Going for the Jugular: Programming and Vampires
Jennifer Dominiak | January 15, 2010
Vampires are sweeping the pop culture landscape, but this trend is nothing new. According to faculty panelists at a recent Dominican University presentation, “Fangs a Lot: The Vampire in Myth, Movies, and Popular Culture,” the vampire myth has been around for ages and is prevalent in many cultures.
Janice Del Negro, assistant professor in Dominican’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, discussed the history of the paranormal romance novel and the evolving role of the vampire myth’s female heroine; Carlissa Hughes, associate professor of psychology, discussed the psychological underpinnings of vampire mania; and Father Richard Woods, professor of theology, discussed the theological significance of vampirism.
The panel presentation provided a timely opportunity to reflect on this trend in today’s popular books, movies, and television and to discuss such themes as love, morality, immortality, alienation, and redemption. Father Richard Woods highlighted the fact that religious symbols, once an important part of the vampire story, are now absent from the myth. Today’s secular form of vampirism reflects the changing attitudes of our society. Father Woods asked the audience, “What have we lost and gained from this shift from the sacred to the secular?”
If your library is interested in exploring the vampire trend, check out the bibliography and list of films and television series provided by panel presenters Janice Del Negro and Father Richard Woods.
Many libraries have already created thought-provoking and fun vampire-inspired programs. The New Milford Public Library in Connecticut offered the historical program, “Vampires in New England,” presented by a local state archaeologist and university professor.
The Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia recently hosted “Dracula Festival,” a month-long series of events inspired by Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel.
And the West Allis Public Library in Wisconsin hosted a “Twilight Prom” to celebrate the release of the latest Twilight movie. The prom featured a costume contest, Twilight Trivia, music from the movie soundtrack, and a raffle with movie prizes.
Has your library planned a successful vampire or other paranormal creature program? Please share your ideas in the comment below!
Jennifer Dominiak is Program Officer for Exhibitions for the ALA Public Programs Office.