This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

by Marilyn Johnson
3.7 15

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This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson

In This Book is Overdue!, acclaimed author Marilyn Johnson celebrates libraries and librarians, and, as she did in her popular first book, The Dead Beat, discovers offbeat and eloquent characters in the quietest corners. In defiance of doomsayers, Johnson finds librarians more vital and necessary than ever, as they fuse the tools of the digital age with love for the written word and the enduring values of truth, service to all, and free speech. This Book Is Overdue! is a romp through the ranks of information professionals who organize our messy world and offer old-fashioned human help through the maze.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061962103
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/02/2010
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,117,406
File size: 417 KB

About the Author

Marilyn Johnson is a former editor and writer for Life, Esquire, and Outside magazines, and lives with her husband, Rob Fleder, in New York's Hudson Valley.


Briarcliff, New York

Place of Birth:

St. Louis, Missouri


B.A., University of Pennsylvania; M.A., University of New Hampshire

Table of Contents

1 The Frontier 1

2 Information Sickness 13

3 On the Ground 31

4 The Blog People 49

5 Big Brother and the Holdout Company 67

6 How to Change the World 87

7 To the Ramparts! 105

8 Follow That Tattooed Librarian 123

9 Wizards of Odd 133

10 Gotham City 171

11 What's Worth Saving? 213

12 The Best Day 245

Epilogue 253

Acknowledgments 263

Notes 267

Select Bibliography 277

What People are Saying About This

Pete Dexter

“To those who have imagined a dalliance with a librarian—and there are millions of us—Marilyn Johnson’s new book, chocked as it is full of strange, compelling stories, offers insight into the wildness behind the orderly facade of the humans who are at the controls of our information.”

Nora Rawlinson

“Johnson does for the library profession what Malcolm Gladwell did for the theory of memetics in The Tipping Point.”

From the Publisher

"This is one of those books, in the vein of Mary Roach's Stiff, that tackle a big topic by taking [listeners] on a chapter-by-chapter tour of eccentric characters and unlikely locations." —-The New York Times

Christopher Buckley

“Marilyn Johnsons’s marvelous book about the vital importance of librarians in the cyber age is the very opposite of a ‘Shhhhh!’ It’s a very loud ‘Hooray!’ ever so timely and altogether deserved. Move over, Google—make way for the indispensable and all-knowing lady behind the desk.”

Mary Roach

“Johnson has made her way to the secret underbelly of librarianship, and the result is both amazing and delightful. Savvy, brave, hip, brilliant, these are not your childhood librarians. And who better to tell their stories than the sly, wise Marilyn Johnson.”

