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

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

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

Check it out below:

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

Please note that this recording does not include captions.

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

Presentation timeline

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

Continuing the conversation

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

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


Reel librarians crossword challenge

A couple of weeks ago, I presented about reel librarians at my college as part of our “Library Lunchtime Lecture” series. I’m hoping to include a link to the program next week (fingers crossed!), as the program was filmed by our Media Services. Stay tuned…

… and in the meantime, I am sharing the crossword puzzle I created for the program as a takeaway. Below is an excerpt from the puzzle:

Reel Librarians Crossword Challenge

Click image to view/download/print the “Reel Librarians Crossword Challenge”

Click here to view and download the crossword for yourself — and hint, the answers are at the bottom of the second page! 😉

And after I put my own crossword together, I realized that I had written back in 2012 about a “Libraries in the Movies” crossword puzzle I had picked up years before at a Wisconsin Library Association conference. So once you’ve taken my crossword puzzle, challenge yourself with that one, too! If you click the link in this paragraph or the image below, you will see I’ve attached the files for the “Libraries in the Movies” puzzle and answer key in the 2012 blog post.

WLA "Libraries in the Movies" crossword puzzle

Click this image to view the WLA “Libraries in the Movies” crossword puzzle

Enjoy all the reel librarian trivia and puzzles! 😀

Reader poll winner, spring 2018

The votes for the most recent reader poll are in… and the surprise winner is Ask the Dust! The 2006 film starring Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell had a come-from-behind victory today, during the last day that the poll was open, and the other two films, Autumn in New York and A Bird of the Air were tied only yesterday. Very dramatic finish!

Screenshot of reader poll spring 2018

Ask the Dust? Ask me next week!

So I will be watching and analyzing Ask the Dust this week via our Amazon Prime subscription, and next week I will be back with a film analysis post — stay tuned!

Ask The Dust – Trailer,” uploaded by YouTube Movies, Standard YouTube License

Past reader poll winners

In the meantime, if you’d like to peruse previous reader poll winners, check out them out below:

Reader poll, spring 2018: Choose your next reel librarian (romantic) adventure

I have opened up a reader poll at least twice a year since Spring 2014, when I ask readers to vote for the next film for me to analyze. You can see past reader polls here.

I usually pull together five film titles, but this time, I am only doing three titles, all available streaming from Amazon Prime. (Can you tell I am making the most of our membership?! This post is not sponsored, I promise. 😉 ) And all three titles are romances.

Therefore, now is the time to choose your next reel librarian romantic adventure! The reader poll will stay open through next Tuesday, May 15th, by 10 p.m. PST.

Ask the Dust (2006)

Ask The Dust – Trailer,” uploaded by YouTube Movies, Standard YouTube License


Colin Farrell, Salma Hayek, Donald Sutherland

Film description on Amazon Prime:

“Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell), a young would-be writer who comes to Depression-era Los Angeles to make a name for himself. While there, he meets beautiful barmaid Camilla (Salma Hayek), a Mexican immigrant who hopes for a better life by marrying a wealthy American. Both are trying to escape the stigma of their ethnicity in blue-blood California. The passion that arises between them is palpable.”

Where a librarian fits in:

I have never seen this film, but the credits list the role of a “Denver librarian” played by Natasha Staples. I have to assume it is a minor role in this historical romance. But Colin Farrell is playing a writer, so perhaps there’s a research angle involved in helping him write a book?

Autumn in New York (2000)

Autumn In New York,” uploaded by SarahG, Standard YouTube License


Richard Gere, Winona Ryder

Film description on Amazon Prime:

“Autumn in New York follows the sexual exploits of Will Keane (Richard Gere) – New York restaurateur, infamous verging-on-50 playboy, master of the no-commitment seduction – until he runs into an unexpected dead end when he meets Charlotte Fielding (Winona Ryder). Charlotte is half Will’s age and twice his match, a 21 year-old free spirit yearning to get out and taste the excitement of adult life.”

Where a librarian fits in:

I saw this film years ago, but I honestly don’t remember much of it except that it was very dramatic and an over-the-top, tearjerker romantic. I do remember a librarian who works at a museum, and Delores Mitchell is listed in the credits as playing the role of “Librarian.” I also have in my film notes that Lisa Tyler (played by Vera Farmiga) is a researcher.

A Bird of the Air (2011)

A Bird of the Air – Movie Trailer (2011) HD,” uploaded by Movieclips Trailers, Standard YouTube License


Rachel Nichols, Jackson Hurst, Linda Emond

Film description on Amazon Prime:

“Rachel Nichols and Jackson Hurst star in an adaptation of the romantic novel The Loop. When a talking bird bursts into his Lyman’s life, Fiona helps unravel the past and opens up his heart.”

Where a librarian fits in:

The main character Fiona is a librarian! The film’s plot summary in states “A sassy parrot and a free-spirited librarian upend the well-ordered life of a solitary man.” There is another librarian character listed in the credits, with Carrie Fleming playing a “Reference Librarian.” This sounds like a quirky romance with a starring role for a reel librarian.

Again, the reader poll will stay open through next Tuesday, May 15th, by 10 p.m. PST. Thanks in advance for helping choose which film I should analyze next!

I’ll be back next week on Wednesday, May 16th, with the winning film. And then I will publish my analysis post the following week, on May 23rd.

RIP to a reel librarian

Last week, a friend and librarian colleague let me know that Peggy Platt, the comedian who played a librarian in Harry and the Hendersons, had recently passed away. My friend also let me know that the filming location for the library in that film was the West Seattle branch of the Seattle Public Library system. But update, there is a discussion going on right now in the “Librarians in the Northwest” Facebook group with convincing evidence that it’s actually the Green Lake branch — librarian crowd-sourcing for the win! (Side note: I really appreciate how many friends and family members alert me to reel librarian movies and updates!)

I had previously written a post analyzing that library scene in Harry and the Hendersons, and I knew that the film had been made in the Pacific Northwest — but I hadn’t realized that the person who played the reel librarian was a local comedian.

I found Peggy Platt’s obituary on the Seattle Times website, and learned that she passed away last Monday at the age of 58 (so young!). There is also a memorial service planned at a local theatre this coming Monday, April 16; more details are in the article. I also learned that Peggy was a leader in Seattle’s LGBTQ community, and that she loved using this quote from a past Seattle Times profile:

“Let’s keep this simple: Peggy Platt is a feminist. Peggy Platt is funny. Peggy Platt thinks feminist issues can be funny.”

Her Seattle Times obituary also highlighted Peggy’s “national marquee moment” in Harry and the Hendersons, describing her role as “a deadpan librarian.” They even included a clip of her short but memorable turn as a reel librarian:

RIP to a reel librarian and real-life inspiration.