Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This Book Is Overdue!

How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
Marilyn Johnson

Since it's National Library Week according to the banners hanging all over the public library in my town, I though it would be nice to review a book about librarians. What do those people do all day?

After her first book, The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries (P.S.) was published, Marilyn Johnson was looking for another socko topic to write about and found it in the library. Johnson may be the next John McPhee, able to tease out a fascinating book on even the most mundane subject.

Libraries and librarians, however, are far from mundane, as it turns out. Johnson writes about librarian bloggers, some of whom almost get fired for writing funny stories about library patrons. She writes about librarians who create libraries in Second Life, the 3D virtual world, about Radical Reference, which put librarians equipped with smart phones on the streets of New York, during the 2008 Republican Convention, to provide protesters with real time information about police actions, fast food and available rest rooms.

There is a library in New York that belongs to the American Kennel Club, crammed with books and artifacts about dogs. Johnson, who doesn't care for dogs, was so fascinated by it that she fantasized about going to work for the librarian there. A reference librarian at the New York Public Library made it his business to go to extreme lengths to help writers find what they need for research their books. He became a celebrity in the publishing world, cited in the acknowledgments, that no one reads, of countless worthy tomes.

Here are a few of the library blogs mentioned in This Book Is Overdue!:
Free Range Librarian
Librarian in Black
Annoyed Librarian

You can read about the Community Virtual Library, which is in Second Life, without actually visiting it, at, or go ahead and sign up, what could it hurt?

This post is in the 43rd

keywords: libraries, librarians, non fiction


  1. This was an enjoyable book to read. I liked it.

  2. Of course you did. It's about you.


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