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McSweeney's contributor Douglas was a college student who liked books and needed a job, so he became a page in a "run-down" Anaheim public library. He soon discovered the "dark truth about librarians"-that they don't actually read much. Still, lacking better career plans, he accepted a state grant to get a degree in library science. The more he got to know his local branch, the more it felt like "watching a soap"; the staff was "like a family." When he's not repeating petty tales of staff infighting, Douglas focuses on four types of library users: teens, homeless people, crazy people and the elderly. According to him, most of them smell, all but the elderly make too much noise, and they all, in defiance of library rules, try to access pornography on the internet. After retelling a story of someone masturbating at the computer, or of nefarious activities in the public restroom, the author is quick to follow up with proud words about being a non-discriminatory public servant; his pieties wear thin after awhile. Early on, when Douglas realizes he's a librarian because he loves helping people he's quite likeable, but when his stories become prurient, it's a turn-off.
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ISBN-10:  0786720913
Author:  Scott Douglas
Genre:  Nonfiction
Publisher:  Da Capo Press
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Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian
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