Librarians Doing the "Thriller" Dance

In her new book This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, Marilyn Johnson explores the relevance of librarians in the technological age. She also makes them seem like the coolest people on earth.

In one chapter, she notes that readers wouldn't believe how many videos of librarians dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" are available on YouTube. Everyone's seen the dancing inmates or the hilarious scene from Jennifer Garner's 13 Going On 30, but librarians? We scoped it out and Johnson was right. Here are some of the best.

National Library of Australia

At the National Library of Australia, librarians break it down at their 2008 Christmas party.

Worthington Libraries

In celebration of being named Library of the Year in 2007 by Library Journal and Thomson Gale Publishing, eight librarians at the Ohio library busted some moves. Worthington Libraries was founded in 1803, just weeks after founder James Kilbourne arrived in Worthington, Ohio.

PB Holiday Parade

Though you can't hear the song until about halfway through the video, this clip shows a presentation made by librarians for a holiday parade. It may be quiet. But it's totally worth it to see the book cart drill team dance their bums off in the middle of the street.

Braulio Cesar Linare

In this short film, Braulio Cesar Linare's "Library Thriller," a two teenage boys incur the wrath of an angry librarian by chewing gum in the library's quiet zone. The most plot-focused of tonight's videos, you won't peep any dance moves until the 4:30 mark when the dance is used as means to return books through the library's outdoor slot.

Terrebonne Parish Library

Louisiana's Terrebonne Parish Library gets some late-night visitors. In August of 2005, Terrebonne Parish Library housed Hurricane Katrina survivors until Hurricane Rita damaged the lower portion of the building in September. Since then, the building has undergone massive renovations, including the addition of a mobile library which was presented to the library system by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Santa Monica Public Library

The American Library Association supports book cart drill teams to increase the visibility of libraries in communities and build morale among staffers. Teams perform at community events and festivals, march in parades and travel to schools. They also compete each year at the ALA Library Book Cart Drill Team Championship. Here's the 2008 winners from Santa Monica Public Library performing "Well-Stacked Sci-Brarians."

EBRP Library

The Dewey Decibelles, East Baton Rouge Parish Library's book truck drill team, performs "Zombies vs. Heroes" at the Louisiana Library Association conference. "Thriller" doesn't start until a minute and a half in, but it comes with librarian growling.

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Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
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There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

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