Contacts: Larra Clark
Media Relations Manager
For Immediate Release
December 7, 2004
Real-life librarians give TNT's "The Librarian" mixed reviews
(CHICAGO) Hundreds of librarians and library workers sat down with TNT's "The Librarian" on December 5 and, overall, gave Noah Wyle and the cable movie a nod of approval for showing a love of learning and the magic that can occur in a library. More than 200 library workers wrote the American Library Association (ALA) and gave the movie an average of 2.65 stars out of four for overall enjoyment and 2.65 out of four for an "image makeover" for on-screen librarians. Viewers either celebrated the campy influences of past movie and TV heroes like Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes and MacGyver or bemoaned "The Librarian" for being too derivative.
Bonnie Kunzel, past president of the Young Adult Library Services Association, captures what fans liked best: "I love the image of the 'The Librarian' as hero - standing strong against the forces of evil; using his brains and his knowledge - of the head and of the heart-to get them out of one tight squeeze after another. He's honorable and likeable and he won't stop until he solves the problem."
Among the "real" aspects of the film cited by children's librarian Melissa Henderson were: "A librarian never knows what she is going to run into on any given day, and the library is a magical place full of powerful knowledge."
And Carsen isn't alone in thinking that "being a librarian is actually a pretty cool job." According to a 2001 survey commissioned by Jones e-global library, 80 percent of librarians reported being very satisfied with their career choice. The survey also found that 84 percent of the librarians surveyed chose librarianship because they wanted to help people with questions and serve the public, followed by 78 percent that said they love to do research and 70 percent that chose librarianship to work with books.
Topping the complaints were the fact that a master's of library and information studies was not clearly among Flynn Carsen's (Noah Wyle) 22 degrees, that the library didn't have anyone inside using it and that librarians might be considered nerds and "know-it-alls," rather than knowledgeable and helpful.
"Sadly, the portrayal of libraries as hoarders of secret knowledge spoiled a great deal of the overall enjoyment for me," said Brandon Bensley of Greensboro, N.C., who gave the film one star.
Future "quests" library workers would like to see tackled included the fantastical - from Atlantis to Alexander the Great - and the practical, including censorship, fundraising and the USA PATRIOT Act.
To see complete comments from librarians and library workers, go to: http://www.ala.org/ala/pr2004/december2004/librarianreviews.htm.
To learn more about real-life library heroes and the profession, please visit the ALA at http://www.ala.org/ala/pr2004/december2004/thelibrarian.htm or visit your local school, public, college, university or special library.