Hey, does anybody remember “Library Takeout”?
What are we saying, of course you do. That funkalicious earworm is probably still bopping around inside your head right now.
With its playful animation, catchy chorus, and infectious beat, the short music video takes a simple set of step-by-step instructions for using a library service during the pandemic and transforms them into something unexpectedly funky, danceable, and fun. It was composed, animated, and produced last summer by a staff member in our Music Library (and Duke alum!), Jamie Keesecker.
Soon after it was released, the video became a viral hit both on campus and off, racking up over 890,000 views on YouTube and more than a thousand appreciative comments. There have been articles written about it (such as this one, this one, and this one), drum jam fan tributes, and the music streaming service Spotify even tweeted about it, calling it “the greatest library-focused track ever made.” (Speaking of Spotify, you can also find the song there, where it has been played almost 300,000 times.)
Now the video has earned another distinction—the admiration of our library peers!
Last week, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) announced that “Library Takeout” had won their annual ARL Film Festival (the Arlies), carrying home the trophy in three different categories: How-To/Instructional Films, Best Humor, and (drumroll please) Best of Show.
Every year, the Arlies festival highlights and shares multimedia projects developed by member institutions to increase knowledge and use of libraries, their spaces, services, collections, and expertise. The films are voted on by ARL member institutions, which include the 124 largest research libraries throughout the U.S. and Canada.
We are honored by the recognition, and absolutely delighted for our colleague Jamie, who deserves all the credit for bringing Duke’s unofficial pandemic anthem into the world.
Thanks to the video’s popularity, relatively few people at Duke can say they don’t know how to check out books from the library right now. As a matter of fact, many fans of the video who have no connection to Duke whatsoever could easily tell you the steps. As one YouTube commenter noted, “How am I going to explain that my favorite song is an instructional video for a library I’ve never been to, at a school I’ve never attended?!”
We may never be able to replicate the success of “Library Takeout.” In fact, we’re positive we won’t. (All those people who subscribed to our YouTube Channel are going to be pretty disappointed by our usual fare of instructional videos and event recordings.) But we feel lucky to have hit on something that clicked with our users and supporters, at a time when they (and we) really needed it.
So go ahead, give it another listen (or five). It’s precisely what you need.