37. Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, & Gangstas in the Public Library – Don Borchert
Hands down, this is the best account of working in a public library that I have ever read. The USA’s public libraries are the meeting place of choice for the world’s miscreants…and people who want to read actual books (sometimes). My favorite thing about the miscreants is that they’re same all across the land. Every single library employee has a story about some crazy person who had a significant effect on their view of other humans and the possibilities of what they can do for better or worse, although we tend to remember the ones who’ve been to the negative or absurd part of Crazytown more. And if one person goes back to Crazytown, a new crazy person arrives fresh off the bus to torture and amuse the staff like clockwork. I had the guy who looked just like the blue eagle from the Muppets and consistently wanted to discuss what “really” happened to Jesus, the cat pee lady, the guy who dressed in scrubs but spent most of his waking hours in the computer lab looking up really seedy porn (until we caught him, obscene materials are not allowed to be viewed in public by law where I worked), the lady who wanted to know why our computers were not optimized for Farmville (as though that is possible in a public library context), the guy who hissed at me and refused to believe that the internet was available via computers and could not be checked out, and many more. This book is an excellent recollection of what librarians and all other forms of library workers put up with every day and I adore it. Way less self-righteous than Quiet, Please and therefore way better.