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Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library

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Borchert offers readers a ringside seat for the unlikely spectacle of mayhem and absurdity that is business as usual at the public library. From the ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library

Overall customer rating: 4.000
Carrington

Libraries serve a kaleidoscope of people

by Carrington on Oct 15, 2009

If you have worked in a public or a regular college library...you WOULD find this title is VERY insightful & funny too. Published in 2007. I worked for about 20 years as a Public Library reference librarian, specializing in the Humanities Department of libraries in medium to large cities, mostly in Florida. The General Public often seems to believe that the "Marion the Libarian" character is still being reincarnated & manages all modern libraries. While there may be some highly controlled, monastery-style libraries (such as at a library for a school of Theology)....In a majority of cases today , the public library is the setting for lots of "drama" (without a stage) .... Parents bringing their child in at 8 pm to grab items for a paper due to be typed & completed & turned in at 8 am the next morning (HINT: The Day the assignment came out, all the best books on that topic were grabbed first, Mom. That's why you didn't see the useful titles still there now for Johnny or Melinda to take home tonight) Since the public libraries generally rely on govt funding, in many many cases, the homeless have every right to use the libraries as their living room day after day after day.....& they sometimes will use the restrooms in the library to take a refreshing washing off, of yesterday's leaves & perspiration. Part of the "free public access" means that a public library generally CANNOT prove that someone sitting there near the newspapers, and wearing the same shoes he's been wearing every day for 3 months, carrying all his personal belongings in.....isn't just stopping by, on his way home, to choose a book...While I have compassion for disadvantages; I have also met people who deliberately remained without an apt or other residence in order to attend free food giveouts anywhere in town, over & over again. Dan B. is a NOT a professional librarian. In the book, he states that his other jobs had been: a short-order cook, telemarketer & Christmas-tree-chooper. Thus the Joe Sixpack guy would be able to relate to the day Mr. B turned up for first day of orientation into his job at the local library system. As it turns out, he is also a fine writer & storyteller; really remarkable as this is his first book. Often ANYONE's first book is ....um.....an exercise in Creative Writing. There are separate chapters illustrating about 5 intriguing or downright SCARY incidents (drugs/ violent gangs using the restrooms for deals) which occurred in the California library where he worked Worthwhile for many types of people. WONDERFUL & HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who worked or volunteered in their local libraries & found it surprising that this workplace was more multi-faceted than a living room with lots of bookshelves.

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