UW libraries go Gaga


Performers sing in part of Lady Gaga library parady vieo.

People everywhere are reacting to the Lady Gaga library parody video made by Sarah Wachter, graduate student at the UW Information School — even celebrity-gossip columnist Perez Hilton.

Since it was released during Memorial Day weekend, the video has gotten more than 280,000 hits on YouTube, and Perez Hilton called it “positively … awkward!!!” on his blog.

Wachter created the music video parodying Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface” for the iSchool’s first iSight Film Festival this past Thursday at the Allen Auditorium.

Andrea Gough, an admin for the Facebook event and a graduate student at the iSchool, said the film festival drew about 40 people, mostly graduate students from the iSchool.

There were seven entries in the contest, and Wachter’s film was awarded the Spirit Award — the best embodiment of iSchool spirit — and the Audience Favorite Award. For this, she won six tickets to the Seattle International Film Festival and a Flip Video Camcorder.

Her audience since then has increased to thousands, and she says it has connected her with people in the field of librarianship and made her network a lot bigger. She said she had no idea the video would become so popular on YouTube or with the non-librarian community.

Library- and information-science graduate student Laura Mielenhausen sings most of the song’s lyrics.

“You got a question that is causing you some pain, Typin’ keywords into the search engine again. Look, your naive searching just ain’t gonna get it done, ’Cause when it comes to search, if it’s not tough it isn’t fun,” she sings.

Aside from the assistance of Mielenhausen’s voice, Wachter came up with the idea and did all the filming and editing.

“It took about two weeks total, and I probably spent about 16 hours editing, which was the hardest part,” Wachter said.

Receiving no class credit or fulfilling any graduation requirements, the video was simply for fun. She shot and produced the video on her own time.

“With a little caffeine, I believe you can do pretty much anything you want to,” she said.

As for how she convinced faculty to be in the video: She just asked.

“It was a process of going up to different library staff and faculty and iSchool students, asking them to be in my video and spending about 20 minutes with them, allowing them to go over their lines, and then filming,” Wachter said.

She produced the video at a time when libraries are busier than ever. With the global recession, she says more and more people come to libraries for the free services they provide, while at the same time cities and counties are cutting budgets and potentially limiting what libraries have to offer the public. In addition, libraries are responding to the digital revolution, and librarians are becoming much more diverse in their skills with the Web and sharing information.

Wachter foresees a lot more integration of technology in libraries, but she doesn’t see books leaving anytime soon, because “physical paper media still has a lot of value,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about its battery life.”

Reach contributing writer Katherine Erickson at development@


See the video online by searching “Librarians Do Gaga” on YouTube.

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