As many of you know I'm a librarian (or someone who has worked as a librarian for two years and is now six credits away from my fancy official degree). I don't remember where I first heard about this book, but I think it was either Estella's Revenge or Bibliophile by the Sea. As it was conveniently released the week of my wedding, I pre-ordered it for my Kindle for wedding reading.
What I didn't know, but perhaps should have inferred from the book's title (This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All) is the author, Marilyn Johnson, is not a librarian. The book isn't necessarily aimed at librarians, although I think there are things all librarians, readers and citizens could learn from this book. Ms. Johnson's first book is about obituaries, and she discovered librarians had absolutely fascinating obituaries and focused her next book on us. Awesome, yes? As I often confess, part of the allure of librarianship for me is being in academic environment but still able to enjoy life and have hobbies. I am not a slave to my job, although I love my job. I have work-life-love balance and intellectual stimulation from all three. I am lucky.
Each chapter has a different topic. Some were more interesting to me than others, and although she explores many aspects of librarianship, especially in the modern and changing sense, it's not a comprehensive book (nor is it supposed to be.) It was so refreshing to have a non-librarian not only defend the profession but praise it. Sadly, when you tell people you're in graduate school in library and information studies, they often ask why. When I respond, "being a librarian requires a master's degree," people are often dumbfounded and shocked. The exception, usually, are the people who actually have a friend or family member who is a librarian. They exclaim with joy when you say you're a library student.
If you like books, technology or organizational models at all (hello, book bloggers!), you will like this book. My one complaint? The book is mostly about public librarians. As an academic librarian, I was eager for Ms. Johnson to point out how our jobs are different. It wasn't the scope of her book, but I'd love to see a follow-up go in-depth into academic librarianship. It's a fun, informative, and fascinating read. As a librarian, it was delightful to see an outsider take an honest look at the profession. As a reader, it was a delight to read Ms. Johnson's beautiful, descriptive language.
Also, I can't wait to meet Marilyn Johnson at the Empire State Book Festival!
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Pages: 288 pages in the print edition
Publication date: February 2, 2010
Source: I bought it on my Kindle. (Thanks, Harper for not delaying ebook sales! If you had, I probably wouldn't have read this book yet. If I had, I wouldn't have paid for it; I would have gotten it from the library.)
You can order This Book Is Overdue! from Amazon.com. Ms. Johnson's first book, The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries, is also available.
I'm an Amazon Associate, and the above links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a very small commission. Thanks!