Monthly Archives: November 2011

You Guessed It! More Librarians in Songs

Librarians just seem to be popular in all forms of popular culture, so another list.

Nick Cave! There She Goes My Beautiful World  is not really about libraries or librarians…but it is literary! I just really wanted to include Nick Cave. Could you blame me? 

Swinging London by Magnetic Fields is another stretch with one mention of a library. Why not, I ask you!?

Green Day’s At the Library does not have a happy ending; boy does not get girl. I’m assuming the song takes place in a library but other than the title, there is no other mention of libraries. 

Shouting in the Library by Popple…love it! A few lines in there most librarians can relate to.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart sing about lust in the library in Young Adult Friction. Apparently libraries are great locations for sex (not!). 

Hilarious video by MC Poindexter and the Study Crew rapping out the Library Rap. Rife with stereotypes again…sigh…this song was taken from an episode from the 1990’s series, Sliders. 

Sweet Librarian by Railroad Jerk is a fun song if you can find it. I wasn’t able to include this song to listen to but if you’re interested, you can listen to a sample of it in iTunes. It’s an odd hillbilly song about someone crushing on a librarian. The lyrics are below:

Swee-eeeet librarian
What good books can you recommend?
Swee-eeeet librarian
Do you think that we could still be friends?

After everything that we’ve been through
Your books on time and mine overdue
I can’t help it if I have a cough
What days do you have off?

Swee-eeeet librarian
Four more days until the weekend
I-hiiiigh have been
Thinkin that we could still be friends

Is this reference or a circulating?
Would you like to go rollerblading?
I can’t help it if I have a cough
What days do you have off?

Sweeeeeet librarian
Sweeeeeet librarian
Sweeeeeet librarian
What good books can yooouuuu recommend?

Melvil Dewey is a children’s rap artist and has a CD called Deweylicious: Library Hip Hop…eeep! I don’t have a sample of this either so if you’re curious, you can listen to samples through iTunes (again). It includes such enticing titles as Dewey Decimal Rap and Evil Librarian. Listen at your own risk!

That’s it! Again, I ask if you enjoy these posts, comments go a long way for me to feel inspired to continue with this blog. Am I shamelessly begging? You bet!!!


Chained Libraries…Nothing Kinky Here!

Unless you think books chained to bookshelves is sexy :) As anyone who has been reading my blog can see, I’m quite enamoured with beautiful, old libraries. I thought I would continue with that theme and feature chained libraries. These are libraries that chained their books to the shelves to prevent theft. Medieval security gates, perhaps?

Hereford Cathedral (which also can be found in my More Beautiful Libraries post) is the most well known chained  library. If you click  on the picture, it will take you to the official website where you can take a 360 degree tour of the library.

Marsh’s Library (which also has made an appearance in my haunted library series, In Dublin’s Fair Citypost) used to be a chained library and while they no longer chain their books, the bars that attached the chains to the books are still a part of the shelving.

Francis Trigge Chained Library is located in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England and founded in 1598. It was built for the Parish Church of St. Wulfram, which is one of the largest medieval churches in England.

The Royal Grammar School in Guildford, England has a small chained library but is notable for being one of the last chained libraries in a school. The library is now the Headmaster’s Study.

Merton College Library, part of the University of Oxford, is considered “the world’s oldest continuously functioning library for university academics and students”. It was founded in 1276 and the books were originally kept in a chest with three locks.

The Boys’ Division at Bolton School is located in Lancashire, England and houses a not-as-old chained library. The library received a bookcase from a donation in 1694 and started to chain the books in 1735.

Wells Cathedral is located in Somerset, England. Its library was established in the mid-fifteenth century and one of its oldest books is from 1472.

St. Peter’s Church at Wootton Wawen is located in Warwickshire, England (close to Stratford-Upon-Avon). There was an original wooden church built between 720 and 740 AD. The current church was built around its remains and was itelf built between 970 and 1040. The chained books were donated by former vicar, Rev George Dunscombe, who served from 1642-1652.

The video below is a small segment from a PBS series based around the history of computers. The video features chained libraries (I don’t know! I guess books were computers from the past!?)

And just for fun, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Restricted section of the library features chained books. The video below is just still shots from the invisibility cloak scene but you can see the chained library at the beginning. Look how young Daniel Radcliffe is! Funny how all of the Chained Libraries are in England. A lack of trust in English Medieval parishioners, perhaps? I hope you enjoyed my latest library list. They’re fun to make and if I get some actual comments (hint, hint), I’ll keep going with these :)

Even More Librarians on TV!

I had no idea that librarians were so prolific! Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but, here’s another dose of librarians featured on TV.

I was surprised at myself for missing this first one with my last post on the subject. This librarian used to scare the living #&%! out of me at a much younger age! This is a segment of The Librarian from The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.  It was one of my favourite shows growing up but the librarian was just so damned creepy! It’s funny to watch now as I’ve since realized it was never scary but kudos to Billy Van who played the character to perfection!

This next example could fall under the category of either TV or movie since it’s a movie made for TV. I decided on TV obviously :) It’s a typical little story about a possessed house…the scene I’m sticking in here involves the death of a helpful librarian. Don’t worry if you’re squeamish…no blood, just some screaming :)

I wasn’t able to find a video of the the next librarian, but Kathy Kinney (best known for her role as Mimi on The Drew Carey Show) starred as Miss Prudence Goddard, the town librarian on Newhart for a season. I couldn’t even find a picture of her in the role so I’m just posting a random scene from Newhart…just because!

This Friends episode proves that you can have fun in the library! However, I don’t recommend this kind of activity at your local branch :)

Reading Rainbow was a fantastic program for children featuring  books and encouraging reading and starring LeVar Burton (best known as Geordie from Star Trek: The Next Generation). In this episode, Alistair in Outer Space, LeVar takes the viewer on a tour of the Library of Congress. You can watch the entire 30 minute episode here.

