Free for all : oddballs, geeks, and gangstas in the public library by Don Borchert

free-for-all.jpgWho wants to be a librarian???
After holding many diverse jobs, the author takes a Civil Service Test and is soon hired as a librarian. His definition of a library is a place you can “walk in off the street, pull books off the shelf without an employee looking nervously, and take them home. All you have to do is promise to bring them back”. Ah, there’s the problem. He devotes many pages to the patrons who neglect to return the books, offer outrageous reasons for returning them late, or deny taking them at all. And there are the patrons who have several different cards under different names, all of which have a hefty fine attached. The author believes strongly that most people who work in libraries initially do so because of their love for books and interaction with people. Circumstances change, however. He chronicles a senior librarian who thoroughly enjoyed doing Reader’s Advisory, and took great pleasure in filling the reading needs of her patrons. As her job duties progressed, she was assigned more paperwork and eventually came to dislike the Reader’s Advisory portion of her job as it interfered with these duties.

He’s also worked with unstable staff, and believes he has a knack for picking the right employees, merely by observing their body language during the interview.Librarians who read this, may find it more like a textbook of the profession than escapist reading. Except for his derogatory reference to those who work in the technical processing department as “basement dwellers”, I found this to be a humorous insight into the profession.

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