Week 13 – Pop culture twitter chat champion

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    • #2727
      Stacey Larner

      The culture and pop culture twitter chat was the last of the semester, and I was one of the chat champions. It was fast-paced, lively and thought provoking. One of the key messages I took away from the twitter chat was that regardless of my personal preference as a librarian, my opinions and taste shouldn’t dictate what kinds of popular culture the library engages with. The other message I took away was that what is and isn’t pop culture can become incredibly confusing.


      The conversation began with a general agreement that libraries could help the public connect with the culture of their own time and times past, could help creative people exhibit their work, could be inclusive of the culture of marginalised communities (specifically where there is a divide between “high” and “low” art). Programming was a recurrent theme.


      This question triggered some interesting discussion around what exactly pop culture was. I made the argument that mainstream culture and pop culture weren’t necessarily the same. NSteer said that geek/gamer/indie culture WAS mainstream these days, and Robynne asked if the point was, though, that they were one and the same? The Librarian Idol pointed to subcultures such as fan-fic as examples of non-mainstream pop culture. So while “nerdy” things are becoming more mainstream, there are still elements of pop culture that are decidedly not mainstream. Which lead to…


      Trends! We ran the gamut from selfies to zombies to youtube to pinterest to YA. I mentioned gamification, makerspaces and mashups as trends libraries could capitalise on. There was some amusing discussion on libraries teaching patrons how to use dating sites. This discussion between Rae and Bodie Van Den Berg lead quite naturally to my question, which was:


      The consensus was yes, it’s relevant but staff need to be authentic and enthusiastic, and that rather than making assumptions, do some market research. Chloe pointed out execution will influence how it is received, including the need to not be patronising. Rae said staff should be open to input and corrections from young people. The Librarian Idol made the point that language matters when trying to connect with young people. Around this point Jenny said “I am beginning to think there is little difference between a community centre and a library” and The Librarian Idol affirmed this thought.

      We moved on to


      This question poked my own personal views. I am rather ardently anti-consumerist (as a side discussion about the colouring-in fad revealed) and I dislike a lot of what I consider to be harmful messages in mainstream magazines. I wasn’t the only one thinking those thoughts, but the point was made that a lot of marginalised communities have media that is seen as “trashy”. Sarah asked “who are we to judge what is “trashy”? Bodie Van Den Berg made the eloquent point that it doesn’t matter what we do or don’t like. This discussion could have continued for much longer but it was time for Q6a and 6b…


      The Zine topic fascinated me in the readings, and I loved the idea of libraries archiving and circulating them. I advocated for a change to collection development policies to allow for the purchase of zines as cultural artefacts. They can exist as an alternative voice to mainstream media. Rae pointed out they can also give a voice to marginalised people. People saw zines as ephemeral, like snapshots of time. The difficulty in cataloguing was seen as a challenge, but The Librarian Idol had an anarchistic solution for that (how punk!). Luke thought the blog was a “natural successor of the zine” but Kate wasn’t so sure.

      We finished the chat with an admonition from The Librarian Idol to embrace pop culture in school libraries; to stand up for pop culture.

      The chat was intense and full of thoughts and discussion and disagreements and revelations. It was a good topic to end the semester, as everyone had opinions and ideas about at least a few of the questions. I definitely came away from it feeling inspired to find the cultural niches that are lacking in our school library, that would be beneficial to our school community.



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    • #2808
      hanan albishri

      Awesome review thank you for summarize .

    • #2850
      Steven Walker

      Awesome stuff!

    • #2915

      Thanks Stacey, that’s a great summary. There was so much to talk about and as usual it was fast and furious conversation. Twubs crashed on me a couple of times so I missed chiming in on the discussion my remark provoked (gnashing of teeth!) Nevertheless, despite the handicap of my rotten typing speed I’m going to miss those discussions 🙂 I also really enjoyed the discussion about zines – I’e read some without knowing what they were but now I do! I agree with your point that it’s important for libraries to collect material like zines in order that collections properly reflect the diversity of our communities. How boring and unrepresentative if all we had was the culture of one group recorded as our history – that’s true of all kinds of age groups, genders, race, etc etc. Let’s celebrate our diversity, even if we don’t necessarily like bits of it. It’s all important as part of the mix.

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