The Lucy Show! Anyone remember this one?! In this episode, Lucy decides to get a roommate, who happens to be Carol Burnette, and who also happens to be a librarian. Lots of stereotyping here but Lucille Ball and Carol Burnette…what a combination!

My last example features a library starring Eugene Levy as Bobby Bittman from SCTV. Rob Ford needs to watch this!

I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed some and if I have, I would appreciate any suggestions. Again, thanks for reading!

Another Spooky Read: The Ghost Writer by John Harwood

The Ghost Writer by Joan Harwood features a librarian in a ghost story…my favourite subjects!

Gerard Freeman is a librarian living in Australia who is smitten with his mysterious pen pal, Alice. He is also obsessed with a story that he found hidden in his mother’s drawer that was written by his great-grandmother Viola;  a sinister ghost story!

His journey takes him to England where he discovers a connection between his great-grandmother’s sinister stories and his beautiful Alice.

This book has some good creepy moments and is a great little ghost story. The scares in this book are subtle and are psychological, rather than visceral. I wasn’t too crazy about the ending but I enjoyed the ride so I do recommend this novel overall if you enjoy a creepy, gothic ghost story.

Remembrance Day and John McCrae

In honour of Remembrance Day, I want to dedicate my post to John McCrae, author of the famous In Flanders Fields poem. I have a soft spot for John McCrae as I used to work for the museum, John McCrae House, located in Guelph, Ontario. Below is not the best quality photo but it is one that is hung up inside the museum and was my personal favourite.

It’s hard to see it in the photo, but he’s smiling just a bit and I’m sure it’s because he knows he’s getting his picture taken. He was just so damned handsome! :)

Brief facts: He grew up in Guelph and became a doctor at the University of Toronto; he was never married; he taught at the University of Vermont and McGill University; the death of his friend Alexis Helmer was what inspired  In Flanders Fields; he was only 45 when he died of pneumonia.

So, if you’re ever in Guelph, you should stop by this museum. The gardens are maintained by volunteers and are what you would have found in Victorian times.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Haunted Library and it’s not Halloween!

Andrew Bayne Memorial Library in Bellevue Pittsburgh is haunted. It was built in 1875 as a three-story house and was given to the borough for use as a park and library by the owner (at the time), Amanda Bayne Balph. It was stated in her will that no trees should be taken down on the property but in 1998, it was necessary to remove one tree because of Dutch Elm disease.  Unfortunately, this tree was 300 years old and was named the “Lone Sentinel” (it was recognized in 1983 as the largest American elm in the state). All of this tree business has a purpose…some believe that the removal of this tree increased the paranormal activity in the library (Amanda Bayne is apparently not happy with the removal of the tree).

Some accounts state that the ceiling fans and lights turn on and off on their own, computer screens show random numbers, there are moving shadows, and a woman in Victorian clothing has been seen. The library has appeared in Jeff Belanger’s book,  “The World’s Most Haunted Places” (of which I own a copy surprise, surprise!).

Yay! Librarians in Movies Part II!

I can’t believe how many movies I missed in  my first post on this subject! So, here’s another one :)

Two movies had been suggested to me with my first post, so I’ll start with those…Desk Set starring Katherine Hepburn as the feisty librarian, Bunny (but didn’t she always play “feisty”!?). A fun Tracy and Hepburn movie  that takes place in the reference department of a television and radio station.

The other librarian movie suggested (that I overlooked) is Party Girl starring the fiesty (another pattern?) Parker Posey (who I love!) as Mary. She goes from party girl to library clerk and discovers her true calling…how can you not love that!? The scene below is funny…however, I don’t recommend handling that particular scenario the way Mary does : )

And just when I thought Noah Wylie from The Librarian series of movies was the only male librarian (in a movie), I found some more! Peter Sellers portrays John Lewis  in Only Two Can Play. He’s a “henpecked” husband (why are women always referred to as hens!?! I think I prefer tigers!)  who works as a librarian in a small Welsh town. His life becomes more complicated when a wife of a local councillor sets her sights on him.

Jason Robards is, yup, a librarian in Something Wicked This Way Comes. This movie is based on the Ray Bradbury book by the same name. The story involves two boys and a demonic circus with the frightening and mysterious Mr. Dark handing out wishes that are too good to be true, and the heroic (yes, I did say heroic) librarian, Charles Halloway. This is a Disney flick but it’s darker than what you’d expect.

The Shawshank Redemption features a male librarian and Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne who assists in the prison library. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, do yourself a favour and SEE IT! Fantastic movie!

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag stars Penelope Ann Miller as Mrs. Elizabeth Louise ‘Betty Lou’ Perkins. She portrays a librarian in a small town who confesses to a murder that she didn’t commit…just for the attention! She is, surprise surprise, a mousy librarian!

Tony Randall plays 8 roles in the 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. I still remember being freaked out by this movie as a child. Barbara Eden plays the librarian Angela who is seduced by Pan from a mysterious…circus?!. Adventure and seduction…just what every librarian needs!

This last one is one of my favourite movies, The Station Agent. It stars Peter Dinklage as Finn who inherits a train depot where he takes up residence. He’s a loner by choice but some of the locals  essentially  worm their way into his life. The librarian character is not a main character but I really wanted to recommend this movie :) Finn visits the local library where Emily (portrayed by Michelle Williams) is the pretty librarian/library clerk/library assistant? This is a slow moving, character-driven movie so not for all tastes but I loved it!

So, what Hollywood is essentially trying to tell us is that we librarians are boring wallflowers and are in need of a good adventure to turn all of that around. And Hollywood always knows what it is talking about! I hope you enjoyed this list…I’m looking at more!