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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

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8465910,632 (3.49)45
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  2. 10
    Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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  3. 10
    Dewey, the library cat by Vicki Myron (vvstokkom)
    vvstokkom: For cat AND library-lovers

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» See also 45 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
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 |
Popsugarreadingchallenge book with protagonist in your profession
Low expectations. Initially amused. Then he got xenophobic. And not buying that it is all real. ( )
  akh3966 | Apr 15, 2016 |
I preferred this over a similiar read ("Quiet, Please"). It's less snarky than the latter. Very familiar, right down to the bureaucratic issues and latchkey kids. Funny how these two books both express feelings of love, hate and indifference in the library work setting. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This was a quick, cute read. A librarian tells stories about cowowrkers and patrons he has encountered throughout his career as a librarian. Not as boring as it sounds. Stories are funny, some inspiring. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (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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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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Average: (3.49)
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