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action adventure animation fantasy Fiction genres Librarians Libraries Pop culture mediums special libraries speculative fiction White people

Miss Hatchet, Kim Possible, the complexity of library classification, and technocratic libraries

Recently, I began watching Kim Possible for the first time, apart from one episode: “Overdue.” I watched it before I began the series. When I first conceived this post, I thought that I would somehow change my opinion of Miss Hatchet. Long-time readers may recall I previously described her as a person who “rules the school library like a tyrant…[with] her own form of library organization.” After watching the episode, I feel no differently about her as I did before. However, I would argue that her character and the plotline says a lot more about libraries than I had previously guessed, meaning that Hatchet is more than a smorgasbord of librarian stereotypes, especially when it comes to library classifications of materials within libraries themselves.

There is no doubt that this librarian is “wound pretty tight” as Ron, a friend of Kim Possible, and series protagonist with her, remarks later in the episode. She has strict rules, like having a zero tardiness policy when it comes to overdue books. She has an enormous amount of power in the school as she is able to suspend Kim from cheerleading because she has an overdue book! Yikes. All the students seem to fear her and she acts like a villain throughout the episode, first by making Kim shelve stacks upon stacks of books based on her own, and more complicated, library classification system, known as the Hatchet Decimal System (HDS). Second, she takes away Kim’s communicator (equivalent to her cell phone) and makes her put adhesive labels on every book saying “property of MHS library.” In the end, Ron appears to come to the rescue, returning the book, but it turns out that this is the incorrect one, as it releases evil spirits which terrify her and cause destruction to the library. Her fate after that is unknown. Presumably, Kim and Ron save her life, although that isn’t shown on screen.

Even though she is one of the only Middleton High School staff employees shown in the show, Hatchet nothing much more than a basket of stereotypes harmful to librarians while acting like a supervillain of sorts, giving Kim busy work while in “library lockup,” as she calls it. Nothing about her is redeemable. However, I would venture that the episode is pointing to something more: the complexity of library classification. This has been an argument that has been rightly pointed out about the Dewey Decimal Classification system (DDC) have made in the past. This is despite the fact that this library classification system organizes to materials by subject. It can be hard for those who don’t know the intricacies of DDC, like ordinary library patrons, to understand how books are organized. [1]

In 2007, the Library of Congress warned of limiting the use of the number components field so that doesn’t become “confusing and complicated.” Some years earlier, scholars Luc Beaudoin, Marc-Antoine Parent, and Louis C. Vroomen described DDC as a huge and complex information hierarchy. [2] Additional classification systems have also been noted as complex. For instance, some said that the Library of Congress Classification System (LCC) [3] is more efficient and specific for new technical material and big collections but “more complex.” Others described the effort by Belgians Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, who used the DDC as a basis, to create the “complex multidimensional indexing system” known as the Universal Bibliographic Repertory (UBR). [4]

The Hatchet Decimal System on a book binding on the left and the DDC on a book bindings on the right. The latter is from this image on Wikimedia.

To come back to the episode, I would say that the focus on a classification system that Hatchet made by herself is meant to point to the complexity of library classification systems in general and how they can be confusing for ordinary people, in this case Kim. Her system is clearly more complex than the DDC and perhaps that is part of the point of this episode, which was written by Jim Peterson, directed by Steve Loter (who directs many of the episodes in the series), and storyboarded by Eugene Salandra, Jennifer Graves & Robert Pratt. It is incredible that Hatchet has enough authority that she can create her own system for organizing books in the library, which has become “her natural habitat” as it states on her short Kim Possible fandom page. Many librarians would not have that ability as their actions would be hemmed in by school administrators, school boards, national and state library associations, which have their own codes of ethics.

As Anne Gooding-Call has pointed out, “librarians of color don’t necessarily have the same support that white librarians enjoy,” with the MLIS and middling wages as a barrier to many. This is undoubtedly the case for Hatchet, who the school probably would have treated differently had she been Black, Latine, or Asian, for instance, as most of the librarian field is composed of White female librarians. She would not have the social support of other White people, even if the students feared her. In one way, the library that Hatchet occupies appears to be a white space, meaning somewhere that Black people may be reluctant to ask questions or use resources. On another, since students generally fear her, no one, of any race, may be asking her questions or for any help. Instead, they are presumably trying to spend the least amount of time in the library as possible, as they are afraid of her. I would even argue that if she wasn’t White, she couldn’t be as mean and menacing to the students, at least I would hope that would be the case.

