Welcome to Pop Culture Library Review! I’m Burkely Hermann, a 2019 MLIS graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park, and I write about depictions of libraries and librarians in popular culture, regardless of the format, although mainly focusing on animation and anime, which is generally lacking when it comes to popular culture reviews. For reviews of genealogy/family history in popular culture, please see our now-defunct sister blog, Genealogy in Popular Culture. For reviews of archives and archivists in popular culture, please see the blog, Wading Through the Cultural Stacks. I also recommend checking out “Librarian Wardrobe” and “Librarian Avengers” if you are interested.

Like Ms. Samantha Cross and her site, POP Archives (posts up to 2018 on a WordPress site), who reviews archives and archivists in popular culture. This site is a similar but it focuses on libraries instead. It serves as a resource for people to understand the importance of libraries and their function in society, while countering stereotypes of libraries and librarians at the same time. I currently have pages which look at libraries in anime, animation, and film, along with other topics in coming days. Keep in mind, according to the American Library Association (ALA), stated that there are four types of libraries:

  1. Academic libraries, which serve colleges and universities, their students, staff and faculty.
  2. Public libraries, which serve communities of all sizes and types.
  3. School libraries, which are often part of a school system, serving students between Kindergarten and grade 12, for instance.
  4. Special libraries serve particular populations, such as the blind and physically handicapped, while others are dedicated to special collections, such as the Library of Congress or a presidential library. They are archivy, perhaps the only type of library which can cross into the archives field.

USA.Gov also lists three types of libraries: public libraries, which “lend books, movies, music, and offer English classes,” state libraries, which “collect and preserve information about your state,” and federal libraries like the Library of Congress, Presidential Libraries, National Library of Education, Federal Depository Libraries, the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Print Disabled, and the Federal Library and Information Network.

Here are some definitions of libraries, which I mentioned in my first post, for your reference:

“Libraries are portals to all of the world’s knowledge. And librarians make sure that knowledge continues to be recorded and saved for the future, even as information-storage devices and formats change…Librarians are trained to do high-level research, which supports scientists, doctors, lawyers, professors, writers, government officials, and other important professionals every single day…Many public libraries offer after-hours homework help, via online services that they subscribe to in order to support students’ learning…Libraries offer services and products that level the intellectual playing field…Libraries are spaces where people of all ages can practice lifelong learning.”- Libraries Are Essential


“[Libraries] identify, acquire, preserve, and provide access to the world’s published knowledge [,] promote equity of access to information [,] promote intellectual freedom [,] support education and continuous learning and research [,] support the development of information literacy in society [, and] serve as focal points for communities and promote community interests.”- Council on Library and Information Resources


“Libraries are places of information. When most people think “library” they think books. And while that is certainly true, these days books take different shapes, such as e-books and audio books. More than just books, libraries are places of information, offering people free access to a wealth of information that they often can’t find elsewhere, whether online, in print or in person. Whether they’re looking for DVDs or the latest best-seller; health or business information found  on internet databases not accessible at home, or going for story times and community programming, the library is a center of community for millions of people…At the center of all types of libraries is the librarian. Librarians are information experts, selecting books relevant to the community, creating helpful programming, and connecting people to information.”- ALA, ilovelibraries


“The books in a library are often secondary sources of information, whereas the records in an archive are primary sources. Archives provide first-hand information or evidence relating to historical events or figures. Library books are arranged by subject and author, whereas information in archives is arranged according to the person or organisation that created it. This means that you will probably need to look at records from more than one source, or more than one archive, as you gather information.”- UK National Archives


“Libraries in towns (public libraries) or universities (academic libraries) can generally be defined as “collections of books and/or other print or nonprint materials organized and maintained for use.” Patrons of those libraries can access materials at the library, via the Internet, or by checking them out for home use. Libraries exist to make their collections available to the people they serve…Note that there is a great deal of overlap between archives and libraries. An archives may have library as part of its name, or an archives may be a department within a library [like]…The Performing Arts Reading Room in the Library of Congress.”- Society of American Archivists

Happy reading! Comments are welcome!