Reel Librarians referenced in a new book!

I recently came across a new book that references me and this Reel librarians site, and I couldn’t wait to share the news with you!

It’s a publication entitled La imagen de la biblioteca en el cine (1928-2015) by María Rosario Andrío Esteban, published in 2017 by Ediciones Universidad Salamanca, a university located west of Madrid in Spain. The title translates in English to The Image of the Library in Cinema (1928-2015), and it seems that my site helped provide titles of films for the author to analyze, as well as provided information about (stereotypical) characterizations of librarians in cinema. This book is more general and expansive in scope than my site — as evidenced by the title, the author focuses on the depictions of libraries, and not just librarians — but what an honor to have served as a resource for this academic publication!

Here’s a cover image of the newly published book:

Cover image of 'La imagen de la biblioteca en el cine (1928-2015)' by María Rosario Andrío Esteban

Cover image of ‘La imagen de la biblioteca en el cine (1928-2015)’ by María Rosario Andrío Esteban

Here is the (translated) abstract for the book on the Ediciones Universidad Salamanca website:

The objective of this work has been to configure the profile of visual elements, user activities and professional tasks that the filmmakers have chosen to represent the public library throughout the sound stage. For this, a list of 855 films was obtained between 1928 and 2015 (60% were American and 7% Spanish) in which 1,642 scenes with a library were identified. A visual analysis of each one of them allowed detecting about 1,220 librarians and about 9,000 users doing various tasks and activities that were systematically described.

The results show that the image of the public library is configured in the majority of the films with few cinematic elements. Books, shelves, tiles, labels and some ornaments are enough. On the other hand, the librarian actor generally possesses a more stereotyped image than librarians, who hardly carry more than one feature of the classical stereotype, especially if they are protagonists. The most frequent tasks in the film professional are customer service and non-specific technical work, order the fund, maintain order and the loan, tasks closer to the assistant than the information expert. For the cinemas the majority of the users are male, and they are mainly dedicated to talking to them, consulting books on the shelves, reading and studying.

From a professional point of view, for the cinema there are two main types of libraries: the public and the academic, being the functions related to the support to formal education and as a place of social gathering their more cinematic images. On the other hand, the representation of the library in the cinema has varied relatively little since 90 years ago, in spite of the great technological advances associated with the library and the profession.

OF COURSE I did a search through the book in Google Books, and my Reel Librarians site is referenced in two main places:

“Elementos estructurales de la representación bibliotecaria” (“Structural elements of library representation”) section, p. 132

Reel Librarians mentioned in 'The image of the library in the cinema (1928-2015)' by María Rosario Andrío Esteban

Rough translation (via Google Translate):

Although this typology has not been confirmed empirically until date, it has served in function of the appearance and behavior of the librarian characters. This is the case of Jennifer Snoek-Brown and her website Reel Librarians. This librarian keeps the page up to date, including an important collection of films about librarians, classified from leading roles to simple cameos. The most relevant is her analysis of the typology of library characters seen in the cinema and that she defines as a function of the genre.

The author then goes on to summarize, as you can see a bit in the screenshot above, the different “character types” for male and female reel librarian roles, as well as the “atypical” characters that I have identified on the “Role Call” section of my Reel Librarians site.

“Metodología” (“Methodology”) section, p. 176

Reel Librarians mentioned in 'The image of the library in the cinema (1928-2015)' by María Rosario Andrío Esteban

Rough translation (via Google Translate):

Chief librarian of Mt. Hood in Oregon Jennifer Snoek-Brown maintains “Reel Librarians,” a blog that compiles an extensive list of 862 films in English, 155 from other nationalities and 94 documentaries and short films with scenes in which she appears or speaks of a librarian. According to the author these references have been extracted from books, articles and web pages, as well as personal suggestions. This blog remains active, and its content is updated periodically.

This publication, only available in Spanish, looks to already have found its way into some library collections in the U.S., as per the book’s Worldcat record.

WorldCat record for 'The image of the library in the cinema (1928-2015)' by María Rosario Andrío Esteban

Amazing — this news has made my year!

Side note: This has reminded me that I need to explore that subject term, “Librarians in motion pictures,” in WorldCat. You can see in the screenshot above that that’s one of the linked subject terms listed for this book. I sense another post coming up… 😉



Sharing my personal collection of movie books

At the end of last week’s post, I asked readers to share what their own personal book collections say about themselves, so I thought it only fair to share myself!