Beyond this, there is no doubt in my mind that Hatchet obviously blatantly violates tenets 1, 6, 7, 8, and 9, at minimum, of the ALA’s Code of Ethics. This is not unique to her, as others are even worse offenders. [5] For instance, Francis Clara Censorsdoll in Moral Orel dipped “objectionable” books in kerosene and set them on fire. Cletus Bookworm in Rocky & Bullwinkle had no problem with an armed man taking two patrons of the library hostage. In fact, he encouraged their capture and applauded it. That’s just two of the most egregious examples I can think of, although there are many others. Gooding-Call says that librarians are mostly “sincere people who mean well…eager to grow and improve” who can become “vehicles of empowerment.” Hatchet does not seem to be this at all. Instead, she seems overly strict and harsh, not wanting to improve. She is the female equivalent of Steven Barkin, a former U.S. Army Ranger, who has a gruff, no-nonsense, attitude, and is abrasive with students in the series. Unlike Barkin, it is unlikely she has PTSD from wartime experiences.

There is the additional issue that the DDC system and other cataloging approaches were “designed in a racist and white-centered system,” [6] building upon my post in May about fictional acceptance of the DDC. Hatchet probably didn’t care much about this. Instead, what matters to her was lording this power over other people in a menacing way, or at least it appears that way. She says as much, as she declares to Kim that “There will come a day when you forget to return a book and I’ll be waiting for you.” It gives you the chills. Was she so self-centered that she created her own classification system? Did she care that DDC is, as Emily Ruth Brown points out, built around adult disciplines, is proprietary, and is negatively affected by changes in technology? We can’t know for sure, as she is a one-time character who never re-appears in the series. This isn’t surprising, given that Western animation has a habit of easily playing into librarian stereotypes, although this may be changing, with libraries shown much more positively in anime.

As I expected, not one person has written a fan fiction about Ms. Hatchet in Kim Possible on Archive of Our Own, even though it could make an interesting story to see things from her perspective. Clearly her actions toward Kim, and presumed other students, are irredeemable. Even so, she may be under a lot of stress as the only librarian of the entire Middleton High School library, at least the only one we see as the audience. If she had been trying to get Kim to do extra work, like shelving books, then this was definitely not the way to go about it. There are the other library scenes in the series, but she never re-appears. She is never given a chance to redeem herself or for the audience to see who she is as a person. She is just a bunch of stereotypes all shoved into one person. I admit that I may be reading too much into this 11-minute episode. At the same time, this episode may be more than what it appears to be on the surface and interconnects with issues surrounding library classification systems and even broader issues within the library field itself.

Ms. Hatchet pushes a book cart piled high with books
Ms. Hatchet pushes a book cart piled high with books

When I first composed and finished this post in later February 2022, my last paragraph was the end of the article. However, I see Hatchet’s classification in a new light after reading a chapter by Rafia Marza and Maura Seale about White masculinity and “the technocratic library of the future” in Topographies of Whiteness. Although she is no technocrat, and neither are any of those on List of fictional librarians I have put together for this blog as most are either “old-school”, “traditional”, or “magical” for the most part, her complex HDS is akin to technocratic ideas. Marza and Seale note that as information technology has become a bigger part of librarianship in the 1990s and 2000s, the White female librarian has been replaced by ideas from Silicon Valley, with “technological solutions” which will supposedly free us. They further said that such a focus on technology as a “solution to complex social problems” is central to technocratic ideas, which is characterized by its “impartial, apolitical rationality,” with those who are technocrats interests in politics rather than efficiency, thinking that technological fixes can be universal. However, this ideology is bound up in White supremacy because White men have historically claimed rationality and White masculinity has been able to function as the “universal form,” while it can only claim to be neutral and objective due to Whiteness. At the same time it upholds patriarchy as well. [7] This interlinks with the historic investment of libraries in Whiteness and faulty notions such as rationality, objectivity, neutrality, and neoliberal tendencies. The latter is promoted by two ALA initiatives: Libraries Transform and the Center of the Future of Libraries (launched in 2015).

