Saturday, February 20, 2010

Librarians, patrons, archivist, second Marilyn Johnson's book

Having previously mentioned Marilyn Johnson's book This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All I thought I would give it a quick review. Then after reading it I thought giving it a quick review would be a great disservice to someone who writes so eloquently on our profession.
The book is a tour de force of librarianship of the modern generation. I have read Battles book and Nicholson Baker to. Both seem set in the past in comparison to this book.
Johnson's reason for writing the book we are told come from her first book Dead beat, which looked at Obituaries. She found librarians had the most interesting, such as Frederick Kilgour and Henriette Avram and longest.
Johnson wanted to see why librarians do there job. What was there role. What where the changes.
She looks at the power of library blogs and spoke to many pro and anti library bloggers out there. All the blogs she mentions in the book can be found here. She talks about the time Michael Stephens felt slightly stalked when to blog followers discovered his whereabouts whilst paddling in a lake
She spoke to library Avatars on Second life, and the reference work they did there and the free work they do there.
The radical reference group whose mission statement is :-

Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality. We support activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing professional research support, education and access to information. We work in a collaborative virtual setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society.

The role of David Smith at the New York Public Library, and how the NYPL seems to becoming a more digital and modern hub.

The penultimate chapter, she speaks to archivists. This is a sad chapter about Sue Hamburger, an archivist who is archiving her recently deceased husbands writings, and wondering if anyone will accept them.

There are other chapters, but all have one thing in common. She admires our profession (and its quirks). She seemed to have enjoy writing this book. But not half as much as I enjoyed reading it. My only one qualm on the book? I wish I was as good as many of them. 10 out of 10.

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