The library profession is one that has a long history, and is recognised around the world. This means that libraries and librarians sometimes feature in popular culture – movies, television, comics, music, fashion. Sometimes this is great – we’re portrayed as intelligent and resourceful people, sometimes even with super powers – and sometimes it’s frustrating, such as when ‘librarian’ is used as a shortcut to mean ‘stuffy old woman’.
For this discussion topic, we’re going to take a selective tour through representations of libraries and librarians in pop culture. We’ll share some examples we’ve found, both good and bad, and we encourage you to talk to your partner about how librarians are represented in your country. Do you have a favourite fictional librarian? Or library?
We noticed something interesting when we were researching this topic – we found it really hard to find examples outside of American, English and Australian pop culture. Our limited language skills were probably hindering us, but if you have examples of libraries represented in pop culture in your country that you are able to share with us, we’d love to see them.
Some questions you might like to share with your partner:
- Are there any examples of libraries and librarians represented in pop culture in your country?
- Do you think representations of librarians in pop culture help or hurt our image?
- Can you think of ways in which libraries can use these representations to our advantage?
- Do you have a favourite pop culture librarian?
Throughout the next two weeks we’d love you to share examples of libraries and librarians in pop culture through our Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as in the comments field below. We’d love to hear from you!