Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stop what you're doing and read this book

At holiday gatherings, Friends of the Ballet cocktail parties and roller derbies, I am often asked what it is like to work in a library. "Huh huh, you must read all day" is the typical inane comment I hear. To which I reply, "Why no, I don't. I answer reference questions and suggest reading material to interested patrons." What I really want to say is, "Yep, right in one, psychic. But it beats chewing tobaccy, changing oil and yanking it to the Miss Quaker State calendar all day."

If you want to know what it's like to work in a library, then read Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library. Don Bochert has captured all the most delightful elements of working a public service desk. From reaching into the bookdrop and retrieving a fecal-encrusted dildo to reissuing a library card to a patron who swears the triple 666s will cause him pain to chasing off the drunk wearing a tutu to the patron who tried to mail a letter in the dictionary stand.

Bochert spills the beans about contemporary libraries with generous doses of love, candor and good natured humor. At the end of the checkout period, he still believes in the power of libraries and that patrons truly mean to return their materials on time.

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