The Second Annual Savvies

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Welcome to the 2014 InfoSavvy Movie Awards, my yearly salute to information use in film.  The credits for each film come from the Internet Movie Database.  Without further ado the Savvies go to:

For Overall Film

Educating Rita (1983): Dir. Lewis Gilbert; Written by Willy Russell; Starring Michael Caine, Julie Walters, Michael Williams.

Information exists in context.   Two information worlds collide when working-class Rita enters the university.   Rita is a fictional first-generation student.  Still,  librarians are looking at the research support needs of real first-generation students  (Pickard & Logan, 2013).

The prize winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005): Dir. Jane Anderson; Written by Terry Ryan (book) & Jane Anderson (screenplay); Starring Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern.

This film tells the story of Evelyn Ryan, a real-life housewife who kept her struggling family together by winning jingle contests.  ACRL (2000) Standard 4 describes using information “effectively to accomplish a specific purpose” (p. 12).  Evelyn effectively used her knowledge of contest rules, norms, sponsors, and products.  With ten children to feed she had a very real purpose.

School of rock (2003): Dir. Richard Linklater; Written by Mike White; Starring Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack.

Desparate for a job, a rock musician finagles his way into a substitute teaching gig.  He and his students enter a Battle of the Bands.  Peterson (2010) ties the movie to multiple ACRL standards, especially in the scenes concerning the band’s formation (p. 68).  Since the lead character used information deceptively, the movie also raises an ethical question: how do we reward resourcefulness without condoning dishonesty?

For Noteworthy Scene

The librarian: Quest for the spear (2004): Dir. Peter Winther; Written by David N. Titcher; Starring Noah Wyle, Sonya Walger, Bob Newhart.

Yes, at some point I had to include a movie featuring a librarian!  Early in the movie the hero interviews for the job as the Librarian.  He gets the job when he remembers his mother’s words about the importance of feelings.  Information literacy has that affective element (Ward, 2006).

As I close the Savvies for this year, I’m already thinking of films for next year.  In the meantime grab your favorite snacks and enjoy your favorite information movies.  Stay tuned for  further posts as well.


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Chicago, IL: Author.

Peterson, N. (2010). It came from Hollywood: Using popular media to enhance information literacy instruction.  College & Research Libraries News, 71(2), 66-74.

Pickard, E., & Logan, F. (2013). The research process and the library: First-generation college seniors vs. freshmen. College & Research Libraries, 74(4), 399-415.

Ward, D. (2006). Revisioning information literacy for lifelong meaning. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(4), 396-402. doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2006.03.006