian so we would instantly accept his mousiness and his need for excitement.”

Even though the opening scene shows Frank at work in the central public library (he’s actually listening to music with his headphones on and creating a self-portrait out of nuts), we are hit with a sign that reads “Library Closing Down” and this self-narration:

Frank. Barracloff. Rock star. Astronaut. Secret agent. Sex god. That was me, wishing my life away, listening to Elvis, munching on nuts. But now I know, you gotta be careful what you wish for. It might come true. Because at 1:05 pm on the 25th of February, my life changed… forever.

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

And what changed this reel librarian’s life forever? You guessed it! Miranda. She is a mysterious character — perhaps a better word is shady — a wide-eyed pixie who dons different outfits and contact lenses depending on what con scheme she’s busy orchestrating. Christina Ricci is hilariously miscast as the wannabe femme fatale, while John Simm as the hapless Frank seems to be the only one taking the script seriously.

Although with clunker lines like:

  • “She hit me like a truck, but with a bit more grace,”
  • “You are my Virgin Mary … coal … thing,” and
  • “Even Jesus came back after three days, and he was dead,”

it probably was a tougher job than he expected.

The first ten minutes of the film rushes through the first week of meeting Miranda, as she visits the library every day as demolition day draws nearer and the library shelves become barer. Even though we see Frank unshelving books to pack into boxes — a reel librarian UNSHELVING books, that’s got to be a cinematic first! — and clearing off the front desk, he seems completely unperturbed at losing his job. Even at the very end, as he straightens the empty brochures bin and the front desk bell, he crosses his arms and smiles as is satisfied. The film’s message is clear:  What a loser.

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

What does Miranda do? She sets fire to the sign that warns the public that the library is closing down for demolition. Right before she goes into the library and introduces herself to Frank. Subtle. As subtle as the shot of the crane later demolishing the library facade. Because that’s all it is. A facade. (Seriously, that personal revelation was deeper than this entire movie. That’s not really a compliment. 😉 )

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Fast-forwarding, Frank sums up their love story plotline with more lame-o narration, “Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy wakes up.” And in a truly terrible song he writes and sings about his beloved, he also foreshadows his quest to find her after she disappears one morning:

And it’s you, Miranda. Wherever I wander, I’ll find her. From New York, to Uganda. Miranda. Got eyes like a Panda. Miranda. If you were a plane, I’d land ya’. Miranda.

At this point, my husband and I were making up stupid rhymes ourselves. 

I came up with, “Your name’s not Amanda, it’s Miranda.

My husband’s best entry, “It’s not a custard, it’s a flan – duh.

We do get to see several shots of Frank’s apartment — it’s always interesting to see glimpses of a reel librarian’s home life. Frank does have a clearly defined sense of style. It’s very … Elvis.

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Time and again, we also witness every.single.character make fun of Frank:

Frank:  It’s the best night I’ve ever had.
Miranda:  You should get out more.

Miranda:  You look like a hedgehog.
Frank: Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid.

Rod (best friend):  Frank, your hair is bad. She is exciting.

We’re supposed to root for this guy? All those mean remarks stacking up, it’s tiring. You might say there are enough verbal slaps to cause a nosebleed. 😉

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Even though Frank becomes a hero of sorts at the end, he also is burdened with inane dialogue such as this:

Frank:  I always buy stuff with preservatives in it. Makes you live longer.

[Narration]:  I read this book once. It said 2,000 people disappear every week. They just vanish. By the year 2076 there’ll be no one left. Only me.

Frank [to Miranda]:  I love you. … All I’m asking you to do is say three little words. Three little words. And then I’ll go. Three little words.
Miranda:  Fuck off. Now.

The final frosting on this wilting cake is this conversation between Frank and his best mate, Rod, toward the end of the film. Warning:  I cannot be objective about this. This scene made my blood boil.

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Rod:  She’s beyond exciting. She’s international. Get out there, conquer it.

Frank:  I can’t.

Rod:  Why not?

Frank:  I’m a librarian. 

Rod:  Frank, you cling to the past. You haven’t even got one. You just stayed in.

Frank [narration]:  He was right. That’s all I did. I stayed in. Read books. Until I met her. … In one month with her, I’ve been kidnapped, made 5 million quid from a psychopath. I was alive, electrified by raw, painful, horrible, glorious life.

Riiiiiiiiight.

