Is Richard Armitage at your public library?

Before anything else: Karen, I finally got my hands on a copy of The Artist’s Way today. I think this book is going to be great; I had tears in my eyes while skimming parts of it. Many thanks.


An early twentieth c. picture of the public library. It still basically looked like this when I started going to it in the 1970s, though a third floor in the same architectural style had been added.

Servetus’s level of book consumption is a bit frightening. Let’s just say: I know the single-visit loan limit at every library I’ve ever used because I hit it at every library I’ve ever used. I don’t think more than ten days has gone by since I was sixteen that I wasn’t at a library, unless I was on a vacation longer than ten days, in which case I went to the library beforehand, prophylactically.

In preparation for the long holiday weekend I found myself today at the public library “in town.” (I grew up in a rural area outside a small city, and this is the “city” library. Though after the last decade, the town is growing to meet the rural area, but even the city doesn’t seem very urban to me.) I’ve been going to this library off and on since I was four, and I’ve always loved it, back when it was downtown in this neo-classical building from the 1900s, and then in the 1980s when it got a new building slightly outside of downtown, where it still is. I remember the smell of the building and the feel of the paper of the books on my fingers. I remember when it was one of the only air-conditioned buildings in town and we went there twice a week in August to beat the heat. It was a reference librarian there who showed me how to read a plat and how it could be the first step to finding out who had owned a property at a certain date. (I was fourteen.)

The public library as it looks today. Yeah, before the 1980s everything “in town” was black and white, and then we discovered color. Interestingly, this was one of the first public buildings in the county to be heated with passive solar heating for most of the year.

Anyway, I could go on and on, but it’s been five years since I spent more than a week or two at home and so I haven’t been in this library for quite a while. It’s changed a lot; it has a manga section, for example, and in looking at the jobs advertised there, I discovered that if you want to work at the managerial level in the library you must have mastered basic Hmong and speak Spanish fluently. One of the biggest changes is its huge DVD section. You can take out up to twenty-five at a time! So Servetus found herself browsing and ran across seasons 2, 3, and 5 of MI-5 [Spooks]. This discovery immediately sent her to the electronic catalog to search.

Search: “Richard Armitage”

Robin Hood, series 1. 3 copies. All checked out, each copy with two to five holds.

Robin Hood, series 2. 3 copies. All checked out, at least two holds on each copy.

Robin Hood, series 3.  2 copies. Both checked out, seven total holds.

MI-5 [Spooks] 7: checked out, no holds.

MI-5 [Spooks] 8: checked out, three holds.

The Elizabeth Gaskell Collection: two copies. Both checked out, nine total holds.

The Impressionists: available, in stack. — The only thing he was in that was in the library collection that could have been checked out today.

North & South: two copies, five holds total.

That’s just if you are looking for productions in which he is specifically indexed by name. If I searched under production names and for the specific episodes in which he appeared, I found the following:

George Gently: 1 copy. Checked out. Two holds.

Malice Aforethought: 1 copy. Checked out. One hold.

Vicar of Dibley (“Wholly Holy Happy Ending”): 1 copy. Checked out. Three holds.

Miss Marple: 1 copy. Checked out. Eight holds.

Inspector Lynley Mysteries: 1 copy. Checked out. Four holds.

Richard Armitage as self-conscious shill for the Spooks 9 DVD edition. Source:

I think this is pretty good. In my opinion, the only thing that is conspicuously missing is Strike Back, which is only available in the U.S. in blu-ray, and perhaps ShakespeaRE-told and Macbeth. Many of his productions have never been available in Region 1 DVD format, a problem that has driven many of us to purchase region-free DVD players or slither around the darker corridors of the Internet.

Even more impressive, I think, than my local library’s collection of Richard Armitage’s productions, is the high level of usage they appear to be receiving. Look at all those holds. This is a very busy library (they estimate they answer one reference question for every minute they are open), but even so, many, many DVDs on those shelves probably go untouched.

About this data, “I have three thoughts,” as my dad would say.

