Matt's Reviews > Quiet, Please: Dispatches From A Public Librarian

Quiet, Please by Scott Douglas
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's review
Jan 27, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in December, 2008

A lot of universal truths about working in a public library, like for example many employees see serving on a committee as an escape from doing real work, sad but true (and I'm sure that it's not just librarians/library workers who do this).

I also had a negative experience with a firefighter responding to a false alarm at the library where I was working at. I just don't like the fact that they are not very nice and in NYC they get paid at least double of what librarians make. They are supposed to be here to help, but their attitude is unbelievable.

However, there are a couple of things that really bothered me. One was the scene where the library is so empty and quiet that he and two other staff members decide to have a paper airplane contest on library time.

The problem is that many people think librarianship is a do-nothing profession, we read books and point out the bathroom to patrons, and that's about it. That's what people think, and we are paid accordingly. As for me I never get the chance to loaf, I am so inundated with work. The library where I work is opened until 9 pm, and we are usually helping patrons right up to closing time. I think this is the norm in libraries. If it is not the case in that particular branch in Anaheim, CA something has to be done either to get patrons to visit the library in the evening or to change the library hours. Somebody is not doing their job, and it's not just the employees playing with paper airplanes.

According to his book Douglas also has plenty of free time to the play FreeCell at work. He is a writer with the whole Internet at his fingertips and he is playing FreeCell at work. I am really working on the wrong coast, I guess. Again it is the wrong message to send to the general public and people thinking about going to library school.

And finally there were misleading comments made to his friend and library co-worker. He gave misleading information to Roland on performing his job. He did this on purpose because Roland was so enthusiastic about doing a good job.

Librarians are all underpaid, under-appreciated and very negatively stereotyped in common belief and pop culture. We need every chance we can get to show that public libraries are very challenging places to work, and we deserve the same kind of pay that law enforcement, firefighters, and sanitation workers get. This should be the message that Douglas to should send, but I guess he has not intention of continuing his career as a public librarian. He just wants to be a writer, but don't we all.

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Reading Progress

12/12/2008 page 251
76.06% "Some universal truths about public libraries, but in some instances the author puts librarians in a bad light."
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