Here’s a wide shot of our personal library at home (so many IKEA Billy bookcases! 😉 ):

Reel Librarians | My personal library

And here’s the specific collection I want to share, my personal collection of movie-related books, which are on a shelf closest to our bookcase of DVDs and videos (I am nothing if not practical):

Reel Librarians | From my personal collection of movie books

It’s not a very big collection, I admit, and a hodge-podge one at that. I have picked up most of the titles here via second-hand book sales or as gifts. Here are some of my personal faves from my small collection of movie-related books:

Reel Librarians | From my personal collection of movie books

This is Danny Peary’s Alternate Oscars: One Critic’s Defiant Choices for Best Picture, Actor, and Actress – From 1927 to Present, published in 1991. I read through this book so many times when I was younger. It’s one of the major reasons that I know a lot about the Oscars, as factoids soaked in as I read and re-read Peary’s in-depth writing. It also probably helps explain why I’m so opinionated about the Oscars. 😉

You can read more about my love — and opinions! — about the Oscars here, here, here, here, and here.

Reel Librarians | From my personal collection of movie books

Yep, you can definitely tell I love the Oscars! And I loved the Cinematherapy books, as well, which were a thing in the early 2000s, even resulting in a long-running TV series. I analyze all kinds of films for this blog — and often joke about watching some bad movies SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO — but I also watch films according to specific moods I’m in, and the Cinematherapy books recognize and help answer that need.

Reel Librarians | From my personal collection of movie books

On that same theme, Rob Christopher’s movie advisory book, Queue Tips: Discovering Your Next Great Movie, was published by ALA in 2012. I received this copy of the book for a review on this blog, which you can read here, and I still often find my way back to this book.

Reel Librarians | From my personal collection of movie books

I like my movie criticism with a bit of snark, and this fun 1996 title, The Critics Were Wrong: Misguided Movie Reviews and Film Criticism Gone Awry, by Ardis Sillick & Michael McCormick, fits that bill. It focuses on underrated cinematic gems that went unappreciated when they first came out.

Reel Librarians | From my personal collection of movie books

An autobiography of my favorite film critic — and only Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic — Roger Ebert, who published his autobiography, Life Itself: A Memoir, in 2011 before his death in 2013. I mentioned this book here in this tribute post to Roger Ebert. What I always appreciated about Roger Ebert is how much of a movie FAN he was. I can relate to that. ♥

Reel Librarians | From my personal collection of movie books

And, last but not least, one book that you actually won’t find on my movie collection bookshelf… because I refer to it so often that it just stays on my desk! 😀 It’s the invaluable 2005 book, The Image of Librarians in Cinema, 1917-1999, by Ray and Brenda Tevis, a book I refer to and quote a lot on this blog. I also reviewed this book here in this post.

So what does my personal collection of movie books say about me? I think it shows that I love reading about movies (and movie recommendations), plus I enjoy reading about movie critics and criticism. I think that is an apt reflection of what I do here on this site. 😉

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment and share!

‘This is What a Librarian Looks Like’ follow-up

Last week, I shared the news and background story about being included in a book about librarians, This is What a Librarian Looks Like, by Kyle Cassidy. This week, I have follow-up news and photos!

Being featured in The Guardian

News first:  On May 29th, London newspaper The Guardian published a photo essay, “Tattoos and baseball caps: This is What a Librarian Looks Like — in pictures” of librarian fashion, highlighting a selection of photos from Kyle Cassidy’s book. And I was included in the photo essay!

Again, my reaction was:  WHUT?!

Screenshot from The Guardian's fashion section for the librarian fashion photo essay

Screenshot from The Guardian’s fashion section for the librarian fashion photo essay

Screenshot from The Guardian's librarian fashion photo essay

That’s me! Screenshot from The Guardian’s librarian fashion photo essay

I loved that my cheeky card catalog tee was featured in order to illustrate how librarians are “in on the joke” about our own stereotypes. And that’s what this Reel Librarians site is all about, too! 😉

It was also very sweet how many people shared the news about me being featured in The Guardian‘s photo essay, including family, friends, and even co-workers!

