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someone else’s blog: In the Library With the Lead Pipe

May 31, 2012

An interesting article about the role of “celebrity gossip” in a library setup.

I find this particularly relevant because I am a bit of a pop culture nerd.  Not necessarily the “Brangelina” culture discussed in the article, but “pop culture criticisms” of a slightly more (I hate to say obscure because it makes me sound like a hipster, but) obscure nature.

I think this might be one of the greatest things I’ve read all week: “Instead of thinking of the library as a place where culture is accessed, we might also think of it was a place where culture is created: where the individual and information collide and meaning is made.”  That’s an easy way to understand the library’s relevance if ever I heard one.

And the author of the post is making gossip and celebrity awareness legitimate.  It’s building culture, and that’s not just something to be brushed off.

This article is talking about standards of human behavior being upheld and threatened; it talks about when “a major star challenges the status quo.”  It’s creating conversations.  It’s discussing “our own perspectives on marriage, divorce, and the formation of family,” discussing our ideals for human behavior.

And it’s pointing out that yes, magazines and celebrity media are looked down on in library settings.  “They’re junk food.  They’re a waste of time,” the author says.  The author also points out that “celebrity materials are ‘bad’ because they’re popular, directed at women, and ‘low class’… because they’re gendered as ‘feminine pleasures,’ they’re less valid than masculine pleasures like watching sports or, for that matter, reading Sports Illustrated” and that “these are sexist, classist, and outdated assumptions.”  The magazine shelves at a library, anything popular-culture related, can spark different discussions but very valid ones.

The author mentions the library as a cultural center and says that celebrity culture is possibly an opportunity.  The list of ideas to make this happen is fascinating: pairing documentaries and writings especially.  And hey, taking this more seriously would draw more patrons to the library, I imagine.

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