Integrating Pop Culture into the Academic Library

Rowman & Littlefield. Oct. 2022. 322p. ed. by Melissa Edmiston Johnson & others. ISBN 9781538159408. $125. PRO MEDIA
Editors Johnson (reference and education services, Augusta Univ.), Thomas C. Weeks (reference and instruction, Augusta Univ.), and Jennifer Putnam Davis (scholarship and data librarian, Augusta Univ.) 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.”
VERDICT 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.
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