Week 13: Pop Culture in the Library – How Much Is Too Much?

We’re up to our last week! (Penultimate if you count our reflection posts)

I have to say that it’s been quite the journey, getting this far. This week, I’d like to talk about the prevalence of activities typically found in galleries and museums that have started to appear in libraries as of late. There is an argument that states that libraries are overreaching by conducting services that should be left to galleries and museums.

I don’t believe that libraries have to stay out of activities that are typically held by galleries and museums. Why? Even though a library is a repository of knowledge, said knowledge does not always have to take the form of literature. In this week’s Twitter chat, we discussed pop culture, a topic that is covered by GLAMs. Knowledge can take many forms, such as photos, art and music, and I believe that part of sharing knowledge is allowing people to see snippets of how a specific subtopic in pop culture came to be. Lisa made a tweet that ‘GLAMs are all places where stronger communities can be built through the different cultural activities they provide’, and I beileve that it fits my point perfectly.

That being said, though, libraries must be careful to not be overly pushy in promoting pop culture. I believe that everyone can learn from having pop culture being presented in libraries. However, as people who have lived through at least portions of the making of this culture, seeing it presented without any meaning does indeed feel like a cheap gimmick. Karina brings up a very good point with the case of Pokemon Go – she lambasted the decision of companies attempting to capitalise on it by appearing to be trendy to make a quick buck. Such an approach would not only be seen as cheap, but also overy pushy and utterly out of place.

I do believe that libraries have a place when it comes to present pop culture. As keepers of knowledge, they are, in fact, the best suited to presenting pop culture in a way that can deliver both an engaging experience as well as the cold, hard facts. It is a delicate topic, though, one that walks a fine line between an adventure and out of place. Only the way pop culture is presented in a library exhibit will tell whether it proves to be a success or a failure.

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