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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson

This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (P.S.) Publisher: Harper
Pages:  272 pgs
Genre: Non-Fiction
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound

Summary from Publisher:
Buried in info? Cross-eyed over technology? From the bottom of a pile of paper and discs, books, e-books, and scattered thumb drives comes a cry of hope: Make way for the librarians! They want to help. They're not selling a thing. And librarians know best how to beat a path through the googolplex sources of information available to us, writes Marilyn Johnson, whose previous book, The Dead Beat, breathed merry life into the obituary-writing profession.

This Book Is Overdue! is a romp through the ranks of information professionals and a revelation for readers burned out on the clichÉs and stereotyping of librarians. Blunt and obscenely funny bloggers spill their stories in these pages, as do a tattooed, hard-partying children's librarian; a fresh-scrubbed Catholic couple who teach missionaries to use computers; a blue-haired radical who uses her smartphone to help guide street protestors; a plethora of voluptuous avatars and cybrarians; the quiet, law-abiding librarians gagged by the FBI; and a boxing archivist. These are just a few of the visionaries Johnson captures here, pragmatic idealists who fuse the tools of the digital age with their love for the written word and the enduring values of free speech, open access, and scout-badge-quality assistance to anyone in need.

Those who predicted the death of libraries forgot to consider that in the automated maze of contemporary life, none of us—neither the experts nor the hopelessly baffled—can get along without human help. And not just any help—we need librarians, who won't charge us by the question or roll their eyes, no matter what we ask. Who are they? What do they know? And how quickly can they save us from being buried by the digital age?

My Review:
There is absolutely no way that I could not appreciate this book considering that I just spent two years studying how to be a librarian and am now actively trying to be one. If I have learned one thing about librarians from years at school and my reading of this book it’s that all of the stereotypes are not true. Or at least the negative aspects of those stereotypes because I quite like the idea of librarians being information dealers and uber-smart awesome people who could totally take over the world if they cared to.

Librarians have always been my superheroes. They help me find information when I’m pulling my hair out from stress when I’m writing a paper, they teach me how to use the dratted copy machine at the library instead of watching me cry and pray over the infernal machine of doom, and, most importantly, they always point me in the right direction in terms of reading material. Librarians are for, for lack of a sufficient term, awesome. They have to wear so many hats on a daily basis and so many of them do it amazingly well. Librarians have to be tech specialists, research assistants, bloggers, babysitters, on the fly reader advisory experts, community organizers etc.

This book was an awesome and funny read about my chosen profession. It touched on so many hot issues within the field that would be interesting to any reader not only librarians. I particularly liked the discussion about Second Life librarians. I had a brief foray into Second Life (for a class in…you guessed it…library school) and I was amazed at the huge presence that librarians and the library play in the virtual world--I was also amazed that some of the more ummm colorfully dressed avatars were actually librarians. This book would be an amazing read for anyone interested in entering into the field.  If I had this book when I started school, I would have felt so much more confident on my first day. It also would be a great read for anyone who spends any amount of time in a library because those people behind the checkout desk have a really interesting job and are probably doing so much more behind the scenes that no one ever sees.

I am definitely planning on checking out (from the library, of course) Marilyn Johnson's The Dead Beat which is about obituary writers. I've always considered that a fallback. 

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like the PERFECT book for you - I'm so glad you were on this tour! I'm a huge fan of the library myself ... I have no idea what I'd do without librarians.



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