Never forget, then & now

I received my complimentary copy of the book the same day that my library received their own copy of the book they ordered. And I still have the same library card catalog tee (and denim jacket) that I wore in the portrait that Cassidy took three years ago… and thus, an idea was born. A library colleague took photos of me in our library, with my current (shorter) hairstyle, with the book and my portrait. Fun!

Reel Librarians | Librarian book and card catalog tee, then and now

And here I am shelving my library’s copy of the book on our bookshelves:

Reel Librarians | Shelving the book This Is What a Librarian Looks Like

How do you classify librarians?

Here’s a closeup of the call number for the book:  Z682 C37 2017

Reel Librarians | LC call number for This Is What a Librarian Looks Like book

Let’s break down that call number, shall we?

First things first:  This is a call number using the Library of Congress classification system.

Library card catalog tee closeup

Library card catalog tee closeup

And finally, one last funny thing that happened this past week. After a colleague shared the news on campus about me being featured in The Guardian and the This is What a Librarian Looks Like book, a fellow (non-librarian) instructor emailed me, wondering if the card catalog on the t-shirt was the Library of Congress or the Dewey Decimal system… and I loved that this instructor asked which which classification system the card catalog drawer was for! 😃

Here was my response:

Since the label reads “a-d” (i.e. letters), then it would most likely be the Library of Congress system, which combines letters and numbers together (with the letters coming first, organized by alphabetical order, and then by numbers. So A 100 would come before A 102, which would come before AF 100, and so on). Library of Congress includes both fiction and non-fiction, which is why it’s used for larger collections, like in college and university libraries.

The Dewey Decimal system is numbers only, 000’s through 900’s, and covers mostly non-fiction. That’s why most public libraries, which use the Dewey Decimal system, usually have separate classification systems for collections like fiction, usually alphabetized by authors’ last names, etc. So this card catalog drawer could also be for a special collection like fiction, representing authors’ last names, A-D.

It was super fun to geek out a bit — by request! — about library classification systems! 😃

Back to reel librarians next week… but I hope you enjoyed this additional sojourn into real librarians — and librarian style!

Have you read or gotten a copy of This is What a Librarian Looks Like? Please leave a comment and share.

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

I have exciting news to share for my Reel Librarians readers! Last week, I got an email from a Hachette Books editor letting me know that I was in a new book entitled This is What a Librarian Looks Like, by photographer Kyle Cassidy, and that I could get a complimentary copy. My first reaction?

That’s so cool! And a free book!

Then my face fell in shock as I looked at the book cover image in the email… and realized that I was one of the librarians featured on the cover! WHUT?!!!

Email and book cover image for 'This is What a Librarian Looks Like'

Email and book cover image for ‘This is What a Librarian Looks Like’

I then forwarded the email on to my co-workers and shared it on Facebook. And since I was on a Reference Desk shift at my library, I then got back to work. 😉

My library ordered a copy of the book for our own collection, and over the next few days, I enjoyed sharing with co-workers how I came to be involved in the project. And now I can share this story with you!

'This is What a Librarian Looks Like' book

That’s me!

It was over three years ago when Kyle Cassidy published a photo essay on called “This is What A Librarian Looks Like,” which quickly became one of their most popular photo essay posts ever. The post got a lot of buzz and prompted a lot of discussion and debate online — and in librarian circles. Cassidy had taken portraits of librarians for that piece at that year’s American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia, and then I read that the project was coming to the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, which was in Las Vegas that summer. I was going to ALA that year because I was finishing up as committee chair for the ALA International Relations Round Table, so I was going to be there anyway. I thought it would be a neat thing to participate in, and I printed out and completed the photo release form, which included a space to provide a personal comment.

My husband had gotten me a library card catalog-themed tee at a writer’s conference that spring, since I have a (growing) collection of librarian-themed tees, which I have previously featured here on this blog. I love wearing library- or librarian-themed clothing at librarian conferences — because OF COURSE — so I took the Unshelved “NEVER FORGET” library card catalog t-shirt along with me to wear at the ALA conference. I remember wearing the tee with a tan pencil skirt, metallic sandals, and a denim jacket.

Here’s a close-up of my Unshelved card catalog tee, which is still available in black!

