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Can ice cream save libraries?

August 5, 2009


A New Jersey librarian thinks so. Hoping to draw attention to libraries “in a time when everything seems to be moving online,” Andy Woodworth, a librarian in Burlington County, N.J., launched a Facebook campaign last week to persuade Ben & Jerry’s to create a new flavor.

Let’s leave aside the stupendous irony that Woodworth turned to a social networking website to save libraries from the Internet, and move straight to the much more fun and sexy ice cream parts of the story.

No. 1: Thousands of people logged on to Woodworth’s People for a Library-themed Ben & Jerry’s Flavor! page on Facebook to suggest names for the new flavor; No. 2: concocting literary names for ice cream is way fun; No. 3: Ben & Jerry’s took notice.

Woodworth’s logic: Libraries are awesome, Ben & Jerry’s is tasty. Therefore, a library-themed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream “would be tasty awesome!”

Among the suggestions still pouring in: Gooey Decimal System (dark fudge alphabet letters with caramel swirls in hazelnut ice cream); Li-Berry Pie (lime sherbet mixed with raspberry sauce and pie crust crumbles (cinnamon sugar, butter, pie crust); Marian the Librarian Raspberryan (raspberry and chocolate with chunks of fudge).

(Is it mean to point out that most of the library boosters on Woodworth’s page don’t seem to know how to spell “raspberry,” leaving out the “p”?)

Some other ideas include Life of Pi-neapple; The Best of Limes, the Worst of Limes; War & Reece’s Pieces; I Know This Much is Trutti-Fruitti; The Orient Espresso; and Harry Potter and the Camembert of Secrets.

Ben & Jerry’s has long accepted naming and flavor suggestions from fans and even has a web page set aside for that purpose. Last year the company debuted Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road (chocolate ice-cream with peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle and white chocolate chunks) in honor of Elton John.

“From Cherry Garcia to Bohemian Raspberry, some of our best-loved flavours have been fan suggestions,” Arnold Carbonne, the company’s “flavor guru,” told the Guardian newspaper. “We’ve honored rock’n’roll icons, so why not librarians?”

Apparently unable to resist the punning urge, Carbonne suggested Malt Whitman (malt ice-cream, with chocolate alphabet letters and two decadent rivulets – one caramel and one fudge).

No word on when a new literary flavor might appear, so suggestions are still welcome. What bookish taste would you like in your ice cream?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Thomas permalink
    August 5, 2009 12:18 pm

    Shhh!trawberry, Late fine fudge and lost book berry, Ian Flemings double O 7 ice cream heaven (an exciting tour of flavors from exotic locales, pass on the from russia with calories) Kafka’s metamorphosis (flavor changing ice cream, anyone?) Mark Twain Brain Freeze, not sure how this will get folks into libraries. Quite a few of my books have ice cream splotches on them from the mixing of the two passions, so I do see the connection. Here’s to a head full of literature and a mouthful of ice cream.

  2. rachel permalink
    August 5, 2009 3:58 pm

    Personally I like the one you mentioned above: Gooey Decimal System (dark fudge alphabet letters with caramel swirls in hazelnut ice cream). Not only is it a fun name but it also sounds delicious. (And most of Ben & Jerry’s flavors I find to be cleverly named but not as delicious as they should be, why is it always chocolate ice cream? Half Baked would be so much better if it was vanilla instead of chocolate ice cream – the chocolate is just overload). I found it quite amusing that they made an ice cream flavor for Stephen Colbert and while I’m not quite convinced that an ice cream flavor connected with libraries will actually get people in them, it is an interesting and fun idea and stimulates talk about libraries (even if the focus is on ice cream).

    It is mean to point out that most people on Woodworth’s page leave out the “p” in raspberry, but it is also highly amusing. Sometimes amusing needs its friend mean.

  3. Thomas permalink
    August 5, 2009 10:41 pm

    If libraries need saving ( a much bigger question) I fear I may play a part in why they do. Too often when I think of a book I would like to read, I look it up on the library’s online catalouge then reserve the title which means when I arrive at the library I need go no further than the circulation desk. How long has it been since I aimlessly wandered the aisle’s waiting for some book, no THE book the universe wants me to read catches me? Ice cream, by any other name is still ice cream and can not save libraries. This conversation started by a librarian in Jersey and extending to this avid reader typing with his thumbs in Fort Lauderdale, just might. The use of the internet and facebook highlight Woodworth’s concern for a system he has judged as wanting, a determination to make a change, a willingness to use any tool at his disposal and I for one applaud him. Where else can you find so many people who cannot spell rasberry? I want to read more, they need to read more. Thanks for posing the question in the title to the blog, without it who knows when I may have remembered that haunting libraries is one of my favorite pastimes and how much I miss it.

  4. August 6, 2009 11:00 am

    Librarian Fudge Ripple, Watch out for the ice cream eater in Ft. Lauderdale. I here he likes ice cream and libraries. May be sell a little at the library. Specially if it will save them.

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