Sunday, March 14, 2010

Book review: This Book is Overdue!!

This Book is Overdue!! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save us All!
Marilyn Johnson
Non-Fiction; Librarians

I don’t usually write reviews on nonfiction, however, I am a librarian and, of course, this book intrigued me. I was hoping that it would be an insightful guide to the future of librarianship, full of new ideas that I had not heard about yet.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. It was not full of new ideas, but was rather a history of librarians and their recent, technologically inspired history. The book was still interesting, but more so because I could relate to the struggles mentioned in the chapters of this book by other tech-savy librarians such as myself. I very much enjoyed reading this book and often found myself marking passages that I either found amusing or that I wanted to look up and check out myself.

Ms. Johnson explored the "Librarian Internet" like an old time explorer, cataloging and interviewing specimens diligently. She began with phenomena such as Wikipedia and blogs and then divulged secrets of librarians who lead their blogging double lives.

She discussed how today’s society is suffering from information excess (Marilyn, 2010, p. 16) which is a particularly heinous form of information overload that provokes physical symptoms in its sufferers. Ms. Johnson has also given me a new quote to fall in love with:
Are librarians obsolete in the Age of Google? All I can say is, are you kidding? Librarians are more important than ever. Google and Yahoo! and Bing and WolframAlpha can help you find answers to your questions, sometimes brilliantly; but if you don't know how to phrase those questions, no search engine can help provide the answers. You can only get so far without human help.(Marilyn, 2010, p20)
I believe that this sentence sums up the state of librarianship in the modern age. The public seems to think that they can do all their research on their own. I guarantee that as soon as the average person runs into a wall, they will either give up or come to a library.

As librarians we are, of course, rooting for the latter to happen, but we also know that things do not come to those who wait, which is why we have branched out into social networking, blogs, improved our web sites, conduct "unconferences," and are constantly looking for ways to get the public's attention.

Ms. Johnson explores all of these ideas in her new book and certainly makes a case for why librarians are needed and how we can make sure the public is aware of that fact. I thoroughly enjoyed her witty exploration of the recent history in the realm of librarianship and believe that any librarian or library lover would also fall in love with this book.

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