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Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas…

Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library (2007)

by Don Borchert

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8756015,422 (3.52)46
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    Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg (meggyweg)
  2. 10
    Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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  3. 10
    Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron (vvstokkom)
    vvstokkom: For cat AND library-lovers

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» See also 46 mentions

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Funny book! And as a library employee - I can relate to several patrons and situation in this book, which makes it all the funnier. ( )
  cubsfan3410 | Sep 1, 2018 |
When I tell people I work in a library, they say "What a nice quiet job" or "It must be nice to read all day".

I'm going to hand them this book and tell them this is what my job is REALLY like. Working with the public in a library is more like working as a mediator, a security guard, a psychologist, a baby sitter, a computer expert or a counselor, none of which most of us have degrees or experience in. And oh yes, now and then we get to answer a few informational questions.

Hat's off to ya, Don, you've gone and written the book we all wish we had the guts and the time to write! Now if only people were still reading instead of surfing the internet and checking out videos.... ( )
  Thebrownbookloft | Jun 29, 2018 |
Ever wonder what it's like to work in a big city branch library? Well look no further than this short memoir by Don Borchert. He writes about all of his up and down experiences of being Branch Assistant in a California Library. He started out taking small time jobs before landing his job in the Branch. Here he learns that libraries are where anybody and everybody comes to hang out, talk, network, or even to cause trouble. He experiences everything from the noisy school kids to angry/disgruntled patrons, from when to give-in on things and when to stand ground, and even a few run-ins with the cops. If you are looking for a good laugh, a short memoir, or insight into the workings of a library give this book a try!

Heather B. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.

( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
Borchert found a job at a public library in Los Angeles because he wanted a comfortable and steady civil service job, not out of a love for books or an interest in sharing a love of reading. I expected the book to consist of funny anecdotes about unusual happenings in the library, and there were a few of those, but most of the book consisted of tales of mundane administrative issues and depressing stories about how parents used the library as free after-school care. Even with these, Borchert did not seem to have much material to work with, so he spread the stories pretty thin. It wasn't terrible, just mediocre. ( )
  carlym | Aug 28, 2016 |
I couldn't resist picking this up and reading it despite all the other TBR mountain books on top of it. And then I couldn't put it down - I stayed awake in bed until I was done with it, and then couldn't sleep for thinking about and also wishing for more. Believe me, I tried to be objective, because I know that stories about assorted patrons and behind-the-scenes life of libraries isn't everyone's cup of tea. But I honestly don't know how anyone could be so disinterested in this to give it less than a 'liked it' rating. Gracefully & cleanly written. Concise stories on a (relatively) wide variety of library-related topics. Funny and poignant, sometimes by turns, sometimes simultaneously.

Oh, to rebut some of the other reviewers - he likes kids, so long as they try to be moderately respectful, and he tries to help them when he can. He likes learning about people of other cultures and basically admits that he knows he's lucky to have been born white even though he couldn't choose that. And he never pretended that this book would be anything like a 'how to fix the library.' ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
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"The secondhandedness of the learned world is the secret of its mediocrity." - Alfred North Whitehead
To friends and family.

To Sally and Andrea and Beth and Rosie, and to my dad.

To Bob and Donna Perkins.

To Ian Morgan, John Kalmbaugh, and Tom Ryan - oh my, what a bunch. Big, tough ones.

To Theresa and Curtis Babiar and Rhea Edelman, library stalwarts.

To Greg Bobulinski, jazz trumpet player extraordinaire, who reminds us that life is not merely endless commerce.

To Lynn Wolverton.
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Libraries are a footnote to our civilization, an outpost to those unfamiliar with the concept, and a cheap, habit-forming narcotic to the regular patron.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Don Borchert, assistant librarian at a suburban Los Angeles library for twelve years, provides an inside look at what really goes on in a modern library, including fist-fights between moms, drug-dealing in the restroom, and other odd, unsavory, and humorous activities.
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The author recounts his experiences working as an assistant librarian in a public library in suburban Los Angeles, as he encounters patrons who range from bored latchkey kids left there for the afternoon, to rowdy teenagers, to Internet-obsessed adults, to drug-dealers.… (more)

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