This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
Harper, 2010 (2010)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Bob Walch
n the world of high-tech innovations, streaming media and digital archives, there are those who believe that the librarian is about to go the way of the dinosaur. Not only does this book refute that misinformed assumption but it also shows just how important librarians have become in today's cyber world.
irst of all, Marilyn Johnson points out that libraries are still relevant. '
A library is a place to go for a reality check, a bracing dose of literature, or a 'true reflection of our history'.
' she writes. '
Whether it's a brick-and-mortar building constructed a century ago or a fanciful arrangement of computer codes, the librarian is the organizer, the animating spirit behind it, and the navigator. Her job is to create order out of the confusion of the past, even as she enables us to blast into the future.
t a time when the explosion of information and its delivery systems have resulted in an avalanche of material that is overwhelming in quantity, it has become the librarian's job to help organize and make this ever expanding knowledge accessible.
ibrarians also level the playing field in the sense that they enable those without money and/or education to access, read and learn the same things as those with the resources to take advantage of all the technology available.
This book can be read as a journey into increasingly activist and visionary forms of library work,
' the author explains. '
The walls of the library have grown porous and in some cases are merely virtual, as librarians have come out from behind their desks to serve as active enablers in the digital age.
s you read this highly readable and entertaining book, you'll meet the
who stood up to the FBI went they were asked to
those who used the library by sharing information about what books were checked out by library patrons. You'll also learn about
, a group of librarians who took their skills to the streets during the 2008 national political conventions, and discover how virtual libraries operate. In 2009 there were over 128 of them in existence in
. (If you don't have a clue what Second Life is all about, the author explains it; so don't stress out!)
here's also some fascinating material about specialized research libraries such as the American Kennel Club Library and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City. The author looks at how zines are handled by libraries and what the difference is between a librarian and an archivist.
rom start to finish, this is a highly enjoyable book that anyone who loves books and worries about the fate of the library will want to read. Not only does the author dispel some of the prevailing myths about the librarians and where library science (information technology) is headed, but she also makes the subject matter entertaining as well as highly informative.
fter you finish
This Book Is Overdue!
, you'll probably want to share it with friends. But don't be surprised if they don't return it!
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