Friday, September 21, 2007

Wyoming Gets It Right

As my faithful readers know, I've been saying for quite a while that if libraries want to be really popular, they're going to have to shed that stuffy stereotype that libraries are about books and an educated democratic citizenry and whatnot. If libraries want bums on seats, they need infoporn literacy classes, private Internet viewing booths, and strippers. I've definitely felt like a lone voice crying in the wilderness, until now that is. Finally, some libraries are starting to agree with me. They know if you want to attract a certain class of patron, you've got to get sexy, baby.

And where are these libraries? Wyoming, of all places. Now I've never been to Wyoming, but in my mind I always associate it with mountains, gay bashing, and hicks. (I shouldn't call them hicks, should I? I've heard they prefer to be called "rural people.") But this new Wyoming library campaign changes all that! That's the one with the naked "mud flap girl" reading a book. (You'll just have to click through if you haven't already seen this, because the AL is a family blog and I don't post pictures like that.) No longer do I associate Wyoming with just mountains, gay bashing, and hicks. Now I'll add sexism and stupidity into the mix as well. You go, Wyoming!

I'm just kidding about all that. I think this campaign is great. It sure fights those stereotypes, and we know how librarians hate stereotypes. Forget about the shushing spinster, or even the helpful overweight middle-aged white woman. Now truckers and farmers and rubes all over Wyoming will know that librarians are HOT! Those rubes will want to drive to the nearest library for some steamy book on book action! And you know the book that naked mud flap gal is reading is a porn novel. You can just make out the title if you squint closely. I'd tell you what it is, but I don't want to spoil it for you.

In addition to being a HOT promotional campaign, it might also be a way for librarians to get dates. When I first saw the mud flap girl, I wondered if there were a lot of single librarians in Wyoming who wanted to date rubes and creeps. Now the rubes and creeps will be flocking to the library in droves! Lots of potential dates for those lonely librarians. I realize this isn't the point of the ad campaign, but it sure is a nice perk.

So keep it up, Wyoming. And when you've attracted a whole new class of lowlifes who come to the library because they want to ogle hot librarians, you know what you have to do to keep them. Infoporn literacy and private Internet viewing booths. It looks like you've already got the stripper.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't interpret the "mud flap girl" to actually be a librarian - she is not wearing glasses nor is her hair in a bun.

At least, as a publicly funded library system, they are trying to reach potential supporters – who, in Wyoming, cannot all be scholarly or quick witted. I don't see any problem with this - I was more offended by the billboard that implies your library is just a glorified video store.

jantiorx said...

It looks like the WY State Library hired an advertising company for this campaign. I am sure the anti-tax lobby in WY (which is huge by the way; no state income taxes there!) would love to know their high property taxes partially funded this venture.

Perhaps Ariel Levy was right about female chauvinist pigs. Now, someone needs to hit the library conference circuit to gather sexy footage for Librarians Gone Wild.

I also did not think the "mud flap girl" was supposed to be a librarian. I think pandering to the working class like this is really transparent, and believe it or not, salt-of-the earth types see right through this garbage. My prediction: this campaign will flop.

the Lot Lizard said...

The campaign is hi-LAR-ious! Have you all lost your sense of humors? Did you listen to the radio spots? I hope the campaign is successful in getting more people to use library resources, go to library events and even maybe read. I've also been to Wyoming, and while it is a conservative place, it's beautiful and the folks I met were welcoming to this obvious east coaster.

Anonymous said...

I like this campaign. Also, how do you know the "mud flap girl" is really a girl, anyway? The breasts that clearly show on the original mud flap girl have been carefully edited from the figure. What if it's a drag queen or a particularly effeminate man reading the book? See where your minds are?

Another thing, I agree with Lot Lizard, where's your sense of humor or sense of irony? It's clever, if nothing else.

Concerning the taxes? Well, that's an entirely different story, but let's leave that to the citizens of Wyoming to contend with.

