Friday, January 29, 2010

This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson

I admire Marilyn Johnson's interest in off-the-wall subjects. First, she wrote about obituaries and the people who wrote them, in her fascinating book, The Dead Beat. In her new book, she turned to librarians as her subjects. How can a librarian not love the title of her latest? It's This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All.

Johnson became interested in librarians when she was writing her previous book, and discovered that librarians had some of the most interesting obits. She said she "Began to get the idea that librarias were where it was happening - wide open territory for innovators, activists, and pioneers." She sees librarians as people who value service to others, along with "truth, free speech, and universal literacy." And, she interviewe librarians on the web, followed their blogs, met them in Second Life, and the New York Public Library. She talked to the Connecticut librarians who fought the Patriot Act, librarians who took reference to the streets, and ones who taught computer skills to the world. Johnson admired the work of archivists, and public librarians who opened their doors to the world.

Johnson may have gone on a little bit too much about Second Life, but, for those of us who are still excited about our work in libraries, regret the loss of so much in bad economic times, but still want to share books and information with the world, This Book is Overdue is a challenge, and a reward. We have work to do to keep up with our patrons, or, as one librarian said, our readers. Even so, it's nice to know how Marilyn Johnson, one patron, feels about librarians. "I was under the librarians' protection. Civil servants and servants of civility, they had my back. They would be whatever they needed to be that day: information professionals, teachers, police, community organizers, compuer techncicians, historians, confidantes, clerks, social workers, storytellers, or, in this case, guardians of my peace." Thank you, Marilyn Johnson, for showing all of us what librarians can do for the world, when given a chance.

Marilyn Johnson's website is

This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson. HarperCollins, ©2010. ISBN 9780061431609 (hardcover), 288p.


FTC Full Disclosure: I requested this book from the publisher, so I could review it.


brizmus said...

This book sounds so much fun!!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love the idea of this book! And I completely agree with the patron's sentiments. When I'm in the library (which is probably 3 or 4 times a week), I feel like I'm with friends...friends who are looking out for me. Well put!

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Lesa said...


This book is fun, particularly if you're a library geek, like I am.

Lesa said...


And, I imagine you're one of those patrons the librarians know and love. Two of my patrons from my hometown library, who were my favorites, are long gone, but I still remember them, what they read, and even their library card numbers!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Lesa....such a great review. I really want to read this one too!

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love the Super Librarian on the cover? That's what it looks like anyway. I like the part where "they would be whatever they needed to be that day...". Isn't that the truth? People think that libraries are quiet, static places where nothing ever happens. As if!! Thanks for the heads-up, Lesa.

Clea Simon said...

Librarians are the unsung heroes of any reader's (or writer's) life. I'm glad she wrote this - and I love the cover, too!

Lesa said...

That pile's growing, Diane! I really liked this one.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Kay. You'll appreicate the variety of jobs in this book. You'll certainly understand.

Lesa said...

The cover's great, isn't it Clea? I'm glad she wrote it, too.