Librarians don’t often receive the kind of ‘pat on the back’ that other professionals get from recipients of their services; here in book form is the appreciation that information professionals have long needed and long deserved, Marilyn Johnson’s THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, (ISBN: 9780061431609; Harper; On Sale: 2/2/2010).
While researching her 2006 title “The Dead Beat” (a fascinating and often hilarious study of the art of the obituary writer), Johnson came to the conclusion that librarians and archivists were nothing less than some of the finest professionals—not to mention the most interesting people–that she would ever come to know. They were knowledgeable, sure, but more than that, they were always looking to be of assistance. Name another profession where people actively and regularly want to volunteer their help...you might be hard-pressed to find the equivalent level of service in other fields.
Her book credits librarians of the past who have changed the way people use libraries (Frederick Kilgour, founder of OCLC) and Henriette Avram (mother of MARC), and older librarians at the forefront of changes in the library profession, such as Sanford Berman who fomented the cataloging revolution. But mostly she tells us about the librarians of today...those whose continuing fascination with knowledge and its organization extend beyond the boundaries of their workplaces.