Monday, June 10, 2013

A Tale of Popular Culture

Did you hear? “Grumpy Cat” won this year’s meme award at the annual “Webby Awards,” and It’s going to be made into a movie!

Not very excited about that? Asking yourself why should librarians care?
Popular culture is a big deal for libraries and it affects everything a library does from programming to collection development. Gone are the days when libraries considered themselves paragons of high culture, above all of that silly popular junk, but maybe some librarians still have that attitude. Are you one of them? When it comes to purchasing new materials are you still rejecting, Ice Age: Hidden Treasures and other spin-off  books based on popular culture as unworthy of your collection?
Many Children’s Librarians recognize the value to the library of these kinds of popular items. They draw their young patron into the library as an exciting place to be. They think, “Hey, the library knows something about my world!” This is the best possible impression the library could make on its customers. Does this mean that there isn’t room for Anne of Green Gables and other classic children’s books? Of course not, but maybe we no longer need to have five extra copies.

And take heart, everyone who despairs that no one is reading the classics. Recently at my library, in going through the Beatrix Potter books, there was a big difference in circulation between those books based on the cartoon show and the originals. The editions of the little books based on Potter’s original creations won out. The little people have spoken.