Reel Librarians  |  'Miranda' screenshot

Frank is a classic Liberated Librarian. His story arc is actually the central one of the film, even though Miranda gets the title role. He starts out the film dreaming of a more exciting life, and he finds that through Miranda. Male liberated librarians usually need outside forces or actions to instigation the “liberation,” and that is true in this case, as well. For all his (awkward) talk of love, Frank can only muster the courage to go after Miranda after (1) he gets drunk and (2) his friend urges him to go after her. And at the end of the film — even after he has saved her TWICE — he cannot experience personal happiness until she tells him that she loves him. The three little words that he actually wanted to hear.

So there you go. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy helps girl. Make 5 million quid from pervert. It just didn’t feel right.

You said it, Frank. You said it.

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Miranda:  A French librarian’s perspective
Mister Pamp @ Notorious Bib

[Please note that the following guest post has been translated into English. Any errors in translation are mine (and maybe Google’s, as I used the Google Translate tool). For this post in its original French, click here to visit the Notorious Bib blog.]

 

The brave film that interests us today is called Miranda and tells the story of a young woman named … Miranda (bravo), but also Frank, a thirty-year-old no-life librarian, who “dreams of a life life beyond his bank loan.” Said in a less literary way: he benefits from a public system and yet could not care less about the public. But it is a strange fact, nobody finds anything wrong with that. Frank doesn’t seem to have any bosses — who are conspicuous by their absence — or users of the library, which also sparks the same absenteeism (with a possible correlation between the two). In short, Frank is called, in the jargon of operational management, a dirty little humbug. However, our kindness will grant a mitigating circumstance. Indeed, in a few weeks , the library where Frank works will definitely close. And closing the public library , except in the minds of some sly students of ENSSIB, we must recognize that this is not the ideal professional perspective to boost the motivation of a librarian. Welcome to …

~~ Miranda (2002)

Unmotivated library workers, we’ve all seen. In general, you recognize them easily. There is Marie-Laure who systematically catches a cold the first day of vacation … in that way, her recovery is also postponed. There is Eric, who recently had the great idea to bring long cigarettes with the aim of prolonging cigarette breaks, or the divine and unconquerable Angelica, who each morning invariably rearranges her book cart with large-print novels because they are easier to shelve, leaving the hard files for her misfortunate colleagues.

Besides these small players is our friend Frank, who wins the prize. At the reception desk, you see him killing time without stopping on a swivel stool that squeaks like a freight train braking, ears plugged into Elvis Presley, and with handfuls of kernels, spreading the shells on the desk to form tribal-inspired frescoes. When the library front door opens, it’s an air current that sweeps away the decoration; then Frank picks up everything and again, until the next visitor.

Of course, all this does not encourage users to respect the place, and you wind up witnessing wastebasket dunks with apples they just swallowed at their desk — or worse , who enjoy burning the library notices posted on the board outside.

Occasionally, one of Frank’s unemployed friends pays him a visit, and then you see how they both change the world:  one butt cheek on the counter, casually shooting the bull about love and its hazards.

You say, this is not possible, such things cannot exist. Alas, Menelaus, and we have not seen everything:  when the pretty girl enters the library and asks Frank where the conference room, he simply leaves his post and accompanies the young woman in the auditorium, where he will “hold his leg” for twenty minutes to yap about the beauty of her eyes and the impact of those eyes on the male. Yes, in addition to being a pretty lousy professional, Frank gives into the most clichĂ©d phrases for the purposes of seduction.

“And here is the room where we organize our shows … although the best show currently, I believe, is being played in front of me”

Leaving for a moment his whimsical and inconsistent attitude, in rare moments is Frank captured by a flash of lucidity. Thus, when yet again he pours his heart out to his friend and when his friend tries to encourage him:

– But what are you waiting for, go find her and seduce her! (…) – I could never … – And why is that? – Well … I’m a librarian …

A beautiful vision, but it is a struggle to appreciate when you see how this young man tries to get a leg up in his career. Especially if you look at the statistics, being a librarian is not so prohibitive. There are plenty who enjoy a healthy social life and even manage to reproduce. It is really sad to see such a lack of confidence in a male librarian; with 75% of women in the profession, it is supposed to be an advantage for heterosexual-level opportunities.

The question of a modern man, when he opted for a career incompatible with reproductive claims …

I reassure you, this is not France that would see such things. In fact, I did not want to mention it because I personally abhor denunciation, but I still need to clarify that the charming librarian of this film is an Englishman. This is also why, if you have some basic insight into that from the beginning I type Frank without the “c”. Specifically, our friend works in the great London suburbs, the main library of the town of Harrow, which seems to have a lateral recruitment policy. In any event, the film reassures us that in a few days the library and its staff will not ever hurt anyone because the property is not ready to be only closed, but also wiped off the map.

