Quiet, Please

Quiet, Please

Dispatches From A Public Librarian

Book - 2008
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For most of us, librarians are the quiet people behind the desk, who, apart from the occasional "shush," vanish into the background. But in Quiet, Please , McSweeney's contributor Scott Douglas puts the quirky caretakers of our literature front and center. With a keen eye for the absurd and a Kesey-esque cast of characters (witness the librarian who is sure Thomas Pynchon is Julia Roberts's latest flame), Douglas takes us where few readers have gone before. Punctuated by his own highly subjective research into library history-from Andrew Carnegie's Gilded Age to today's Afghanistan-Douglas gives us a surprising (and sometimes hilarious) look at the lives which make up the social institution that is his library.
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Da Capo Press, c2008.
ISBN: 9780786720910
Branch Call Number: 020.92
Characteristics: 330 p. ; 24 cm.


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May 12, 2018

I saw this book on a library table, sat down, read the first chapter and promptly checked it out. It's as if the book was purposely put on the table for me to find and read. I was very curious to read about the author's experience working in a public library and was totally glued to his story. I have been working in various libraries for 11 years and have experienced the same highs and lows as the author. Reading this gave me a new perspective what public librarians have to deal with. I have more compassion for them having to deal with difficult patron and co-worker situations. They earn every dollar they are paid. I think he accurately portrays California libraries, which have become the crossroads for the homeless and the mentally ill. I wish I had read this book before I had entered the library field as like the author I too have had to cope with crazy library co-workers. I highly recommend this book for anyone considering a library career, whether as a page, library technician, librarian or library manager. Working at a library is more than books and computers. Although trained to be information specialists, public librarians must also have stellar people and problem solving skills. The problems Douglas encounters with patrons and his co-workers are fascinating, unnerving, frustrating, and heartbreaking. At times you will laugh out loud and some stories will hit you in the gut and make you think. This is also a story of a young man searching for a career, questioning whether he chose the right path and his love/hate relationship feelings towards the library. Read this book and you will see why. And be nice to the library staff when you next visit one.

Jan 25, 2011

Laugh out loud anecdotes from work in a busy urban public library.

Slavomir Jan 04, 2011

I read this before I completed graduate school and became a professional librarian in a Canadian public library. However, I felt the author was too negative in his observations and comments. I read the whole thing and came to the conclusion that the author is a bit bitter. If this is the product of San Jose State online library degrees, I am glad I studied elsewhere.


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Nov 05, 2008

Douglas is a public librarian who has worked in Californian libraries as both an undergrad and as a librarian. He has a humourous way of relating his experiences with co-workers and customers. At times he is a bit unkind in his observations but still a lot of the encounters will be familiar to anyone who has worked in a library. It seems people are the same all over.


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