--Soren Faust

AL said...

I don't know if the mud flap girl is a girl, but I do know that the ad campaign website calls it the "mud flap girl." Also, what controversy there is over this should be called the Mud Flap Girl Flap, and everyone should be required to say that phrase three time fast.

Jenn said...

I'm always suprised at what gets librarians' panties in a twist. I personally think the campaign is pretty damn awesome. Sexy naked chicks on mudflaps read, too. I do like the "Mud Flap Girl Flap". Look for this to hit the Style Section in the NYTimes next. Whoohoo! Maybe it will overshadow Banned Books Week and we'll lose all sense of perspective.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought of Wyoming as the land of breathless landscapes and yada yada yada......

I think I'll have to disagree with AL on this one, the campaign is meant to get your attention and get people talking, whether about the Mud Flap Girl Flap Spat or towing the Trojan Horse with your pickup truck.

It's actually kind of funny, just as long as they can follow the ads up with some worthwhile resources I say why not?

Anonymous said...

What would Mark C. Rosenzweig do?

-SF

Anonymous said...

(ling-time reader, first-time poster)

I listened to both spots and the message I came away with was, "If you go to the library, you'll start acting weird and your friends will mock you."

The water sounds in one of the ads could also be described as the sound of WY taxpayers' money being pissed away.

3goodrats said...

I can't figure out why people insist that sexy girls are somehow sexist and bad. What is wrong with sexy girls? Especially sexy girls who read? This campaign is clever! The Mudflap Girl Flap just goes to show that many librarians need to stop taking everything so damn seriously.

Go Mudflap Girl!!

Anonymous said...

I seriously loved the "Cold Dead Hands" bookmark! Maybe my library can hire them to do our summer reading campaign.

Anonymous said...

I've worked in advertising - I think this campaign is great. It's not the usual cookie-cutter marketing BS that's taught in school. It's attention grabbing and appealing to an audience who doesn't currently use the library.

And I agree with 3goodrats: who said sexy girls can't read? Just because someone is attractive does not make them unintelligent.

Anonymous said...

I also absolutely love the "Cold Dead Hands" bookmark. I do love books as much as the NRA loves guns, so I might as well be as vehement.

But kudos to the Anonymous who wrote "If you go to the library, you'll start acting weird and your friends will mock you." That was totally the slogan when I was in high school! Of course, for me that was a library selling point...

Privateer6 said...

Speaking of Hot girls who read, did you know that the 80s super model Paulina had a PhD, in microbiology I believe, and was was working for the USDA when she was "discovered?"

I personally think the ads are hilarious. We'll see how effective they are when other states start following suit.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with sexy girls? Especially sexy girls who read?

It's just not realistic, that's all. Here's what I know: A cousin of mine was signed to Ford Modeling Agency in NYC back in the early 80's. After sever years she was burned out, not only because of the pressures associated with modeling, but also because she was tired of socializing with stupid models. She later went on to Columbia U. My point: beauty and brains is a VERY rare combo; don't kid yourself.

You all like to think you might possibly embody these characteristics of the mudflap girl, but from what I've seen at national conferences, sorry, most of you are the furthest thing from sexy. In fact, librarians have to be one of the most unattractive group of people I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

You all like to think you might possibly embody these characteristics of the mudflap girl,

I hope not, seeing as how I'm one of the few men who've tried to become a librarian. I mean working in a library isn't exactly macho but it's not that extreme.....

In fact, librarians have to be one of the most unattractive group of people I've ever seen.

That would explain the touchiness about how important librarians are and all the blogs trying to get someone's
....anyone's...attention. Also why they have to lord their MLS over the mere staff people and job candidates, meanwhile the rest of the world collectively yawns.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:03

According to your logic: beauty = stupidity and ugliness = intelligence. I suppose this means the uglier you are the smarter you are. If that's the case, then librarians being the "most unattractive" group you've ever seen must mean that librarians are the smartest group of people you've ever seen, possibly smarter than philosophers because I've seen some pretty good looking philosophers. Which is too bad, because I like to think that philosophers are probably smarter than librarians, but since as group they are not as unattractive as librarians are then it must mean that philosophers are more stupid than librarians. No?

