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Earlier today, I was watching Glee on Hulu. The commercials that streamed were PSAs featuring the Glee cast encouraging viewers to be responsible citizens and all that jazz. Guess what, though? Rather than focusing on the usual “be nice” or “respect” messages, one of the PSAs featured information on how libraries can share books to keep their collections fresh and reduce their carbon footprint. Pretty cool.

The only problem is that I can’t for the life of me find a standalone stream of the clip! In the comments section for the Glee episode Theatricality, someone mentions seeing this clip, so at least I know I’m not crazy. As soon as I find an embeddable clip, I’ll share.

Gotta go, the season 2 Glee premiere just started!

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This post was inspired by NPR’s Why the Next Big Pop-Culture Wave After Cupcakes Might Be Libraries. Full disclosure: I used to work for an NPR/PBS affiliate.

Flickr user: simiant

Whenever I find great articles about libraries/librarians or in support of libraries, I tend to get pretty pumped. In the case of this NPR article, I’m not so sure. The cupcakes article went viral last week – I think I had it Tweeted @ me a dozen or so times, posted to my Facebook wall a handful of times, re-posted by librarian friends on their walls, etc. – and I’m already sick of this. This article led a number of my friends and I to discuss whether libraries being a fad was a good or bad thing. Our consensus? It’s not great.

I’ll fully admit that the trendiness of libraries and books is part of why blogs like the one you’re reading have a following. We’re “hip”. Young librarians + the Internet = massive information sharing. We get it.

In the short-term, libraries-as-a-fad could be a great thing. We’re more likely to have mentions in national media, shedding light on our dire funding situations. People might become more educated about how we work and why we exist. In the long-term, however, I’m nervous. It’s no news to regular readers of this blog that my library is up for a millage renewal next week, and if it doesn’t pass, our entire 13-branch system will close on January 3. That’s over 250 library jobs gone. That means that there will only be one, small public library in my county that I’ll have to pay a non-resident fee to use. To be frank, it would be really sh*tty.

The NPR article reads:

There seems to be a preposterous level of goodwill. Quite honestly, I feel like you can go on YouTube and act like a complete goof (in the best way), and if it’s for libraries, people have that same rush of warmth that they used to get about people who had sextuplets, before … well, you know. Before.

Are they saying we’re the next Jon & Kate Plus 8? Really? Maybe not, but libraries are about significantly more than our YouTube videos. The Plus 8 crew has dealt with a huge backlash against them once their saccharine facade cracked in 2009. Does that mean libraries have a few years of goodwill remaining before everyone is sick of our videos? Or us? Before our fall from happy family grace spells the end of libraries? For us there’s no “Twist of Kate” spinoff in development. Pardon the drama, but for us, losing that “preposterous level of goodwill” could spell curtains.

I would love to hear what readers have to say on this subject. Especially fellow librarians.

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Stitches illustrationThe graphic memoir Stitches by David Small, a nominee for the National Book Award, is a fantastic and gripping read. for more information on the story, check out this website or any of the following links.

Not being from the publishing marketing world, I won’t embarrass myself by trying to compare and contrast things I know nothing of. Instead, I want to share what appeals to me about their marketing strategy.

Why does Stitches need an online marketing strategy?

It’s not your traditional graphic novel. I’m no expert, but I get the impression that the marketers assigned to Stitches knew that they had something unique on their hands. The book is full of amazing illustrations (as you’d expect coming from a Caldecott Medal award winner) and has an amazing story to share. I’m glad the book’s marketers didn’t just rely on award buzz to promote Small’s work. Here are some of my favorite Stitches promotional elements.

Scribd

The PDF-sharing website, Scribd, was used to share the book’s first 23 pages, a great way to rope in potential readers.

Video

First great social media marketing move re: Stitches: their Vimeo account. (Vimeo, like YouTube is an online video sharing site that tends to be used more by video professionals rather than amateurs. Read a great comparison of online video sharing services here.) The folks responsible for marketing Stitches chose to use a Vimeo account to share this cinematic graphic novel in moving form. If you’re unsure what I’m getting at here, just check out this video:

Website

Last, but not least, the Stitches website rules. This post is getting long, so check it out for yourself.