1. When The Hobbit comes out, he won’t be a total unknown. There are going to be groups of people who are not fans already but who recognize Mr. Armitage. They may not have the name on their lips, but they are going to be thinking, “hey, it’s that guy.” So the ground is really well prepared for a surge in name recognition, I think.

2. Are you a public library user? Are Mr. Armitage’s works in your public library system? If not, is this the time to make sure they get there, so that when the wave hits, people will be able to find them easily and quickly? You could think of it as a public service, helping prepare the treatment for Armitagemania and make sure it’s available in sufficient quantities when it hits. Discovering that none of his audiobooks were in the collection led me to fill out three acquisition request forms for the Naxos / Heyer audiobooks.

3. I shouldn’t have been so worried about finding friends, or should I say, fellow-sufferers, here.

Northeastern Wisconsin loves you, Mr. Armitage!

~ by Servetus on July 2, 2011.

35 Responses to “Is Richard Armitage at your public library?”

  1. Hooray for libraries! Libraries and bookstores, two of my favorite places to hang out.

    We didn’t have access to the city library when I was growing up, so my parents created a library in our home. And we borrowed many books from our school libraries. We now have a city-county library here and of course, I have a card. And since my former editor is now library director, I may have to drop a few hints to enlarge the DVD collection . . . after all, he saw “that guy” many, many times as the background on my iMac and laptop!! 😀


  2. Yes, yes he is. I talked our city (Population:200) librarian into ordering N&S last summer. She watched it and was wildly enthusiastic! I’ll have to ask her how many times it’s been checked out since. Certainly not by me as I have my own copy…and a backup copy. Don’t know about anything else. I’ll add that to my list of Things to Check on at the Library!


  3. I forgot to add that if the library has it and it’s on the shelf, that people should take it and put it in whatever display the library has out that week — to make sure people see it 🙂


  4. Hurray on all counts!

    Working through The Artist’s Way is really helping me. Sometimes, I do “do-overs” of weeks where I felt particularly stuck. It really makes recurring patterns of emotional issues and how I act on them or act them out astonishingly clear. It was Week 6 before I stopped self-censoring Morning Pages and notebook, even though they’re totally private, which I consider a milestone. My intention is to continue using the book for the rest of my life!

    Our library is pretty well stocked with Armitage-related DVDs, though now Other Half and I are hooked on ‘Spooks’, some inconsiderate devil’s got series 5 on hold..


    • I am going to start morning pages tomorrow afternoon, and then continue in the mornings after that. (Tomorrow is going to be a strange day.) I’m really excited, and a lot of the things she says in the chapters on security, identity, and workaholism completely apply to me.


      • My days are bookended by Morning Pages and a Gratitude List (I’ve set a minimum of 5 items, no matter how “silly”); I feel really weird if I don’t do them now.

        The first couple of weeks of Morning Pages was tough – I kept trying to wriggle out of it. Experience now says that doing them sets me up for the day, and that doing the tasks does actually shift the mental furniture around. Expect some push-back from your body-mind – lethargy, unpleasant emotions coming up, apparently compelling reasons for just dropping it for a day… and cut yourself some slack when you find yourself in that place. It gets way better.

        In the past 2 weeks, I have bought myself: An artist’s spiral bound sketching pad (because now I need to drawn and squiggle as well as keep notes), watercolour pens and pencils, a frisbee, a super-soaker type water gun, and a kite. These are not crazy expenditures, and yet I have stopped myself buying and using them for YEARS. Today, I am off to the park with my kite, my notebook and pencils, and a fantasy novel. So there.


        • I appreciate a lot her emphasis on creativity as spirituality. Right now the morning pages seem to be just pure purge, but I’ve got a lot to vomit at the moment. The way she talks about being blocked was also so convincing to me, and the section on negative messages … ach, I could go on and on. This really has nothing to do with Richard Armitage, though.

          Hope you enjoy your time in the park!


