Libraries have been getting a lot of media attention lately, what with the Fox News story asking whether Chicago’s libraries were worth the money (and subsequent responses), and the Old Spice parody and actual Old Spice social networking videos about libraries.

Now NPR blogger Linda Holmes wonders if this might be the start of a new movement in pop culture focusing on libraries.

Call it a hunch, but it seems to me that the thing is in the air that happens right before something — families with a million kids, cupcakes, wedding coordinators — suddenly becomes the thing everyone wants to do happy-fuzzy pop-culture stories about.

She points out some of the things about libraries and librarians that appeal to people’s current sensibilities—sympathy for the underdog as libraries are beleaguered by budget issues; frugality in the current economy as libraries let you read stuff or surf the Internet for free—and also notes the amusement value (and possible reality-show fodder) of interacting with an unpredictable general public.

The prediction is written with tongue at least partially in cheek, but it would certainly be welcome news to fans of libraries and literacy everywhere if it turned out to be accurate. It seems a little counterintuitive that libraries would experience a resurgence as a pop-culture phenomenon only after the dawn of the e-book age, but perhaps as with saving endangered species it’s a case of not noticing what you have until it’s almost gone.


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail