Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lights, Camera, Library Cards

My undergraduate career was spent analyzing film. I don't mean that in a movie-buff with a netflix account sort of way. I have my BA in film and video production. I spent countless hours debating the portrayal of race and gender on the silver screen. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I came to this journal entry and discovered I would be analyzing a movie in a new way.

A few years ago the Mummy was on TV. I hadn't seen it since I was a child and could barely remember more than sand and Brandon Frasier. Still I found myself drawn in. The female lead, Rachel Weisz, plays a librarian, and she is at once an early action hero and a stereotype of the profession.

 I remember having mixed feelings about this but settling on the side of "any representation is better than none" and changing the channel after the film ended. I was working at a coffee shop and was just pleased to see a bookish person saving the world. 

Fast forward to this semester, and more specifically this blog prompt. After a viewing of the Hollywood Librarian I had several thoughts.

For starters, for librarians, just like for most groups of people, stereotypes are unavoidable. It was strange to see decades pass, and the librarians of the film universe stay within a set mold of shushes, power trips and buns. 

And then there were the interviews. There's something seeing a person who loves their job talk. It's apparent in everything from the joy of finding the right path to the disappointment when a budget can't be stretched far enough. It was encouraging to see that much passion in working professionals.

I did appreciate that throughout this entire documentary that is is made clear that librarians are a gateway to knowledge. It's one of the things I am growing to love most about this profession and one I am glad is visible to outsiders. 

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