What does a public library about to be sprayed look like? Here’s a small glimpse:

Naturally, the books have been removed from shelves. They are in bins that readers can always rummage looking for their happiness. Magnetic gates, meanwhile, are still in use (why worry about flights now?) And record-keeping doesn’t make much sense as they cut the heating. Workers and patrons need only survive by keeping their coats …

Avant de plier boutique, l'équipe essaye de ramasser un peu de maille en revendant les livres de la bibliothÚque. A un moment donné, quand le bateau coule, y a plus de déontologie qui compte dirait-on.

Before folding the shop, the team tries to do a little business reselling library books. The money raised will be considered a consolation for the pain and suffering imposed on those workers when they decided to close the library. The business ethics, of course, takes a hit, but at the same time, when the ship is sinking, it is necessary to make concessions. And frankly, with all of these books sold, it will make it less to move.

Apart from its incompetent staff, here is another reason solely sufficient to justify the demolition of the facility:  the front pediment above the main entrance.

An excruciating sculpture, it seems to include the cross-sectional representation of a small intestine that have suffered the ravages of chili con carne that’s too spicy. It’s just disgusting. To think that the one part of this building that is cultural would appeal only to an intestinal surgeon.

*

Finally, an interesting library graphic. The poster is not very attractive, but it looks roughly official:

Spectacular, and more:

*

A Mercedes S-class parks in front of the library. Can we say the the rich have finally discovered the joys of reading in public? … Nay, this wealthy Japanese comes to examine the library he had just bought with his head full of ideas to build something better once it is destroyed …

Sayonara, library. Instead, we will build a park where dogs can pee, it will be much more useful, and then place the playground next to a weight bench and an expression wall for graffiti artists which may also serve as a urinal if sometimes they do not like their park — and of course a fountain that will fill with the urine and everything that clutters up our pockets with material desires. It will be great and then, finally, we have our third act.

***

Hmm, it is hard to love a film that has such an apocalyptic vision of the reading public. The reality, thankfully, is not quite as described in Miranda as the film chose as its library location the Gayton Library, in Harrow — which was about to be demolished, but the library actually moved elsewhere, in more functional premises. Harrow librarians have also done well, as the allocation of filming locations was done in return for payment against the sum of €25,000, which was used to purchase new books for other libraries in the city. Apart from that, Miranda is not really the film of the year. Neither of the week, or even your evening, in fact: the love story is stupid, the dialogue is heavy, the actors look like actors in commercials for deodorants. Done with more care, the plot of the film could have been fine (the story of a librarian who is tricked by a femme fatale). But as is, the film is a chore that lasts 90 minutes. Bad.

Bad direction of terrible actors: To reclassify these books, the actor looks in the middle of the books instead of checking the spines!

Here is the film’s trailer:

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Guest post: Cinfolit

Just a reminder to everyone that I’m on vacation this week. Hope you enjoy the guest posts! Jen

Our last — but certainly not least — guest post comes to you from Bob Schroeder @ Cinfolit. A fitting end to the past couple of weeks — or perhaps, a rebirth? Read on, dear readers, read on! 🙂


The Blog Cinfolit at the Crossroads

(a blog posting wherein the author bakes organic bread in Ann Arbor in the ’70s, makes Lord of the Rings allusions, invents a new muse, and poses a most timely and scintillating question to us all.)

The question before us ladies and gentlemen is:  “How to make a collaborative blog thrive?”

A bit of back story. In July of 2010, Joseph Hardenbrook posted a questions to the ili-list. He was looking for videos that illustrate information literacy topics for library instruction sessions. A great idea! Videos on info lit topics would definitely add some pizzazz to the old shtick in the classroom. Then my inner librarian kicked in and I wondered how would we will be able to find and access all those great videos? An online index of information literacy related instruction videos – of course!

Such was the genesis of the blog Cinfolit (Cinema + Information Literacy).

But how to find all of those great videos I knew were out there, and how to be eternally and incessantly vigilant ? (Even the Eye of Sauron occasionally blinked, right?) That’s when my inner cooperator kicked in. Cooperation has been one of my life’s leitmotivs over the past four decades. I’ve was a member of Ann Arbor’s Peoples’ Coop in the early 70’s , I learned to bake great hippie whole wheat bread at the Wild Flour Bakery, and was a owner/worker of the Soy Plant – cranking out a thousand pounds of tofu a day. My cooperative self even followed me into libraryland, inspiring me to write an article entitled A Cooperative Publishing Model for Sustainable Scholarship. So duh! Making it a cooperative blog seemed to be the obvious answer.

I must confess that while blogging always seemed like a cööl thing to do I was waiting for a muse to enthuse me to rapturous and meaningful words (BTW – perhaps it is time to birth a tenth muse of good blogs, Eupostia?) Finally with Cinfolit a raison de blĂŽgtre! But not only would the content be meaningful and helpful for instruction librarians , it would also be a social experiment for me – seeing if cooperation and collaboration would work on the web.

From the beginning everyone was invited to submit relevant videos and anyone could become a co-author of the blog just by asking. I posted a note it the ili list and about 14 librarians started adding their favorites. And we managed to find some great videos, like The Tourist Lane by ImprovEverywhere, Eli Pariser on Filter Bubbles, to the classic Medieval Help Desk. There are even a few summaries of articles about info lit and videos – like “New Shit has Come to Light”: Information Seeking Behavior in the Big Lebowski from the Journal of Popular Culture.

Fast forward to fall of 2011 – it was then, a year after Cinfolit started, that the last post was made. I’ve been ruminating since on the fate of this blog. It still seems like a good repository for these videos – they’re still great spice to add to instruction sessions, and having the index and links online makes them accessible to anyone with a computer. Just writing this blog post has started some blog regeneration seeds sprouting in my brain. But the question remains about collective action in cyberspace
.

“How to make a collaborative blog thrive?”

Do you feel that Cinfolit is a potentially useful source for instruction librarians? If you have any epiphanies on how to reinvigorate a cooperative blog please let me know. You can email be at schroedr@pdx.edu with your ideas.

Guest post: Tom Goodfellow

Just a reminder to everyone that I’m on vacation this week. Hope you enjoy the guest posts! Jen

Next up in our global guest post adventure is Tom Goodfellow, a film nerd and librarian at the University of Sydney, Australia. This post — all about reel libraries and dystopian futures — is derived from his Masters dissertation, where you can enjoy more of his witty insights into libraries and film. 


In the eye of the survivor

The world as you know it has ended. The countryside is a barren wasteland, resources are scarce, lawlessness is rampant and shadowy forces control whatever remains. First up, you’ll probably need some heavy duty weaponry to defend yourself from marauding wolves/cannibals/robots. Next, some clean water and tinned food are probably necessary, along with clothing and shelter.

And not forgetting that great essential, the public library.

This being Reel Librarians, obviously my main source for this assertion is the world of movies, which have provided us with a range of apocalyptic futures that feature a surprising number of libraries.

The Day After Tomorrow offers a particularly literal use of the library as a safe space. Following a climate change induced big freeze hoo-ha, a group of chilblained survivors hole up in New York Public Library. They preserve themselves by burning books, allowing for much ironic chat about which tomes should be first for the pyre. Sorry legal librarian readers, but by unanimous agreement the tax codes get it first.

Preservation, in fact, is the key theme here. In several movies, ruined libraries are visited by our square-jawed hero, and the lost secrets (re)discovered therein lead to ultimate victory.

In Zardoz, a copy of The Wizard of Oz inspires Sean Connery (resplendent in ponytail and bright red codpiece/suspenders combo) to discover the power behind the throne of his own society.

Inspiration is also crucial in Logan’s Run, in which Michael York and Jenny Agutter come across the crumbling Library of Congress, thereby understanding some of the culture that preceded them, i.e. 20th century America. The film is not subtle in conveying its agenda, featuring a discussion of who the individual portrayed in a portrait might be (it is Abraham Lincoln) and the eventual impalement of the main villain on a flagpole bearing the U.S. flag, both of which take place in the main reading room.

My favourite, though, is the incomparable Battlefield Earth (I watch it so you don’t have to). Once again the LoC is the setting, and an old text that we recognise as the Declaration of Independence is what spurs Barry Pepper on to defeat the alien critters that John Travolta has inflicted on us all. In a stroke of somewhat implausible good fortune, he also finds an instruction manual for building the nuclear bomb necessary for ridding the world of nefarious extra-terrestrials. As library/patron interactions go, this can probably be marked down as a success.

There is another strand of science fiction/library crossover movies in which a futuristic information source provides library-style information – think The Time Machine, Soylent Green or Rollerball. I could go on about these for a while, but I hear the reader crying (quoting Jane Austen):

You have delighted us long enough.