          • There was a display of arts and crafts by members of a local Quaker Meeting last month. In just one small meeting, they have 4 published, and enough textiles, pottery, watercolour and oil paintings to fill the place. Every one of the artists have been published or exhibited before. They talked about the creative spark being their experience of “that of God in everyone”, and their art as a spiritual practice. It really resonated with me, and gave a whole new dimension to the way I was reading the book – it wasn’t pure theory any more, I’d seen it in physical form.

            So, so glad that it’s striking chords with you 🙂


  5. Perdón de nuevo por las molestias que pueda causar el hecho de que escriba en castellano, aunque, tal vez, para aquellos a quienes interese practicar el idioma no sea, precisamente, una molestia, pero ya he comentado que mi inglés no es muy bueno.
    La verdad es que no he podido evitar entrometerme cuando he visto que hablabais sobre las bibliotecas públicas, porque yo soy una adicta absoluta a ellas.
    Bien, teniendo en cuenta que Richard Armitage es inglés, es obvio que en la biblioteca de la ciudad en la que vivo no tenemos sus audiolibros, ni todos sus trabajos para cine y televisión, pero tenemos Norte y Sur en la sección de series en DVD.
    Y, bueno, como me he erigido en abanderada de la cultura de mi país (así, con todo mi descaro) me voy a permitir dejaros “otro” poema en castellano, esta vez de un poeta vivo: Luis Alberto de Cuenca. El poema se llama “El desayuno” y probablemente sea la mejor definición de lo que yo haría con mrs. Armitage, si tuviese la suerte de desayunar con él en alguna ocasión.

    EL DESAYUNO (Luis Alberto de Cuenca)

    Me gustas cuando dices tonterías,
    cuando metes la pata, cuando mientes,
    cuando te vas de compras con tu madre
    y llego tarde al cine por tu culpa.
    Me gustas más cuando es mi cumpleaños
    y me cubres de besos y de tartas,
    o cuando eres feliz y se te nota,
    o cuando eres genial con una frase
    que lo resume todo, o cuando ríes
    (tu risa es una ducha en el infierno),
    o cuando me perdonas un olvido.
    Pero aún me gustas más, tanto que casi
    no puedo resistir lo que me gustas,
    cuando, llena de vida, te despiertas
    y lo primero que haces es decirme:
    «Tengo un hambre feroz esta mañana.
    Voy a empezar contigo el desayuno».


    • Gracias por el poema Violeta. Desayunar con RA seria de verdad un sueño.

      I haven’t been to my local libraries in a while, and now feel I must go and see if they have or what they have of Armitage. I tend to think no one knows him really around here, I mentioned him to a friend last week and she gave me a blank look. But maybe there are RA fans all around me! Happy thought.


      • After I wrote this I was thinking I could put a little post it in the DVD cases — if you are a fan of Richard Armitage, call me at … 🙂


    • Gracias por el poema, voy a traducirlo en el futuro — es muy lindo, y yo quisiera desayunar con Sr. Armitage también!


  6. For such a small library, they have a lot of dvd´s with RA. It´s because of the acquisition request forms! My local library only has The Impressionists and offers not of these forms. No luck in the near future, the library has to downsize in costs.


  7. Ours is St. Kilda Library….This is where I got hold of N&S after I’ve seen Mothers & Daughters of E. Gaskell. Forgot now how many times I borrowed the DVD (now I have a copy of my own) but their collection is not complete of his earlier works. They’ve got the VoD which I borrowed too, so as RHS1,2,&3 and I Spooks S7 only. I’ve made a few request for his earlier works but they are not available from their supplier, hence I ordered thru Amazon UK.


    • I think stuff that gets shown on PBS tends to get bought. Public librarians tend to like PBS, and that’s the sort of stuff that people talk about with each other at dinner parties, etc. VoD is a good example.


  8. Just had a thought…I get groceries and bank at a town 40 miles away. Once I had a library card for their local library. And I also shop a couple of towns 60 miles away. They need pestering about something surely. Might as well be N&S, etc.?!

