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Library Confidential: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library [Paperback]

Don Borchert
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
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Book Description

8 Nov 2007

The public library - a haven of calm, source of information, home to the student, the geek and the aging librarian. Or so you might think.

Don Borchert's ten years as assistant librarian have taught him that a library is more than just a place to borrow books, it's also a place where people hide from the law, fall in love, fight, deal drugs, introduce their children to reading, look up porn and pursue their dreams. Borchett's hilarious memoir delves behind the bookshelves as he discovers the weird, dangerous and downright dirty world of a public library and the fearless civil servants who patrol its aisles.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (8 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753513102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753513101
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.7 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,329,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Puts the Shhh! in Shocking

From the Back Cover

Puts the 'shhhh' in shocking!

The public library - a haven of calm, source of information, home to the student, the geek and the ageing librarian. Or so you might think....

When he first took a job as assistant librarian in a public library, Don Borchett expected a relaxed, quiet working life. What he didn't expect to encounter was people hiding from the law, falling in love, fighting, dealing drugs, and looking up porn.

With a cast including drunks in tutus, patrons with a fear of the number six, a flasher and a marmoset, Don Borchett's hilarious memoir peeks behind the bookshelves to reveal the weird, dangerous and downright dirty world of the public library, and the fearless civil servants who patrol its aisles.

Don Borchett has been an assistant librarian in the Californian Public Library system for 10 years. His previous jobs included cook, fine china salesman, Christmas tree chopper and sod farm worker. This is his first book.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have to get a job in a library! 16 Feb 2010
By Read Me
If you've ever worked in a library, visited a library or just got lost one day and strolled in then this book should make you titter in recognition. I do work in a library and I can honestly say that I read this and kept laughing out loud and randomly saying ' yep we've had that'. Essentially this book is a life story of a librarian going from how to get a job in the council - turn up for the interview and look normal, then upholding the sanctity of the library until you retire about 50 years later.

Although this is set in America the similarities are so perfect that libraries must be the same all over the world. There is always a regular customer who comes in to chat to their favourite staff, always an angry person shouting about putting their books in a bag, always a flasher who thinks its never been done before and always some kids who have to be kicked out every week for being too noisy. From a staff point of view its nice to read how other libraries suffer the same as yours, how all librarians have their own secret language (weeding the books for example) and how all library staff know exactly when to expect trouble. From a customer point of view you'll probably read this and remark that you don't believe this could happen in a library! People dirtying the books, refusing to pay fines, abusing the staff and cheating the community out of much loved classics! Shameless.

This is a great book which I thoroughly recommend to everyone but especially those people who think it might be nice to work somewhere quiet and peaceful like the local library. Best let yourself know what you're in for :)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight 20 July 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a sometimes hilarious and often touching glimpse into the life of a long-term assistant librarian in Los Angeles. Anybody who has ever used a library in any country (which should be everybody) needs to read this. Don is a natural storyteller and I can only hope that he'll write other, equally wonderful books in the near future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read 31 Aug 2010
Approach it as "some observations of a librarian", without the expectations of easily digestible jokes (because there are none; it is dealing with real life situations), and I hope you find it as entertaining as I did; and I certainly did!
I thought much of it was delivered dead-pan and the amusement came after some thought; not much, but certainly a non-zero amount was required.
There isn't much obvious structure to the overall story but I found it an easy read, with each incident following onto the next with ease, building up a mosaic of incidents that was greater than the sum of the parts.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I knew I was going to like this book. How could I not? It's about libraries, and books, and eccentric bookish people! Well, it is and it isn't. This book is 'loosely' many things. It is 'loosely' the sum of one man's experiences as a California librarian. It is 'loosely' a homage to the library staff he has known. It is 'loosely' a timely reminder of all the wonderful things a library can stand for, and how much will be lost if they are neglected. It is 'loosely' a romp through some of the weird and wonderful patrons that one finds lurking in the stacks.

The problem for me was that Borchert never really fixed on any of these things long enough to bring together a coherent memoir. Time skips backwards and forwards. The anecdotes can be quite mundane where they were supposed to be scandalous. The reflections on libraries petered out before they said anything profound, and books themselves scarcely seemed to factor at all. Though, to be fair, he does point out that while many librarians join their profession out of a love of books, eventually it can almost drop out of the equation under a tide of customer service and paperwork... I also noticed that Borchert seems to be quite preoccupied with race. He never comes across as racist - just a little misguided - and I understand that his area is hugely diverse, but it seems that every person he mentions has to be noted as being black, or Latino, or Filipino, or even pointedly Sikh or Hindu. In some cases this fitted the context of the anecdote, but in others it just seemed unnecessary. I felt myself rolling my eyes and thinking, 'What does that have to do with anything?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very sorry to say - a bit dull - the writing and the stories he tells 3 Dec 2009
By Filmfan - Published on
I have been a librarian for many years, and I think I also worked at the same library in California where the author worked - so I was looking forward to reading this. I stopped reading it after 94 pages - it just wasn't all that interesting - but I picked it up again recently, and have now read more than half of the book - it's still on the dull side, I'm sorry to say. I'll finish it because I bought it, and because a fellow librarian wrote it. Interesting and funny things do happen in libraries, in my experience, but unless the last part of the book gets really interesting, I have to rate this book as too quiet and dull, based on reading more than half of it. (I can see why used copies are for sale at "give-away" prices.)
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