Librarians Share Image Issues with the Popular Culture Association

By Flagg, Gordon | American Libraries, May 1999 | Go to article overview

Librarians Share Image Issues with the Popular Culture Association


Flagg, Gordon, American Libraries


A discussion that occurred in the first session of the Popular Culture Association's 29th annual conference revealed that scholars specializing in popular culture have one thing in common with many librarians: an unhappiness about the stereotyped way they're viewed by the outside world. The less-than-lofty subject matter that the association's members deal with - from television programs to rock and roll - prevents them from being taken seriously in the academic world. As one person noted, "Just because we study Elvis Presley doesn't mean we don't enjoy Mozart."

But as demonstrated by a number of sessions at the conference - held March 31-April 3 in San Diego - the common concerns of pop culture scholars and librarians extend further than an anxiety over their images. At the conference, held in conjunction with the American Culture Association, researchers presented papers on a vast array of topics, from "Can Private Ryan Be Saved? Masculinity, History, and the War Film" to "Ovidian Transformations of Myth in Xena: Warrior Princess."

Falling midway among the 90-odd areas of study represented at the conference, from Advertising to World's Fairs and Expositions, is Libraries and Popular Culture. Papers presented in that area described research collections of interest to popular-culture scholars. "These people need to get their resources somewhere," noted Allen Ellis, of the Northern Kentucky University library. Ellis, who has been chair of the libraries area since 1991, observed that as popular culture becomes more legitimized in the academic world, more libraries are developing collections encompassing materials from genre fiction to comic books.

Ellis, who along with Doug Highsmith writes the comics chapter of Bill Katz's Magazines for Libraries, observed that series books like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, once scorned by librarians, have gained respectability in such recent incarnations as Sweet Valley High. "Now librarians are grateful that young people will read anything," Ellis said. "Things move up the popular-culture ladder to acceptance," he remarked. "Movies become cinema. Even novels were once considered trash."

Ellis's own paper was devoted to the Vent Ventriloquism Museum in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky. Launched in 1972 from the personal collection of a local businessman, the museum displays over 600 figures (ventriloquists disdain the term "dummy") from 19 countries, as well as photos, correspondence, and a library with 400 books and pamphlets dating as far back as 1766.

Other collections spotlighted in the papers included:

* the Girls Series Books collection at the University of North Carolina/Greensboro,consisting of some 850 volumes from the mid-1800s through the 1980s. Noting the increase in research in the area in recent years, librarian Mark Schumacher said the library and education community has recently been examining the books' quality, and scholars are coming to recognize their importance in drawing children to reading.

* Allegheny College's special collection devoted to pioneer woman journalist (and 1880 Allegheny graduate) Ida Tarbell. Library Director Connie Thorson recounted the life of Tarbell, whose investigations influenced the 1911 Supreme Court decision to break up the Standard Oil trust.

* the Popular Entertainment Collections at the New York State Museum. Associate Curator John Scherer presented a slide show focusing on the museum's circus collection, containing over 1,000 circus posters from window-card-size to billboards. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Librarians Share Image Issues with the Popular Culture Association
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.