    So, my mission next week is to either call them or stop by and personally harrass them. Report to follow. 🙂

    I feel led to do this as I don’t Twitter, Tweet, chirp or TweetDeck…or any of that stuff. THIS I understand and can do.


    • That would be a neat thing to do, NB!

      You know the Pope tweeted for the first time today, don’t you?


      • oh sheesh. The Pope caved?!! Well don’t hold your breath….just sayin’.


        • He does have slightly more to say to the world than you do. I was actually glad. The main characteristic of the Vatican media presence in the last decade has been its cluelessness 🙂


  9. I enjoyed reading your library post because I work at a library. Twenty-five DVDs at a time! Wow! My library only allows 5 at a time. I’m glad your library has so many RA movies. Keep in mind that if this library is part of a system of libraries (city-wide/county-wide), then the number of holds showing up in the computer likely includes the number of holds from all the other branches and their own copies of the DVDs.


    • If I understand the display correctly, I was looking at copies owned by our library but system wide holds. The city only has one library, but it does trade items with the county.


  10. OMG that is AMAZING!! BIG applause!!
    I’m curious about the demographic? Can’t be because of Richard Armitage but more about interest for British content.
    I’ll have to do another search again!! I know Shakespear REtold was in the Philadelphia library system. Requesting items from outside the county needs to be done by filling out a paper request at a library & it involves the cost of shipping for the library. Although I have access to the PA catalog online it’s not as easy to request from my county.
    I forgot to add yesterday on twitter that my library system also has the Impressionist apart from Robin Hood and North & South (2 copies; single edition & part of the Gaskell collection) My system is a suburban library outside of Philadelphia which gives me access electronically to 28 libraries in my county. I did request a Robin Hood audiobook from outside of the county but depending on each libraries policies there is no guarantee for an item beyond a book (cd’s or dvd) to be send out.In the end I ended up buying the audiobooks.
    I’m envious you’re allowed so many DVDs at the time that means you likely have a long lending time too?
    Sadly often it’s only 4 days for $1 but I’ve discovered ONE library on my system which gives me a week & for free too! Luckily that one has a large foreign movie section!! Alas it’s NOT the library that has the Robin Hood series hence I’ve still not seen/heard the commentary.


    • I think it does have something to do w/British content and/or stuff shown on PBS.

      I hadn’t planned to search for Armitage there — having equipped myself with my own hard and soft copies 🙂 — but once I was looking, the thing that surprised me a bit was Spooks. Miss Marple, etc., British murder mysteries, sure, TI was shown repeatedly on PBS during fundraising sequences, and RH is the kind of thing patrons love. But Spooks seemed a bit obscure. I was glad to find it.


  11. Darn my memory! I also got VoD first from my library!!


  12. That’s some impressive RA inventory.

    My CA hometown has a Hmong population as well. It’s interesting to learn about the different areas of Asian immigration in America since 1965.


  13. […] I was a kid, our local library had a summer reading program. I don’t remember that much about it except that you read books […]


  14. I know I’m incredibly late adding to this! Is Richard Armitage in your library? I wish – I work there, and I’m always waiting to serve him… I have a little fantasy about him needing help to research something! I do my bit, I got them to order ‘Summer’ recently, and recommend ‘North and South’ DVD when I can. We have all 3 Hobbits and I am always talking to the kids about them and the book. We even have a copy of ‘Lords of the North’. Your Library – Use it or Lose it, Mr Armitage!


    • Richard Armitage is just around the corner from a library … the trick is figuring out which one 🙂

      You’re doing your part! Team Armitage!


  15. […] library I used most as a child, though, is about five miles away, in the county seat. I talked about it a long time ago. If I had formative experiences for becoming a historian, one of them was the plat book I found […]


  16. […] An earlier post on Richard Armitage items in our library is here. […]


  17. […] I went back to the public library. I go there several times each week. I wrote about my love for it here and […]


  18. […] I wrote a version of this post years ago, but was prompted to think of it again when I was searching our public library page for his audiobooks and ran across this result in a “Richard Armitage” keyword search. […]


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