Such initiatives, Marza and Seale argue, engage internet-centrism, an idea described by Morozov as the idea that everything is changed and there needs to be fixes, while technology is permanent, fixed, has an inherent nature, and possess agency as it exists “outside of history.” They are interconnected to technological solutionism, the idea that  all complex social problems can be neatly defined and have definite solutions or processes that “can be easily optimized,” even though this can undermine support for more demanding or stimulating reform projects. [8] This comes with the assumption that it is neutral and objective, even though it is anything but that. This is reinforced by a focus on digital and quantitative skills, with an individual and “entrepreneurial” worker as the default, who are often male and White, especially when it comes to those in Silicon Valley, who are used as a basis for these “necessary” skill sets. At the same time, care and emotion work, service work, manual labor, and so on are seen as “feminized labor” At the same time, libraries are seen as akin those businesses in the so-called sharing economy, with racial prejudice as ingrained in such an economy, and labor of people of color and White women not visible due to the emphasis on technology and de-emphasis on the labor behind the technology itself, with its deadly environmental and labor consequences. [9]

While labor of those causing the technological solutions to be workable is erased, so is any quiet or reflective work, like that portrayed in Kokoro Library, while fewer workers are told to take on more work, leading to burnout. Additionally, libraries are viewed as platforms, like the sites created by Silicon Valley, which ends up prioritizing monetization and obscures any libraries seen as “non-technological,” pay is low, and librarianship itself is devalued while technocratic ideology is risen, and the value of library degrees has declined while information technology is seen as even more paramount. This is only strengthened with a focus on “short-term results,” market demands, just-in-time services, efficiency, and “return on investment,” even as emotional labor of women and physical labor of people of color is needed to make sure libraries, and society as a whole, function. In the end, such technocratic ideas are embedded in systems of privilege, while technology itself is subject to the same inequities as the rest of the world, with a necessary situated and historic understanding of technology and librarianship, and ways that both of those concepts “intersect with dominant conceptions of white masculinity.” [10]

Hatchet clearly does not embody any of this technocratic ideology, nor has any librarian I’ve ever seen in any popular culture I’ve come across to date. However, her ideas would fit right in with today’s technocratic push in librarianship, with their own inherent complexity. In fact, if the episode was to be done again today, it would not be a stretch to see Hatchet using robots to shelve the books in their own complex way, or even sitting at her desk while she ordered a robot to snatch Kim and bring her to the library in punishment for an overdue book. That may be a bit extreme, but the point is that her ideas fit within those who espouse technocratic ideas about libraries at the present. Ultimately, I enjoyed reexamining this episode and I look forward to your comments, criticisms, and anything else you’d like to leave in response to this post. Until next time!

© 2022 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.


Notes

[1] Erin Sterling, “The Case of the Clunky Classification: The Elusive Graphic Novel,” May 2010, accessed February 25, 2022; Dewey Decimal System,” ScienceDirect, accessed February 25, 2022; “Information Literacy Tutorial: Finding Books,” University of Illinois Library, University of Illinois, LibGuides, Aug. 7, 2018, accessed February 25, 2022; Melinda Buterbaugh, “Lesson Three: Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and Call Numbers,” Teach Me How To Dewey,” Hillsborough County, Florida, Dec. 13, 2017, Why I Would Use Dewey,” Technical Processes for Education Media, Oct. 29, 2011,

[2] Luc Beaudoin, Marc-Antoine Parent, and Louis C. Vroomen (1996), “Cheops: A Complex Explorer for Complex Hierarchies,” IEEE, p. 87; “MARC DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 2007-DP06,” Library of Congress, Jun. 6, 2007, .

[3] Not the same as the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) which has “been actively maintained since 1898 to catalog materials held at the Library of Congress” and said to be the “most widely adopted subject indexing language in the world.” LCSH describes contents systemically, while LCC is a library classification system. Its also different from the Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), a serially based system of numbering cataloged record.

[4] Robert McCoppin, “Who’s killing the Dewey decimal system?,” Chicago Tribune, Feb. 18, 2011, accessed February 25, 2022; Melvil Dewey and the classification of knowledge,” Science Lens, Dec. 10, 2012, accessed February 25, 2022; ; “How the index card launched the information age,” Multimediaman, Sept. 10, 2016, accessed February 25, 2022.

[5] Discounting the shushers, the most extreme include the librarian in multiple episodes of Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil, Rita Loud in a Timon & Pumbaa episode (“Library Brouhaha“), Mr. Snellson in a Mysticons episode (“Happily Never After”), Librarian in a Big City Greens episode (“Quiet Please”), Librarian in a Courage the Cowardly Dog episode (“Wrath of the Librarian”), and Bat Librarian in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode (“Mystic Library”).

[6] “Conducting research through an anti-racism lens,” University of Minnesota Libraries, University of Minnesota, Feb. 15, 2022, accessed February 25, 2022. Others have claimed that DDC can be reformed with librarians who have “deeply held values of equity, diversity, and inclusion” while others have pointed to racism within the DDC, by Dewey himself, noted Dewey was a sexual harasser and a clearly a bigot without any question. Even conservatives have pointed out that Dewey is ingrained in librarianship and there is no escaping him.

