A librarian goes on maternity leave and her worst nightmares come true. The library pages arrange the books by color! They cut out animal pictures fro...moreA librarian goes on maternity leave and her worst nightmares come true. The library pages arrange the books by color! They cut out animal pictures from the encyclopedias! They don't check out the books and just hand them out willy-nilly! The horror! This book is super adorable, and I love it with my little librarian heart.(less)
This book reads like a long love letter to librarians, and honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. Johnson endlessly praises librarians for their u...moreThis book reads like a long love letter to librarians, and honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. Johnson endlessly praises librarians for their uniqueness, innovation, and how just plain COOL they are (and it's all true).
Still, the book is scattered in a way that I don't think it is supposed to be and there were chapters in which you can tell that Johnson is far more excited about the topic than perhaps a reader might be. Other reviewers have commented on the fact that Johnson goes in-depth over the fun she is having in Second Life talking with librarians and their steampunk avatars. I was easily able to picture this in my mind since my graduate school is pro-Second Life for practice at the reference desk. However, for anyone that hasn't already tried Second Life, this becomes a long chapter of "Huh? You're spending money on outfits? Are they real? No? Wait, you're attending a party?" The chapter can seem nonsensical if you can't tell when Johnson means reality and when she means Second Life since she's great at talking about Second Life as if it were happening in real time. Don't get me wrong, I loved hearing about the librarian islands, but I feel that chapter catered more to me as the graduate student/librarian gonna-be instead of the casual reader.
And that's a problem because the book is marketed to tell the world about how librarians are misunderstood, yet there are many moments that feel more like in-jokes for those already in the know. I will say that there are several anecdotes that hadn't crossed my mind, like radical reference librarians to help protesters out in the streets. Now that is badassed and very much in the spirit of librarianship. Bravo!
Johnson also goes in-depth about archiving the Internet which isn't directly related to destroying the stereotype of a librarian, but that was also an interesting chapter for someone already in the field. I loved reading about the 9/11 archives, which include the heart rate of a man who had a heart monitor on that day while jogging across the Brooklyn Bridge (and the times when the monitor jumped). Fascinating.
Overall, I give the book 3.5 stars. I found it incredibly interesting, but I want to read more reviews from folks that aren't planning on becoming librarians. (less)
Keyword with this book is honesty. It's the true-to-life experiences brought forth by Douglas that should be told more often to prep future librarians...moreKeyword with this book is honesty. It's the true-to-life experiences brought forth by Douglas that should be told more often to prep future librarians. There's also a great Smeagol element to this book - Douglas will gripe and react negatively to a situation/patron, then turn around and explain the benefits that that particular experience gave him. He takes the bad and morphs it into the good. Great read! (less)