Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Julie Andrews? Really ALA?

The American Library Association (ALA) has chosen Julie Andrews to be the National Library Week spokesperson this year. Now I don't personally know of anyone who loves Julie Andrews more than me. She is a graceful, beautiful, skilled actress and star of some of my all-time favorite musicals. But she is also quite traditional and appeals to perhaps an older and more conservative audience these days. Though musicals like Mary Poppins and Sound of Music are timeless treasures to people my age (31) and older, are they readily identifiable to say an African American 12-year-old in a more urban library or a 21-year-old college student? Who are we appealing to with National Library Week - librarians or our users? I think Julie Andrews is very appealing to librarians, but I am not convinced that she is the best match for reaching out to our users.

(Though for the record, I do know all the lyrics to the entire score of Sound of Music and have been known to perform "So Long, Farewell" in its entirety in my office with the Kankakee Public Library's Assistant Director)

Allison Beasley
Head of Adult Services