Libraries in the Mainstream
The unmistakable smell of old books has been distilled into a perfume… and I love it. Charmingly named In the Library, CB I Hate Perfume‘s creation is a must-buy for for the bibliophile, English teacher or librarian in your life. My fiance bought me the 2 mL “travel size” for a recent gift. The perfume’s website describes In the Library as:

English Novel taken from a Signed First Edition of one of my very favorite novels, Russian & Moroccan leather bindings, worn cloth and a hint of wood polish

I’ve got to be honest here, the wood polish bit turned me off to the whole idea of a book-scented perfume. I work in a public library, whose cacophony of smells is already a lot to take in. I didn’t think I needed to introduce more in to the mix.

Description aside, I am ultimately glad I got this perfume as a gift. It smells great, even somewhat floral*, which is nice. I can dab on the slightest amount of the perfume absolute to last me all day without feeling overwhelmed by smell.

*I am in no way a perfume or scent expert.

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In an earlier post, I wrote about libraries in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. The glorious tension between the library and parks department lived on in an episode aired February 4, entitled “Sweetums.”

Pawnee Public Library Sign

If you’d like to see the library-specific content streaming at Hulu, start watching the full episode at the 8 minute mark (library content runs about a minute).

Parks & Rec in the Library

MemorableĀ library-related quotes (spoiler alert):

Marcie: Hmm, you seem to have a $40 late fee on a book called Mysteries of the Female Orgasm!
Leslie: No I don’t!

Leslie: Punk ass book jockies! (screamed as she runs out of the library, 16mm films in hand)

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Episode review at tv.ign.com

“Sweetums” | Parks and Recreation | A.V. Club

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PS: http://www.pawneeindiana.com/ is a site necessary for all Parks and Rec fans to visit.

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What the Librarian Did

What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss

This is a real book. I’m not joking.

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For months now, I’ve been meaning to publish a Libraries in the Mainstream post about the Thursday night NBC comedy, Community. Large segments of this amusing* show are set in the library of their community college in Denver. Here is a rap.

*(Though you’d never guess it was amusing from the pilot, which comes across simply as poking fun at community college students. I later gave the show a second chance based on a friend’s recommendation. I was pleasantly surprised. )

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My third favorite television show growing up in the 1990s was Wishbone. For those of you unaware of this spectacular gem of a show, please consult its Wikipedia page and your local PBS affiliate for more information and to watch an episode or two. I promise that if you love reading, this show will at least make you smile.

At any rate, the episode entitled One Thousand and One Tails was on WKAR in East Lansing, MI when I went to my gym this afternoon. Lucky for me, the episode was beginning right as I got on to the elliptical machine (as if anyone cares what my workout routine entales). Here’s a synopsis of the episode, from KQED:

David has an adventure with bandits on the information superhighway while Wishbone tries to save Emily from the power of greed. Meanwhile, Wishbone, as Ali Baba, has an adventure with forty thieves, and Scheherazade saves her life through the power of stories in “The Thousand and One Arabian Nights.”

I HAD hoped to embed a series of videos produced by the Wishbone team in this post, but alas, finding anything but the show intro and a variety of bad (surprise, surprise) content tagged with “wishbone” on YouTube was impossible. Instead of a bunch of cute videos about visiting your local library and how fun going to the library with one’s family is, I’ve got this video of a barking Jack Russell.

And since this post is “just for fun,” here are some adorable pictures of my two dogs, one of which is part Jack Russell Terrier. Soccer, the dog best known for portraying the most literary pooch of all time, was a Jack Russell.

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Happy belated Xmas, librarians. I had a man once ask me why on earth I’d want to be an old librarian with a bun and cranky glasses. Most librarians I know, though there are exceptions, are very much the opposite of the stereotype.

At any rate, it’s Christmas time. If you can spare the 30 seconds to watch the first video below, you’ll laugh as hard as I did at the shock and horror with which George Baily reacts to discovering his wife is a librarian.

And to end it on a more positive note:

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Two things I love, strike that – three things I love, all in one place: libraries, public broadcasting, and Rachel Maddow. šŸ˜€

UPDATE: 12/29/09

From TPMDC Morning Roundup on December 28, 2009 :

Bush Library To Hold Photos, Cowboy Hats, Gift From Pope, And Saddam Hussein’s Glock
The Washington Post reports that the George W. Bush Presidential Library, set to open in 2013, will include all manner of political artifacts of his administration, as well as the lavish gifts that a president receives: “Included here are 68 million pages of documents, a surfboard, 175 million e-mails, countless cowboy hats, 3,845,912 photographs, Stan ‘The Man’ Musial’s autograph, gold and silver swords, handmade quilts, diamond jewelry, cowboy boots, classified files, a gift from the pope and the 9mm Glock pistol that Saddam Hussein was armed with when he was rooted out of his spider hole in Iraq.”