This Book Is Overdue!
How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
By Marilyn Johnson
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061431616, 304pp.)
Publication Date: February 2011
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Buried in info? Cross-eyed over technology? From the bottom of a pile of paper, disks, books, e-books, and scattered thumb drives comes a cry of hope: Make way for the librariansthey can help!
Those who predicted the death of libraries forgot to consider that, in the automated maze of contemporary life, none of usexpert and hopelessly baffled alikecan get along without human help. And not just any help: we need librarians, the only ones who can save us from being buried by the digital age. This Book Is Overdue! is a romp through the ranks of information professionalsfrom the blunt and obscenely funny bloggers to the quiet, law-abiding librarians gagged by the FBI. These are the pragmatic idealists who fuse the tools of the digital age with their love for the written word and the enduring values of free speech, open access, and scout-badge-quality assistance to anyone in need.
A former staff writer for Life and an editor at Esquire, Redbook, and Outside, Marilyn Johnson is the author of The Dead Beat. She lives in Briarcliff Manor, New York.
“Johnson does for the library profession what Malcolm Gladwell did for the theory of memetics in The Tipping Point.”
-Nora Rawlinson, The Tipping Point
“This is a book for readers who know that words can be wild and dangerous, that uncensored access to information is a right and a privilege, and that the attempt to ‘catalog the world in all its complexity’ is heroic beyond compare.”
-O, The Oprah Magazine
“Johnson has made her way to the secret underbelly of librarianship, and the result is both amazing and delightful. Savvy, brave, hip, brilliant, these are not your childhood librarians. And who better to tell their stories than the sly, wise Marilyn Johnson.”
-Mary Roach, author of Bonk
“Marilyn Johnsons’s marvelous book about the vital importance of librarians in the cyber age is the very opposite of a ‘Shhhhh!’ It’s a very loud ‘Hooray!’ ever so timely and altogether deserved. Move over, Google--make way for the indispensable and all-knowing lady behind the desk.”
-Christopher Buckley, author of Losing Mum and Pup
“To those who have imagined a dalliance with a librarian--and there are millions of us--Marilyn Johnson’s new book, chocked as it is full of strange, compelling stories, offers insight into the wildness behind the orderly facade of the humans who are at the controls of our information.”
-Pete Dexter, author of Paris Trout and Spooner
“Topical, witty.... Johnson’s wry report is a must-read for anyone who’s used a library in the past quarter century.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)