Yes, it has been awhile since I’ve posted some more books on my site. But I’ve been busy with work, and other stuff. Aye, it can be a bit overbearing especially when you work with the public. And since we’re talking about work (in this case my work as a librarian) I couldn’t help but introduce this delightful little ditty.
Free For All is a semi-biographical account about life of a librarian in a Californian library. In Free For All, Mr. Borchert introduces us to his humble start as a clerk in the library onwards to becoming a librarian and strange landscape of characters he encounters along the way. To most, the library is just an average ho-hum place where folks come to borrow books and DVDs. To those of us that work in the systems, we know it’s anything but dull and the stuff one encounters is sometimes better than anything most of the stuff that is on the telly. In Free For All, Mr. Borchert deals with fecal covered sex toys (now I know why the close the book slots overnight) to bathroom drug dealers to single mothers that are allergic to birth control and bent on practicing fraudulent behaviour. Surreal, you might say. But you haven’t lived until you walk into a public bathroom, prior to opening, only to discover half a bottle of Georgi’s Vodka and an opened box of orange juice on the floor. Yes, in case you missed it, someone was using our bathroom as their own personal barroom. Free For All is hilarious at most, ponderous at some points and very heartwarming (such as the neglected bi-racial kid that was virtually raised by librarians who moves away and sends them cards every year). Yes, there is an inside joke that the public library is “unofficially free daycare”. Aye but the problem with that joke is that many of us that work in the library don’t think it’s bloody funny. No seriously, especially when you have a late commute with a crappy bus route … and the buses come every twenty minutes … that is if the bus drivers decide to even keep the schedule … and Timmy’s mom just “stepped out” for the last three hours … and we REALLY need to close, you twit. Dear, oh dear, me thinks I had a flashback of sorts and as a result have detoured. At the most Don Borchert’s book is very hilarious, filled with colourful characters. At the least, it gives the reader an insight to what today’s library is like where many of the staff have more on their plate and shushing is as effective as throwing an ice cube into a forest fire. For many of us we have to have the mindset of a bouncer, FBI profiler, lawyer, teacher, forensic analyst (that stain on the returned Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue may not be Boston crème), and occasionally gets to be surrogate parents (not necessarily of our choosing … but in the end it gives us a nice fuzzy feeling … or maybe that’s the alcohol). Brilliantly written, tremendously hilarious, and very enlightening. And it’ll probably make you appreciate librarians or your local branch (if it is nothing like what you read in the book) a bit more. Maybe. Just Maybe.