From Library Journal: "A comprehensive book, providing information on the rationale for connecting pop culture to library services and offering a range of projects to get students into the library."
Integrating Pop Culture into the Academic Library explores how popular culture is used in academic libraries for collections, instruction, and programming. This book describes the foundational basis for using popular culture and discusses how it ignites conversations between librarians and students, making not only the information relatable, but the library staff, as well. The use of popular culture in the library setting acknowledges the importance of students’ interests and how these interests can be used to understand their information needs in unique and interesting ways. By integrating popular culture into library collections, instruction, and programming, librarians present research and discovery in ways that connect with students and the broader community.
This book demonstrates that academic libraries using popular culture find it to be an effective tool, both for instruction and programming. The editors are librarians who utilize popular culture in various ways to provide instruction and reinforce information literacy concepts in their own practice. Readers will find chapters written by a variety of authors from different types of academic libraries, including community colleges, comprehensive universities, research universities, and law schools. These unique perspectives offer readers different ways of thinking about how librarians can incorporate students’ interests in popular culture to promote the mission of the library.
In addition to well-known examples such as Hamilton: The Musical, Pokémon, Harry Potter, Black Panther, and Barbie, readers will also encounter lesser-known library applications of popular culture, including cartoneras, zines, fantasy maps, gaming collectives, and paranormal walking tours. All of these examples highlight the multiple way libraries leverage popular culture to expand their reach and identity with students and the community at-large.
Melissa E. Johnson is the Assistant Director of Reference and Education Services at Reese Library, Augusta University, where she also teaches freshman composition courses. She has previously published chapters in Approaches to liaison librarianship: Innovations in organization and engagement by C. Crichton & R. Canuel (Eds.),Open praxis, open access: Digital scholarship in action by D. Haugh & D. Chase (Eds), The Grounded Instruction Librarian by Jackie Belanger, Lauren Hays, Melissa Mallon, Rhonda Huisman, and Cara Bradley (Eds.), and Library partnerships with poets and writers: Case studies by C. Smallwood & V. Gubnitskaia (Eds.). Johnson is co-editor of Augusta University’s undergraduate research journal, The Arsenal. Johnson earned both her Master of Library and Information Science degree as well as her Master of Arts in English degree from Valdosta State University (Valdosta, GA). She is currently pursuing an EdD from the University of North Georgia (Gainesville, GA).
Thomas Weeks is a reference and instruction librarian at Reese Library, University Libraries, Augusta University (Augusta, GA). He has previously published a case study of creating multimedia tutorials using established best practices in the Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning and a chapter in the book The Grounded Instruction Librarian, edited by Jackie Belanger, Lauren Hays, Melissa Mallon, Rhonda Huisman, and Cara Bradley. He is a 2016 graduate of ACRL's Immersion program. Weeks earned his MLIS from Valdosta State University (Valdosta, GA) and an MS in Instructional Design and Technology from Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA). He is currently pursuing an EdD in curriculum studies from Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, GA). His research interests include critical librarianship, cultural studies of education, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Jennifer Putnam Davis is the Scholarship and Data Librarian at the Robert B. Greenblatt, MD Library, University Libraries, Augusta University (Augusta, GA). She has previously published an article with co-author Johnson in the Serials Librarian, and a case study with co-author Weeks in the Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning. Davis is co-editor of Augusta University’s undergraduate research journal, The Arsenal. Davis earned her MA in Medieval Literature from the University of York (York, UK) and her MLIS from Valdosta State University (Valdosta, GA).
Part 1: Foundations
Part 2: Collections
Part 3: Instruction
Part 4: Programming
About the Contributors
About the Editors
Keeping information literacy instruction relevant and engaging is an ongoing issue in academic librarianship. Johnson, Weeks, and Putnam-Davis have put together a wonderful collection of research and case studies on using pop culture in an academic setting. Discussing topics from the history of pop culture to the ways it can challenge the norms of modern-day scholarship, to what being an academic library means, the essays provide compelling evidence for the presence of pop culture in academia. Since social media, television, movies, and theater are constantly evolving and changing, case studies offer a template for instruction that can be considered and applied to other pop culture concepts. Beyond the classroom, this book makes a case for pop culture as part of collections that libraries offer access to and in the programming libraries offer. Recognizing the changing world, this book offers guidance on maintaining the academic library's relevance not only to the college as an entity, but also to the life experience of the students who attend. Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, and professionals.
Editors Johnson, Thomas C. Weeks, and Jennifer Putnam Davis offer ideas and bibliographies to help academic librarians bring pop culture into the library. Featuring essays written by academic librarians at community colleges, comprehensive universities, research universities, and law schools, the book is divided into four sections: foundations, collections, instruction, and programming. The authors provide practical advice and suggestions for hands-on activities that allow students to creatively engage in library spaces: using makerspaces to create zines and books; using streaming media; games, for example, “Blacks and Whites: The Role, Identity, and Neighborhood Action Game”; and even paranormal walking tours. With a wealth of available pop culture materials, deciding which direction and materials to pursue can sometimes be challenging. Still, the authors emphasize the importance of connecting information literacy to real life and taking advantage of opportunities to explore feminism, critical race theory, history, and intersectionality in the process. As they note, “Teaching librarians know that information literacy skills are not solely applicable to library resources: these skills should be applied to every aspect of our daily lives.” A comprehensive book, providing information on the rationale for connecting pop culture to library services and offering a range of projects to get students into the library. This thought-provoking and engaging book would enhance any academic library’s professional collection.
While pop culture hasn’t always been kind to the image of librarians, Integrating Pop Culture into the Academic Library shows that academic libraries are places that pop culture can, and should, thrive. The editors and contributors do an excellent job showing that zines, Harry Potter, Barbie dolls, reality television, and paranormal ghost tours all have a place in our academic world. All fun and future-thinking academic librarians should read this book. Even those who already work in libraries may view libraries differently afterwards.
The early essays in this book give a solid history and rationale for including popular culture materials in the academic library. The other essays bring together thought-provoking examples of using current popular culture in academic library instruction and programming to engage today's college students. This book is a great resource for librarians and others who wish to critically engage students from all disciplines by using materials that they are familiar with in their everyday lives.
This book has incredible breadth and depth on the topic of popular culture collections and services in academic libraries, making it not only useful for people who are new to the field, but also an engaging read sure to generate ideas even for the most seasoned professionals.
6/9/22, Choice: This book was included in a roundup of forthcoming library and information science titles.