Soren Faust

Emily Lloyd said...

http://shelfcheck.blogspot.com/2007/09/shelf-check-93.html

Anonymous said...

FYI - Woming has some of the lowest property taxes. Their sales tax is also relatively low (6%). It would be lower but the citizens voted for a penny increase to fund such things as the libraries and the united way.

Wyoming was also the first state to let women vote. How positively Redneck!

Sure the mudflap girl wasn't your cup of tea for an advetising campaign. But it got your attention didn't it?

Wyoming librarian said...

Here in Wyoming the mud flap girl is primarily targeting men who might not come in to the library. We have given stacks of them to auto parts stores as give-aways. It is just for fun really and should not be taken too seriously. We were warned not to put them up all over our library as not everyone has a sense of humor. Wyoming people are not ignorant, gay bashing, unattractive hicks. I have lived all over the U.S. and there are no friendlier and helpful people anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Your blog of "Wyoming Gets It Right" was a combination of ignorance and self-righteousness only a politician could be proud of and rejoice in.

You summarily ignored the 100% positive message incorporated into the new campaign and chose to focus on an eye-catching purposeful use of a familiar symbol, modified for general view, and focus upon it negatively. In fact, it is only on one bumper sticker and the web site. While there are three other billboards and other bumper stickers and radio ads that you decidely ignored.

Shakespeare comes to mind, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks". It is more analogous than you might think. While entrenching yourself in this affair with the world wide web you are tacitly approving the death of the traditional library. All the while, Wyoming is fighting for them.

In an effort to compete with the ever-changing world of information exchange, of which libraries [b]were[/b] the centerpiece, an intellectual and fresh new idea is being put forth to draw in people. It is becoming difficult for libraries to compete with TV and the Internet in large cities with high population densities; let alone cities with libraries in Wyoming that have to draw people in from up to 100 miles away.

You also managed to insult nearly half of a million people with your ignorance. While hard working and smart working Wyomingites are busy providing for their families just like people in every other State; they must put up with self-annointed Know-it-alls like yourself spewing negative connotations of gay-bashing hicks.

And you thought you were annoyed.

Proud Son of Wyoming.

AL said...

Not that I have a case against Wyoming, but if I did, then you considering the mudflap girl an "intellectual and fresh idea" would be making my case for me. Which is the intellectual part?

Oh, and thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

The intellectual part is the other 99% of the campaign that you fail to mention. The ability to tie Wyoming to history and using contemporary jingoism to tie back to the libraries and the offerings within.

You may not have case against Wyoming; however, you have many incorrect preconcieved notions of its citizenry otherwise known as "rubes" and "creeps".

As a self-proclaimed alternative you of all should be praising such an ad campaign to attract new people to the library.

Or do you really like the same old people and students? See, other people can try and be ignorant too.

Why must you continue to focus on one part of the campaign? I bet the silhouette will work better than the free bookmark campaigns.

Also, Cheyenne, Wyoming just built a brand new library for eight dollar figures left of a decimal. It would nice to be able to attract all people, including the rubes and creeps, so that everyone may enrich their lives via the vast volumes of information contained in a library and justify such expenses of the public money. Or would you prefer that money go to subsidize people to eat themselves to death or some other entitlement program that just gives the fish rather than teaching how to fish?

Remember that all people must start somewhere, unlike your experience of being born a genius, we learned how to be positive seekers of knowledge and wisdom throughout our lifetimes. If it takes a little coercion to lead people into the doors of a library, is it still bad because an innocuous silhouette led them there?

Proud Son of Wyoming

AL said...