[7] Rafia Mirza and Maura Seale, “Who Killed the World?: White Masculinity and the Technocratic Library of the Future” within Topographies of Whiteness: Mapping Whiteness in Library and Information Science (ed. Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, Library Juice Press: Sacramento, CA: 2017), pp. 175-177. They also say on page 175 that in the early 20th century, librarians participated in “civilizing” and assimilating the “tired, huddled masses into American democracy” as long as those people could become White.

[8] Mirza and Seale, “Who Killed the World?”, pp. 177-181. Libraries Transform describes itself as “spreading the word about the impact libraries and librarians make every day…[and] advocat[ing] for the value of librarianship” but the about page almost reads like a corporate webpage, and not surprising as Overdrive is the lead sponsor, with other big sponsors including Capital One, Dollar General, Biblioboard, and SAGE Publishing. The same can be said about the webpage of the Center of the Future of Libraries.

[9] Ibid, 181-5.

[10] Ibid, 186-192.

Categories
action animation comedy fantasy Librarians Libraries public libraries Thai people

Examining the overworked, exhausted librarian in “We Bare Bears”

The librarian behind her reference desk at beginning of episode

As you all know, I’ve written about libraries in animation a lot on this blog, and I’ve discovered that you can’t depend on other sites to list the episodes with librarians, you just have to watch shows and stumble upon episodes with libraries. Anyway, I recently watched an episode of We Bare Bears, titled “The Library,” which features a stern librarian at the local public library, who is likely voiced by Ashly Burch, rather than Philece Sampler. I say this because when you look at the episode’s credits, Burch is listed with doing “additional voices” which I’m assuming includes her. She is of Thai descent and this librarian may be of the same. The 2010 U.S. Census [dead link] stated that only 0.3% of San Francisco’s population is Thai, but that may have increased by 2020, with the Thai community thrown into the “Other Asian” category. This uncredited librarian is not a shusher like the uncredited librarian in the show’s first episode, who shushed the protagonists because they were being too loud, but is still annoyed with them nonetheless. Even so, it is worth examining her character and how it relates to what I’ve written on this blog in the past, library stereotypes, and other topics.

The plot of this episode is simple. Grizz, Ice Bear, and Panda all go to the library, where the librarian tells them that some of the books they have checked out are overdue. Grizz complains about the almost $9.00 fine for overdue books, saying there are “perfectly good reasons” why the books are later. Panda says that a book from over their holiday shouldn’t count. Ice Bear admits he lost a book. She gets annoyed with the protagonists and their antics. She tells them “okay, stop! I’m going on break” and she…walks away, and doesn’t check out their books. They find their friend Chloe there, who is cramming for a chemistry test. In the resulting episode, there are hi-jinks, like Chloe eating too much candy and zooming across the library, causing mayhem. There are other jokes about old technology at the library. Even so, it is still  shown as a community space which people use to study.

The fact that the library is shown as a community place that all can use and has a variety of materials is nice. It is a contrast to the typical depiction of libraries are only book depositories. The same can be said about the variety of patrons using the library, who are mostly students. Putting that aside, I’d like to focus on this librarian. She appears to be a person of color, although her race is never specified. She has some characteristics of a spinster librarian, who are often uptight old women that have a conservative dress, a bun hairstyle or something else seen as “unattractive,” along with eyeglasses, being skinny and having an uptight personality. In this case, she has a hair bun and conservative dress, but this seems to be professional dress attire. It seems like she only wants to do her job and enforce the rules, specifically their fines. Even so, she becomes so frustrated with them that she walks away from the information desk. Now, we could say “no good librarian should do that.” Perhaps she can’t deal with them and has been through a lot that day, is overworked, and needs a break. It is hard to tell from just one interaction shown. So, that part is realistic.

Librarian tells protagonists to stop and that she is going on break, but doesn’t check out their books before she leaves for her break…

However, her break is very short. Later in the episode, she helps one of the protagonists, Ice Bear, and another student. She gives them the location of a chemistry book. The protagonist, ends up chasing the other patron to where the book is located, seeing which one of them will get it first, traveling on slide ladders, knocking whoever they can out of the way, making other patrons angry. I do like that she tells them a call number: QD253.2.S, which is located on the third floor of this library. In turns out this library does not use the Dewey Decimal System, but uses the Library of Congress classification system (LCCO), with that number referring to the chemistry section:

The area boxed here is where the book would be located

This has to be the first time I’ve ever heard a character in animation mention the call number of a book. So, that’s cool. This show is set in the San Francisco Bay Area. From what I can tell, it looks like the San Francisco Public Library uses both LCCO and Dewey Decimal System numbers, with the library having, before 1992, its own numbers for classifying books, not using those systems.

