lady librarians from desk setDid you know that Katherine Hepburn and Spenser Tracey were in a Librarian movie together? Did you even know there were librarian movies? It’s called Desk Set, and we’re about halfway through watching it.

Desk Set somewhat unintentionally gives an interesting window into professional life for women in the late 1950′s. Apparently it involved lots of sexual harassment, patronization, and powerlessness. Oh, and trivia questions. Which is pretty cool.

We spend about ten minutes listening to Katherine Hepburn show off her black belt in historical and literary fact before her boyfriend (also her boss) lovingly tells her how stupid she is. In spite of the anachronisms, Hepburn’s character exudes competence, and it’s wonderful to watch a woman on film being unabashedly smart.

Like most pre-1980′s movies, it’s long and kind of slow. We got a bit bored, and will probably finish it later tonight. I’m looking forward to seeing the IBM “electronic brain” that is supposed to replace the reference department. I suspect it will involve lots of reel-to-reel tapes, blinking lights, and miraculous natural language processors.

Stay tuned.