I guess I should have written about how "intellectual" that "cold dead fingers" bumper sticker is, or the "intellectual" way that "trojan horse" billboard makes the library seem like a publicly subsidized video store. "Proud son," indeed. Save your boosterism for the local Rotarians.

Anonymous said...

She don't look naked to me. A little anorectic, maybe.

--- East Coast Liberrian

Anonymous said...

What? Strippers don't read?

backwoods Wyoming creep in Alaskan library said...

I don't think libraries have ever had a hard time luring "creeps" or "rubes" as AL suggests. I don't feel like that is what Wyomingites will perceive it as trying to do. I might be a bit bias being a Wyoming native and graduate of the University of Wyoming. We've all seen our fair share of advertising that makes us cringe or groan, for example the "B4UDIE" Alaska tourism campaign. Living now in Alaska I saw this campaign and thought it was morbid. but what I was missing was that it was not focused towards me. I already am in Alaska. So how are we, non Wyoming residents and library regulars, to judge how it is received by those it is focused towards? I haven't lived in Wyoming for over ten years but when I saw the Wyoming Libraries campaign I thought that at least they are doing something to get the conversation about libraries going. That's 100% better than most of our efforts.

Anonymous said...

Wow, fighting against sterotyping, yet you say that everyone from Wyoming are hicks and gay bashers? Nice.
By the way, I am from Wyoming, am not homophobic, am a femminist, and am not a "hick."
Lighten up, already.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - I think your comments go a long way in criticism of dispelling stereotypes of women - Oh woops, did you say hicks and gaybashers?

As a true Wyomingite, it doesn't bother me one bit that you don't like the fun, effective campaign - your disdain will surely keep you from ever visiting this wonderful state. Did it ever occur to you that the hick, rural people 500,000 strong of this state actually PREFER it that way?

Anonymous said...

The only reason I found THIS site is because I was looking for a sticker of said girl for my wife. This library in Wyoming is not the first to use this image. When I first saw I understood it to mean smart girls are sexy. My wife is a smart girl and she is sexy. Stop wasting your efforts on this and do something that matters. Go down to the GAP and see some of the offensive T-shirts aimed at young people, watch MTV for 3 seconds or better yet listen to a group of teens talk to each other.

Anonymous said...

I live in Cheyenne and our new Library is amazing. Check out what the new building offers: http://www.lclsonline.org/building/

What difference what the image is of as long as it brings in more people to the library.

Anonymous said...

Wyoming does not have the market cornered on gay bashers nor is the populous of "hicks" in Wyoming any more predominant than any other state. Both archetypes are ubiquitous in all societies. Living in an urban environment does not ensure intellectual enlightenment or sophistication, just as living in a rural area does not predispose an individual to be ignorant and less worldly. I will give you credit for being honest in proclaiming your outright ignorance as to the unique culture that exists in Wyoming but it is despicable that you would be so arrogant as to generalize all Wyomingites based on your admitted ignorance. It proves you lack the sophistication that you claim the state's populace lacks.

Maybe you should read fewer books and get out more so that you can experience and appreciate cultures different from your own. Books alone cannot educate and enlighten.

Graciously,
One of the many former and current residents of Wyoming who are well educated, well traveled and free of arrogant proclamations of elitism based on a false sense of importance.

AL said...

Maybe you should comment on a post that isn't a year old.

Anonymous said...

Nice comeback. Once again a fine display of maturity and sophistication. Nicely done Al, your parents must be extremely proud of the child you remain.

Anonymous said...

i know this is now years old, but i just discovered this image (sans "wyoming libraries") on a car and want it on a t-shirt!!! i LOVE it!! but it seems odd that neither the blogger nor the respondents seem to care that this sticker was given out in VERY limited quantities to market their chilton's databases. the stickers were sent to auto repair stores... i dunno... i think it's brilliant. (but, you know... i'm a library director who actually wants to WEAR A T-SHIRT w/ that logo... so i'm prolly in the wrong spot here! ;)