Monday, November 19, 2007

The future of libraries...

Amazon's new Kindle, the Sony Reader, and the Epson Seiko e-reader. I can just see it now, people coming in to the library asking for book downloads onto their electronic reader devices. People say "It'll never happen. Nothing beats the feel of a book in your hands." To them I say: "Have you seen today's youth? What are they more apt to be holding - a book? Or an electronic device of some kind?"

What do you think? :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Have you heard about the Wyoming Libraries scandal? To refresh your memory, they created mudflap girl stickers to distribute to would-be library patrons. Another blog I read, Feministing, has a different take on it.

"Reader Emily, who works as a shelver at a public library in Wyoming, sent us a link to this graphic, which is part of a marketing effort by Wyoming Public Libraries. Being a lover of libraries and subverting sexist symbols, I was initially excited. I naively thought maybe Wyoming was hoping to convey, "Reading is sexy!" or "Ladies with intellect are really hot!" Which, in my opinion, might be a defensible appropriation of the mudflap girl.

Of course, I was wrong. Here's the explanation of what they were going for:

Also in the second segment of the campaign is mudflap girl. This Campaign's only purpose is to market the ChiltonLibrary auto repair database. Mudflap girl stickers meant to be put on vehicles, were sent to auto repair stores across the state advertising the Chilton database.

Did you catch that? This is about getting people (primarily dudes, of course) who are interested in car repair to come to the library to use a computer database. In other words, not a whiff of subversion or reappropriation. It's just plain ol' tired sexism. Marketing the mudflap girl, without any irony or anger, to her traditional audience: men who like cars and babes.

Now, I, along with a big handful of other lady-librarians, consider myself a feminist. So why doesn't this mud-flap-girl-drama bother me? Because I'm also hard-core into libraries, and any publicity is good publicity.

And really, why not? In order to market efficiently you have to appeal to what your customers want. So dudes like hot chicks. Duh. Use that to your advantage. Get them into the library. I'm of the impression that the smarter people get, the higher the probability that they won't actually objectify women (and they'll learn that it's ridiculous to do so when so many women are much smarter than the average man - :-D but that's just my personal opinion).

What do you all think?