what i'm reading double-header, part two: this book is overdue!

Another fun book I read this summer is This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Will Save Us All, by Marilyn Johnson.

Are librarians still necessary in the age of Google? When so much information streams directly into our homes, do we still need public libraries? Marilyn Johnson answers these questions with a resounding yes, and yes, more than ever.

Johnson brushes away dusty stereotypes of shush-ing schoolmarms in sensible shoes, and introduces readers to the new breed of librarian. Apparently they're all much younger than me and have tattoos, but the age differences won't matter. Contemporary public librarians are technologically savvy, networked to databases and online communities around the globe, fiercely dedicated to intellectual freedom, and committed to the public library as a free, public information resource and community centre.

In this book, you'll learn some library history, meet a sampling of the zillions of blogging librarians, peek inside the updated New York Public Library, meet radical librarians enabling public protest, and discover how librarians are protecting your intellectual freedom every day. Pack-rats everywhere will appreciate the chapter on archivists - how they find, protect and preserve the raw materials of history.

What happens when librarians and civilian Googlers face off - who can collect more and better information? You'll have to read to find out. Johnson has a breezy, accessible writing style, and her deep appreciation for her subject material infuses every page.

My only issue with this book was much of the material wasn't new to me - but that's only because I've been thinking, reading and analyzing the role of librarians in our society for at least a year now. If you love libraries and ever find yourself defending our need for them, you'll want to read this book.

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