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

Overview

From The Wall Street Journal to National Public Radio, mild-mannered librarian Don Borchert had America laughing with the hardcover edition of his tell-all memoir that revealed the often startling truth about modern-day libraries.

Not long ago, the public library was a place for the bookish, the eggheaded, and the studious—often seeking refuge from a loud, irrational, crude, outside world. Today, libraries have become free-for-all entertainment complexes filled with rowdy teens,...

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Overview

From The Wall Street Journal to National Public Radio, mild-mannered librarian Don Borchert had America laughing with the hardcover edition of his tell-all memoir that revealed the often startling truth about modern-day libraries.

Not long ago, the public library was a place for the bookish, the eggheaded, and the studious—often seeking refuge from a loud, irrational, crude, outside world. Today, libraries have become free-for-all entertainment complexes filled with rowdy teens, deviants, drugs, and even sex toys. Lockdowns and chaperones are often necessary.

What happened?

Don Borchert was a short-order cook, door-to-door salesman, telemarketer, and Christmas-tree-chopper before landing a job in a California library. He never could have predicted his encounters with the colorful kooks, touching adolescents, threatening bullies, and tricksters who fill the pages of this hilarious memoir.

In Free for All, Borchert offers readers a ringside seat for the unlikely spectacle of mayhem and absurdity that is business as usual at the public library. You’ll see cops bust drug dealers who’ve set up shop in the men’s restroom, witness a burka-wearing employee suffer a curse-ridden nervous breakdown, and meet a lonely, neglected kid who grew up in the library and still sends postcards to his surrogate parents—the librarians. In fact, from the first page of this comic debut to the last, you’ll learn everything about the world of the modern-day library that you never expected.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780753515013
  • Publisher: Random House UK
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 665,823
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Borchert lives in Lomita, California and still has his job in the public library. This is his first book.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

Chapter 1 A Civil Servant Is Born 1

Chapter 2 A First Taste of the Library 9

Chapter 3 My First Year 15

Chapter 4 How It Used to Be 23

Chapter 5 The Reference Desk 29

Chapter 6 Illegal Activity 39

Chapter 7 The Civil Servant's Cycle of Life 47

Chapter 8 A Library Page 53

Chapter 9 The Parent Conference 63

Chapter 10 The Graduates 71

Chapter 11 Overdue Fines and Fees 77

Chapter 12 Wild Animals in the Library 85

Chapter 13 The Friends of the Library 95

Chapter 14 Volunteers 103

Chapter 15 The Renaissance Patron 111

Chapter 16 Card Registrations 117

Chapter 17 Cinco de Mayo 131

Chapter 18 MMM 141

Chapter 19 The Hair on the Back of Your Neck 149

Chapter 20 The Last Day of School 155

Chapter 21 The Summer Crew 159

Chapter 22 Love Stories 169

Chapter 23 Vacation Time 177

Chapter 24 Flying Saucers and Lemon Squares 185

Chapter 25 Senior Librarians 191

Chapter 26 Special Events 199

Afterword 207

Bibliography 211

Selected Reading 221

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