A couple of years ago the book Pop Goes the Library came out and, despite the fact that I was in school for book and paper art, I really wanted it. I have not had much use for it until recently, when I started researching more about pop culture in the library systems, though. I must say, it is an excellent resource and has inspired me in a number of ways.
When I worked as a children’s librarian in my home town, I felt like my boss really encouraged both art and pop culture in my programming which left me feeling really innovative. As an art educator, I always pushed the boundaries of “art”, developing lessons based on somewhat obscure artists who were doing something different and unique, or basing lessons on student interest instead of making them paint still life drawings. As a librarian, why would I stop listening to the people that I serve? I wouldn’t. I think that there is room for pop culture in the library right along side Culture (with a capital C).
In an article called Adventures in Pop Culture by Sophie Brookover (also coauthor of the aforementioned book) she says:
“Libraries are not cool institutions. We are here to be of use. We are too focused on others—the public!—and their needs to be cool. This is a good thing, so let’s embrace it.”
I believe it is an excellent way to view pop culture in libraries—we are not trying to be cool, but we ARE trying:
A. To entertain, but also to educate
B. to lure new patrons in and keep them coming back
C. To give your community what it wants
D. Span all ages
E. To become indispensable to the community we serve!
Some of my other findings on pop culture in libraries included a few youtube videos:
It is interesting to see how libraries and librarians are finding ways to genuinely connect to their patrons. I think this is so important when working with people. Everything I have ever been truly interested in pursuing has stemmed from my desire to connect with others in a positive and meaningful way: Book arts, art education and librarianship.