Library card catalog tee closeup

I can picture the librarian photoshoot set-up in my  mind; the location was off to one side of a large escalator, kind of tucked into the side. There wasn’t a huge line (yet) when I arrived, but I do recall long lines later on. The whole thing took less than 10 minutes. I turned in my form and, when called, stepped up to the mark designated on the floor.

Then I smiled and opened my denim jacket to reveal my cheeky card catalog tee — and I remember the photographer, Kyle Cassidy, and an assistant beside him, kind of start in surprise. They laughed, which made me smile even bigger. Click, click, click. Cassidy then looked at his camera, said he wasn’t sure he got the tee, and then asked to take a few more photos. Click, click, click. Then it was done. I thanked them and then went about my conference. I do remember urging other librarians to check it out and participate. [You can also see a “behind the scenes” bit here on Cassidy’s website.]

And then, honestly, I kind of forgot about it. Until last week! 😀

I received my complimentary copy of the book a few days later:

My complimentary copy of the 'This is What a Librarian Looks Like' book

My complimentary copy of the ‘This is What a Librarian Looks Like’ book

And then imagine my surprise when I then realized a couple of things:

  • That the editors managed to update both my new job title and my new workplace — even though I was working at another library when I took the photo three years ago! I was VERY impressed by this attention to detail. Plus, I was thrilled to bring attention to my current college.
  • That an excerpt from the quote I had submitted on the photo release form was chosen as one of the blurbs on the back cover! 😀
My blurb on the 'This is What a Librarian Looks Like' back cover

My blurb on the ‘This is What a Librarian Looks Like’ back cover

I went through the book slowly, marveling at the wonderful portraits — and giddy that I even personally knew a few names and faces! It was like a librarians’ yearbook that I magically got to be a part of.

I also loved loved loved that my portrait is opposite Captain America! I assume that Young Lee and I were paired together because of our excellent taste in t-shirts. 😀

Librarian tees in 'This is What a Librarian Looks Like'

Librarian tees in ‘This is What a Librarian Looks Like’

I also looked through the indexes — because that is what librarians do, y’all! — and noted my fellow librarians from Washington and cheered librarians from other states I’ve worked in (Oregon, Wisconsin, and Texas).

I noted the breadth of diversity throughout the book, including diversity of ages, gender, ethnicities, locations, type of libraries, and types of library jobs. I geeked out at Neil Gaiman’s essay, because Neil Gaiman loves and appreciates librarians and has spoken at several ALA events and programs over the years.

And then I came to Kyle Cassidy’s afterword, and I teared up:

It’s been my honor to stand before so many of these people who are fighting daily to bring access and information to the public. Some of them I met for only a few minutes, but in the past two years I’ve looked at their faces and read their words over and over and I feel like I know them.

I’m one of those he met for only a few minutes, and I continue to be gobsmacked at the thought that he, and others, have looked at my portrait and my library card catalog tee and read my words multiple times these past three years. And now others can, too. Amazing.

And it’s amazing that I’m one of only a couple hundred librarians and library workers helping to represent thousands of us across the globe. As I recently tried to articulate to a friend on Facebook:

To *literally* help represent, visually and with words, my profession, in all its diversity and earnestness and commitment to ideals beyond ourselves… it’s a feeling I can’t really describe at the moment. A mixture of pride and humility.

'This is What a Librarian Looks Like' book

‘This is What a Librarian Looks Like’ book

You can also continue to help out this project in several ways:

  • Buy a copy of the book yourself!
  • Recommend that your local public library purchase a copy. (Look for a book or purchase recommendation form on your local library’s website — I can tell you from personal experience that we LOVE when users submit purchase recommendations!)
  • Donate to EveryLibrary, which is hosting a book release party and fundraiser at this summer’s ALA Annual Conference. EveryLibrary advocates for libraries and library funding across the country.

Thanks again to Kyle Cassidy for his visionary work and for everyone else who contributed to this project, who are mentioned in the book’s back matter.

I am so proud and humbled to be one of the names and faces in This is What a Librarian Looks Like. It is an honor to help represent my profession. And my work here analyzing portrayals of reel librarians would mean nothing without the acknowledgement and appreciation of real librarians.