Customer Reviews

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This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
ChattyPat More than 1 year ago
This book is, indeed, overdue! And thank goodness, Marilyn Johnson came out with it. In this current economy, our libraries are the best thing we've got going and anything that brings them to mind, encourages visits, urges investing time in checking them out and researching their history, is of utmost value. All that besides the fact that this is a fascinating read, well written, and I hated to see it end. Fact is, I have got to buy a copy for my first read from the library :>) Anyone who loves books, enjoys libraries...this is a must have book! Enjoy it...I sure did! And will again, many times.
marilynnewyorkMM More than 1 year ago
All who care about our libraries (and those who don't, but should) need to read this book. MJ has broadened my perspective of how libraries should and do function. Frankly, she brought me into the 21st centurey, something I probably needed. Now I go for all the classes on data bases, research, etc. that our nypl has to offer. I got this book at the library but look forward to buying the paperback edition when it comes out, for which the author has promised a much needed index, which, she said at her nypl talk, we can now get on her website of the same name. The chapters on "Wizards of Odd" and "Gotham City" are worth the price of the whole book. MJ enumerates about librarians and their avatars on their "Second Life" website, which I plan to visit soon. There was so much new material in that chapter, I had to read it in two sittings. And I was much impressed with the recording of her visit to the secretive Board of Trustees meeting at the NYPL in the "Gotham City" chapter. She's surely the only non-librarian-trustee who ever breached that security!! WOW!! It is true that her style is a bit breezy and superenthusaistic, so it might leave you a bit breathless, but so what?! I am so glad she wrote this book.
Jdemet More than 1 year ago
The radio gave way to television, which is giving way to the Internet--yet they're all still around. That's because they all still do the same thing, entertain and inform. A medium delivers the message. If you're interested in newspapers, magazines, books and have been caught on the Internet, then this book is something to consider. It's not a screed or a polemic, but a breezy account of the proof that the more things change the more they remain the same. We need help. And it's there. Ms. Johnson certainly strikes you as someone who cares deeply about all these things, but who also has the light touch to keep anyone from moaning into despair. She's surely one who would help even a shy boy scout usher the elderly across the street--and then have something nice for them to eat on the other side. There's more optimism in this book than someone playing with loaded dice. John DeMetropolis
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book about librarians and how they are keeping up with the times of advancing technology. Jms
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Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
"This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All" by Marilyn Johnson is a non-fiction account of the author's research and pontifications of how librarians will guide our culture into technological literacy. The book paints a picture of how the role of librarians is changing with technology. The book is divided into 12 distinct chapters, these don't have to be read in order because each chapter stands on its own. Disclaimer: I am a big fan of public libraries. Public libraries are some of the few public buildings the public actually uses. Whether you are rich or poor, educated or not and no matter to which political party you donated to, you are always welcome at your local library - they are the great equalizer of our society. I loved what this book was trying to do - make librarians relevant at the age of Google. Being in the IT field for the past 20 years (wow, it really has been that long) I can certainly appreciate the "information overload" message and how sifting through mountains of information could be a show stopper (how can you possibly make a decision?) unless you know how to find the relevant information. But we don't even need to go this far - in some states you cannot even file for unemployment benefits unless you do it on-line. Each chapter in the book has a different focus, some chapters were more interesting than the others but they are mostly independent from one another. Ms. Johnson explores different aspects of the job librarians do everyday (archiving, categorizing and helping patrons) with an eye towards the technological modernization of their profession. When it comes to organizational models this book is fun, honest and a fast read. Even though the book is well written, the chapter where Ms. Johnson explores the online librarian games and fantasy world is.well.boring. However, if you trudge through it (or skip it) the book keeps on with its fascinating premise. I wish this book would have been more focused. While every section certainly has its merits, most everyone who will pick up this book knows the relevancy of librarians to us "commoners" and most of the book is about the author's experiences researching.this book. The points in the book would make a great reference point next time you go to the town meeting to argue against slashing the library's budg
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Mupples More than 1 year ago
Another reviewer claimed that all the information was there, it just needed better organization. It highlighted a lot of the new innovations that librarians are using to stay 'up to date'- but the most alarming thing it leaves out is their struggle amid budget slashing and economic downturn. Some of the librarians even hinted at it, like the one in NYPL who knew he would be reshuffled or fired. Instead of investigating that, she goes off in weird tangents about administration vs professional pay and archiving. The author is even shocked to find out librarians write naughty tell all blogs anonomously...but doesnt bother to really get down to the nitty gritty. If you want to know about the realistic world of a librarian, then read those blogs. I felt I didnt learn anything worth while when it comes to the day to day of this profession. Its skippable.
AngieMarie More than 1 year ago
Let's face it: avid readers like books, and so it is natural that they will like libraries, and a book about librarians sounds like a real winner. As someone who also enjoys using the many benefits of technology, I was especially drawn to a book subtitled ,"How Libraries and Librarians Can Save Us All". From the title, the cover, and the book jacket narrative, one expects the book to be light in tone, which I enjoy. A light tone, however, doesn't excuse a light approach to organization or balance, and The Book is Overdue fails in that regard. The first part of the book starts out well enough. There is good material about how technology is affecting library schools, patron services, and even the nature of libraries themselves. I was intrigued by the virtual libraries in virtual-reality game-playing worlds. And certainly no booklover can fail to cheer at the librarian heroes who defied the FBI in order to protect the reading habits of their patrons. After that, the book went rapidly downhill, both in content and organization. Ms. Johnson did a tremendous amount of research and clearly loved every minute of it; then it seems she came back and just spewed it all out without enough attention to organization. The book skips around distractingly and annoyingly. For example, the chapter Gotham City is primarily about the New York Public Library, but in the middle of it there is a long digression describing a specialized boxing library, after which the chapter returns to the Public Library. The boxing library does show another interesting aspect of libraries, but did the discussion of it really belong in the middle of the Public Library presentation? The book also needs more balance. In her haste to assure readers that not all librarians wear flat shoes, buns, and go home to live with aging mothers, Ms. Johnson perhaps goes too far in the other direction and seems to glory in portraits as counterculture and bizarre as possible. There could have been more about librarians who are progressive in their professions but a bit more traditional in their personal habits. Ms. Johnson obviously loves books and libraries as much as I do; she bubbles with enthusiasm. I just wish she had shared her enthusiasm in a more disciplined way. If you are a bibliophile who enjoys offbeat anecdotal narrative and can tolerate a rather stream-of-consciousness technique, then you will probably like this book a lot.. If, however, you prefer a book from which you learn something and admire a more orderly style, then you should look somewhere else.
L.A.Carlson-writer More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of the library in general so I was looking forward to being impressed with this book. I had to wait several weeks to get it from the library. This book is difficult to read because it needs better editing. The sentences run on continually and conversations begin suddenly. There are pieces of history lost in long paragraphs. I began bored with it after a few chapters. It's interesting to read the progression of libraries into the computer age, how librarians had to learn computer lingo instead of just being a source of information. I would have enjoyed reading more first hand accounts from long-time librarians. The upside of this book is that every community needs a thriving library and every citizen should possess a library card.