As the episode does on, Panda is shushed by another patron, when trying to print something in the extremely old computer, which is apparently using dial-up. He is helped by an old woman, who is either an old librarian or just an elderly patron. I really can’t tell as Panda calls her a “library lady,” not a “librarian.” The uncredited librarian gets angry after the books she sorted are knocked over, blaming a fellow patron, not knowing it was Chloe, who was too energetic and caused the stack to fall over. After all of this, for some reason, this librarian lets them sleep in the library, maybe because she saw them working so hard. We never see the librarian again in the episode, unfortunately. Now, that would be a nice story for someone to write, perhaps a fan fic, about the librarian who cared for them that night. All in all, I thought that this uncredited librarian may very well stand against existing stereotypes and be one of the more realistic librarians shown in animated series. She is very close to snapping at someone, probably because she is very stressed, but through it all she still keeps her cool. She reminds me of the blue-skinned librarian in Prisoner Zero who is the first character I’ve seen who experienced burnout after engaging in library work for many, many years.

I’d like to propose criteria for a Librarian Portrayal Test, as I’m calling it. It would be like the Vito Russo Test for LGBTQ representation, but focusing on portrayal of librarians:

  1. The animated series, anime, comic, film, or other pop culture media, has a character that is clearly a librarian, whether they work in a public library, corporate library, have a personal library, or some other circumstance where they work in a library.
  2. The character is not only, or primarily, defined by their role as a librarian.
  3. The librarian has to integral to the plot to such an extent that their removal from the story of a said episode, or episodes, would significantly impact the plot. As such, the librarian cannot just be there for laughs, be a foil, shush patrons, or otherwise fall into existing stereotypes, but should matter in and of themselves.

I would make a similar test for libraries themselves, but I’m going to try and focus more on the librarians, than the libraries themselves, even though how the libraries are shown is obviously important as well. With that, I look forward to hearing from you all.

© 2021 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.

Categories
animation Black people Comics fantasy Librarians Libraries school libraries webcomics

Wonderful library scenes in webcomics and animation

I’ve done a number of posts on here listing beautiful, stupendous, and amazing libraries. I could list more of those, but I think it would be fruitless, so I’d rather focus on some of my favorite library scenes in animation and webcomics. Here we go!

Zoophobia and reading books

A perfect entry for this post is a scene from one of my favorite webcomics, Zoophobia, by Vivienne Medrano. [1] It ran from August 2015 to March 2016 and was put on hiatus in November 2016 for an indefinite period, pending what she called a “complete reboot” in April 2017. Anyway, there is a library scene in the webcomic in the Zoo Phoenix Academy, within an interspecies sanctuary called Safe Haven, a protected escape for creatures ostracized in the human world, as it is described in the comic. Zill lovingly looks at Kayla, who later becomes his girlfriend. Libraries are not unique to the webcomic, however. In a September 2020 animated short, “Bad Luck Jack,” libraries make a reappearance. Jack is helped by his friend, Zill, who catches books before they fall on Jack’s head, which is so nice. The value of the library is communicated even in this short scene.

Look how many books are on the shelves! This library, at Zoo Phoenix Academy, is full of books, hopefully, ones that are helpful to the academy’s students. Animated Views said that Zill tries to do what he can to cheer up Jack and protect him “from the incoming accidents,” and noted that the animation is more family-friendly than Medrano’s other animations, but still has strong musical qualities. [2]

Azarath Public Library” in Teen Titans Go!

After Beast Boy foolishly destroys Raven’s spellbook, she has to go to this library to get a replacement. People are seen picking out books for other people, the librarian is stamping books to check them out, and people are sitting at computers, doing work. Just like any public library, but better! When she complains it will take forever to find a book in the library, Beast Boy asks her if she is familiar with the Dewey Decimal System. He later goes to the kids’ section and she chases after someone who takes the spellbook. Beast Boy comes to her rescue, saying he has magic powers now but has no pants, and now has a cloak. She then goes on a long journey with him to get the wizard to make her a new book after he accidentally destroys the second copy.

