41. Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian – Scott Douglas
So, I’m a librarian as I may have mentioned. And I do work in a public library. So I’ve seen everything that Scott Douglas writes about in this book and have my own little versions of every one of these stories, except for the ones about being allowed to be in charge because you can’t move up in my library. You’re either an assistant (which is my level of employment, thanks, economy) or one of the official librarians.
I began reading his dispatches when they were on McSweeney’s back in the day and I really enjoyed them. I was working in an academic library at the time; I had to deal with less smells and less crazy so they were quaint. There is a level of frustration and understanding that one comes to when one is a public servant that’s hard to explain. Helping people while not liking to help people but being unable to control your urge to help people is an inarticulate way of explaining what happens, in a way, I’ll just be trailing off over here… Anyway, when he wasn’t writing a book Scott Douglas seemed like an okay guy. The book makes him sound like a bit of a prick. One review on Amazon mentioned “pieties” that became a “turn-off” and that’s one hundred percent accurate. Even though I can completely relate to much of the book, I don’t like his attitude or the occasional interludes where he thinks he has to teach the reader something. That’s a bit much, dispatcher who gets to play solitaire at the reference desk, you have it much easier than you think. Now, go find me that article from 1975 or 1976 about a car accident that happened. You know, the one with that guy? I need his obituary. Yes, that’s all the information I have. Isn’t the microfilm indexed by article?