Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save us All- by Marilyn Johnson

Johnson is not a librarian, but according to her jacket-cover biography she "owns multiple library cards and uses them often." She certainly does a wonderful job of singing the praises of librarians as she travels to where the librarians are to find out what they do and what makes them tick. The copyright on this work is 2010, which doesn't seem that long ago, but reading this made me realize how fast things are changing. Johnson has an entire chapter on Second Life which was all the rage not so long ago, but now has only about a million users. She also has a chapter on librarian bloggers, (which I feel a bit meta blogging about) even as I also realize that blogs aren't exactly cutting edge any more either. But while our heads spin about the speed at which information moves and technology changes, the book also illustrates some things that never change. Johnson asks us to consider this
Did you ever? I mean, did you ever think that being a librarian meant dealing with poop? Talking about it finding little piles of it in the stacks, writing about it on the Web. I certainly never thought that I would have to write about it. In fact, one of the things that appealed to me about this book was the intellectual, cerebral, almost disembodied nature of the subject of librarians in the digital age...I imagined the wired world of information and literature, full of brilliant, helpful, visionary librarians...I didn't want to be sitting in a sticky chair thinking about poop.
I don't think poop was one of the topics we discussed in any of my classes in library school, but I certainly had to deal with it as a librarian at a public library. How someone could mistake the elevator for a restroom I'm not sure, but there you have it.

I am always interested when I find a connection between books. In the case of This Book is Overdue! the connection is with The Library Book. In her chapter entitled "Gotham City" Johnson provides a bit of the history of the planning and construction of the New York Public Library, referring to several of the people mentioned in Fiske's book.

It was lovely to read such a librarian-positive book by someone who is a not a librarian herself.

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