Raven traveling down the escalator to the library

In the end, she gets a new spellbook, thanks to Beast Boy, and gets her powers back. Unfortunately, the book wizard who made the book is still a burrito and is eaten by the patron who destroyed the second copy of the book in the library. Ha. How he is able to create a spellbook while being a burrito is beyond me.

Lydia Lovely in Horrid Henry

While most of the librarians in Western animation are scary, old White women, as I’ve noted on this blog before, with a few exceptions in series like Welcome to the Wayne (with Clara Rhone), She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (George and Lance), and Mira in one episode of Mira, Royal Detective, Lydia Lovely, is another great example of a librarian. However, even though she is a Black female librarian, it would be wrong to call her a Librarian of Color because she is voiced by Joanna Ruiz, a British voice actress, a White woman, which is deeply problematic. She is the teacher of Henry, the show’s protagonist, who goes to the library in the episode “Horrid Henry: Computer Whizz,” later posted in June 2020 in a video titled “Henry the Super Geek,” and is the librarian in this episode, as she is on “library duty”. While Henry struggles to change his grades, he tasks Ms. Lovely with getting a book for him, telling her to keep reaching further and further to get the book, causing the whole stack of books to fall down, almost crushing her! Despite all of this, she gets the book he says he needed, and he comes out of the library.

Luckily, Henry does not come out of this unscathed, but due to his score on the test (5% rather than 0%) he has to do extra homework, ha! Ms. Lovely can’t catch a break, however, because, in another episode, he literally knocks a book out of her hand, as she slides away on the slide-ladder when helping in a bookstore, where his mom works. I wish I could point to any other episodes she was a librarian in more episodes, but finding the episodes of this show to watch is tough, as the names of the “full episodes” on the official YouTube channel are different from the listing on Wikipedia and the listings on the show’s fandom site.

© 2021 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.


Notes

[1] This is related to the fear known as zoophobia or animal phobia, which Wikipedia defines as “an irrational fear or even simply dislike of any non-human animals.” In fact, Larry Cruz of CBR wrote that “as the title suggests, animals give Cameron the heebie-jeebies” adding that the citizens of Safe Haven are “very understanding and super-accommodating,” despite the fact that it “exists at some sort of pandimensional crossroads.” The webcomic list also calls Cameron a “neurotic young human guidance counselor…thrust unwittingly into a world beyond her wildest dreams (and FEARS).” She considered turning this into a webcomic in 2010, with the fandom page for the comic saying it was originally published in 2012, with a plan for over 10 books, but only one book was published before the comic was discontinued, with Medrano hinting at a reboot and retelling the story in a July 2018 Tumblr post. One writer explained that “Medrano began publishing ZooPhobia in 2012, but put the comic on pause by 2016 to focus on her Patreon page and developing Hazbin Hotel.” Medrano called the animated short “very special” to her.

[2] Later, after actor Benjamin Diskin shipped together two characters, Ruben “Rusty” and a stag named Autumn, Medrano implied that she would expand their relationship in the next animated short.

Categories
action adventure animation fantasy Fiction genres Libraries speculative fiction

Libraries in the world of Carmen Sandiego

This post will focus on libraries in the world of Carmen Sandiego, continuing my examination of libraries in popular culture to increase understanding.

There is a depiction of libraries in the two animated Carmen Sandiego shows. In the first one, there is a plot point in one of the last episodes, “I Can You Ever Go Home Again [Part 1]”, of Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? that Carmen steals books with the letter A from the Library of Congress, although they never actually show the library. In fact, from what I can remember, in none of the episodes of the show are archives or libraries ever shown, while museums or other historic sites are shown instead. [1] When re-watching the new show, Carmen Sandiego, I noticed that one of the backgrounds where Carmen (who then had the code name of Black Sheep), was studying in a library during her gap year in the VILE crime school. Like the older show, the characters never visit a library or archives, although they visit quite a few museums and other cultural heritage institutions. However, the library appears in the first two episodes of season 1, as Carmen and her friends are studying at the library and trying to decide their code names in the crime school on VILE Island. I didn’t catch that originally, but I did later when rewatching it.

I can’t say anything more because the mentions are brief, but they are enough to warrant a post, I guess you could say. Until tomorrow’s post!

© 2020 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on my History Hermann blog but has been re-edited and fixed before being posted on this blog. Enjoy!

Notes

[1] When re-watching the series in June 2022, I realized there were library scenes in the episodes “Boyhood’s End [Part 2]” and “The Labyrinth [Part 2]”. I have been incorrect in this previous assessment.