Thanking librarians in book acknowledgments

Please allow me to go off on yet another tangent… today’s post was inspired by the book I’m currently reading (The Mystery of Agatha Christie by Gwen Robyns, a biography published in 1978, just two years after Christie’s death). As I started the book, I glanced over the Acknowledgments page, and I happened to notice that the author actually thanked librarians — not just libraries, but the librarians themselves!

As you can see in the pic below, Robyns thanked:  Mr. John Pike of the Torquay Public Library, Mr. J. M. Evelyn (Michael Underwood), Mrs. Imogen Woollard, Miss Grace Rich of the City of Westminster Public Library, Miss Jennifer Emerton of the Wallingford County Branch Library, and Dr. Michael Rhodes of the Westfield College, University of London.

Reel Librarians | Librarian acknowledgments in 'The Mystery of Agatha Christie' by Gwen Robyns

And that got me thinking… how often are librarians thanked in book acknowledgments? It turns out that I’m not alone in this question!

In 2011, Margaret Heilbrun, a former Senior Editor for the Library Journal Book Review, wrote about “Best Acknowledgments of 2011,” looking through acknowledgments of Library Journal‘s Best Books of 2011.

Librarians‚ like all mortals‚ love to be on the receiving end of gratitude. When the occasional library, archives, or special collections researcher publishes the results of all that research and expresses thanks to the library in the book’s acknowledgments, and includes the names of the staff who helped, well, the staff in question are thrilled. Natch.

You know what? It doesn’t happen often.

Heilbrun goes on to highlight Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War, in which Foreman “personally names and thanks over 200 library, archives, and special collections staff members from around the world who helped her and her assistants with access to materials over the course of several years. Her acknowledgments are not only a tribute to all the women and men who enabled her work, but a tribute to her for the stamina and focus to keep track of them all systematically and name them with little fuss or muss.”

Heilbrun went on to bestow the “Amanda Foreman Award” twice more, in “Best Acknowledgments of 2012” and “Best Acknowledgments of 2013.” And Foreman herself, a Man Booker Prize Award winner, mentioned her namesake award with pride in the introductory paragraph of her 2013 “Prize-Writing” essay in The New York Times.

This post, “The Story Behind the Story: An Appreciation of Authors’ Acknowledgments,” runs through the history and complexities behind acknowledgments, noting that “There was a time when acknowledgements were brief and rare.” (Kind of like film credits, eh?, which seem to be getting longer and longer nowadays. People want credit!) Although that post doesn’t mention the practice of thanking librarians or other researchers, some commenters do!

Comment about thanking librarians in acknowledgments

Comment about thanking librarians in acknowledgments

This informative post, “Think Before You Thank: Writers & Acknowledgments,” by Kate Messner urges writers to double-check beforehand with those they want to personally acknowledge in print, to make sure they aren’t compromising those individuals. She specifically mentions librarians as examples:

A teacher or librarian who enjoys an author’s work might be delighted to see his or her name in the back of a book.  But what if that reader wants to be on a state or national awards committee and the author’s book shows up in the pile of titles to be discussed?  Suddenly, having that public thank you in the book is awkward at best and at worst, could create pressure for the person to resign from a great opportunity.

That is admittedly something I had never thought about before, but it does make sense to double-check beforehand.

But not everyone is so appreciative of librarians or libraries in their acknowledgments! This Mental Floss article highlights “7 Book Dedications that Basically Say ‘Screw You’,” including Alfie Kohn’s diss to Harvard University Libraries in his 1986 work, No Contest: The Case Against Competition.

And this satirical piece poking fun at the excesses of acknowledgments, “Acknowledgments Pages Say More Than Thanks,” has a section lampooning authors for thanking “Your Research Crew” but DOESN’T EVEN INCLUDE LIBRARIANS. Patrolmen, detectives, lawyers, forensic anthropologists, NASCAR drivers, river guides, Civil War reenactors, and circus clowns are mentioned in this section, but NOT LIBRARIANS. I know it’s satire, but ?!#!@?! Librarians ARE the Original Research Crew!

So to my fellow Research Crew members, are you intrigued enough now to start poring over the Acknowledgments pages of the books you’re reading? Have you always sought out mentions of librarians in Acknowledgments pages? Have you ever been personally thanked in any book Acknowledgments? If so, please share!

And may librarians continue to be thanked, on or off the Acknowledgments page. Even a simple smile and/or a “Thank You” in person/phone/email/chat will make our day. 😀