This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson

01 Sep

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

Author: Marilyn Johnson

Publisher: HarperCollins 2010

Genre: Nonfiction — Library science

Pages: 272

Rating:  5 /5 stars

Reading Challenges: Dewey – 0-99s; Mixing It Up – Social Science

How I Got It: Library Loan

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.

I loved this book.  Or maybe I loved the love letter to libraries and librarians.  I have always found libraries to be homes away from home.  I’ve felt at ease in every library I’ve ever set foot in.  They are my world.  And so I was just as scared as Johnson when I heard people saying that the rise of the internet meant the death of libraries.  No!  They are changing to fit the times and yet they still fill a much needed service in our world.  Johnson is obviously also a lover of libraries.  Throughout chapters on varied topics, her own personal love of libraries comes through.  I found myself talking out loud throughout the book.  I agreed with Johnson, I rallied against detractors, I urged on the radical progressive librarians.  I must say that nonfiction books rarely get me this riled up.  Thank you Johnson for reaffirming my feeling that libraries are needed and that librarians are awesome people.

Some of my favorite quotes:

  • Good librarians are natural intelligence operatives.  They possess all of the skills and characteristics required for that work: curiosity, wide-ranging knowledge, good memories, organizational and analytical aptitude, and discretion. (pg. 6) — With those qualifications, I would be a great spy and librarian!
  • “…librarians consider free access to information the foundation of democracy, and they’re right.” (8) — Amen to that!
  • “Writers seldom just stop writing.  We’re like serial killers in that way.  You have to stop us, because we cannot stop ourselves.” Happy Villain (66)

P.S. I also found many new librarian blogs to follow…  Just what I need, more blogs.


1 Comment

Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Book Reviews


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One response to “This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson

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