Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Book Is Overdue! : How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

Title: This Book Is Overdue! : How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

Author: Marilyn Johnson

Publisher: HarperCollins

Copyright Date: 2010

Print Date: February 2010

ISBN: 9780061431609

Pages: 252 + Notes + Bibliography

Book Description (from dust jacket):

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?

I was drawn to this book by the title. I found the first 2-3 chapters inspiring. (I felt proud that maybe I'd do that someday and anxious that I don't think I'll ever be that good and helpful.) After that I found myself alternately feeling interested and eager to move on to the next part. By the end I was dragging my feet. I'm not sure what this says about the book, because I tend to follow a similar pattern for most non-fiction. But even despite that, I think parts could have been cut or trimmed. Overall, though, I was happy I found and decided to read this book.

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