Mad Men and Englishmen

Julian Fellowes has a lot to answer for.  Why did he introduce us to the infuriatingly indecisive Lady Mary and Matthew and convince us of Sir Richard’s capacity for revenge–let alone raise the question of who dispatched the evil Mrs. Bates–if he didn’t intend to provide a new episode of Downton Abbey every single Sunday into perpetuity?

Following last Sunday’s courtroom suspense and faux snowflake-enhanced marriage proposal, to what can we now look forward until DA3?  The answer:  MM5.

Mad Men, that is.  You still have time to watch or re-view Seasons 1-4 (available from the library) before March 25.  You should know why Pete and Peggy still exchange meaningful glances and how Don’s shoebox full of photos and locked drawer of documents shed light on his brilliantly erratic behavior.   

Also, don’t overlook the historical content, whether you’re already a Downton or Mad Men addict or a potential buyer-in.  If you’re not comfortable admitting to investment in the characters and the soap-opera storylines, you can legitimately claim appreciation for portrayals of America in the 60s and England during the trials that would forever alter its expectations and its role in the world. 

With Mad Men, however, I’m also hoping for practical advice.  Even more than the campy sets and costumes, the brainstorming sessions for ad campaigns fascinate me.   Perhaps a Season Five discussion will offer the solution to the library’s current advertising dilemma: the Database Snooze.

Here’s what we’d tell Don and Peggy: Round Rock Public Library offers cardholders free access to dozens of databases, most of them available from home.  And they’re amazing!  With Masterfile or Academic Search Complete, for example, you can find articles for your research paper or other pursuits–on a huge range of topics!   With Heritage Quest, family history researchers can search thousands of genealogical sources–24/7!  in the comfort of their own homes!

And that’s just a sample! we’d enthuse; Reference USA allows you to customize searches: all the businesses of a certain type in a specified area–city, county, zip code, etc., and even get competitor listings!  And there are children’s databases, literature, hobbies and crafts!!!

At this point, our Mad Men friends might recommend that we switch to decaf and/or ask us to clarify the problem, which obviously is not product quality.

Declining the offered cigarette, we’d explain:  It’s the name.  No matter how relevant we know the products to be or how fervently we promote them, we see patrons’ eyes begin to glaze over when they hear “database”.   “Digital resources”, “e-learning”, “electronic research”–not exciting, either.

Will Season Five inspire a new brand for our wide array of fabulous online resources?  Will we be the first library to invent a term that does justice to these wonderful tools?  Stay tuned, or sample some of this great stuff yourself.  Databases (there, I said it) will be there for you even when your favorite series goes on hiatus.

Leave a Reply