Monday, December 29, 2008

Book Review: "Free For All"

Like Scott Douglas' Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian (review), Don Borchert's Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library (Virgin Books, 2007) is an anecdotal memoir of the author's work-life at an urban branch library. The tales tend toward the amusing, but Borchert (again, like Douglas) focuses a bit too much on the salacious, disgusting, and negative at the expense of positive experiences (there are a few of these, but they disappear under the preponderance of stories about drug dealing, fights, strange things in the book drop, and crazy patrons).

If you're after a reasonably funny look at the daily ins and outs (mostly outs) of the life of a public librarian, this book, or Douglas', is right up your alley. I'm sure that for many employees at libraries like Borchert's, this rings true. For my part, I'm glad that it seems so alien to me - I'm sure I couldn't go to work every day knowing that any of the things that Borchert recounts could possibly happen on a regular basis.