Scott Douglas is a librarian at the Anaheim Public Library, a job he has been chronicling for the McSweeney's Web site since 2003. He is the author of "Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian.” He teaches humor and memoir writing for the Gotham Writers' Workshop. For more information, visit his website: www.scottdouglas.org
QUIET, PLEASE: DISPATCHES FROM A PUBLIC LIBRARIAN
An unexpectedly raucous and illuminating memoir set in a Southern California public library.
For most of us, librarians occupy a quiet, inconspicuous role as the occasional shushers behind the desk. But in QUIET, PLEASE, McSWEENEY’S contributor Scott Douglas takes these quirky caretakers of literature out from the safety of the stacks and places them front and center. With a keen eye for the absurd, and a Keseyesque cast of characters, Douglas delivers a revealing and often hilarious look into a familiar, innocuous setting that’s surprisingly anything but.
Witness the librarian who thinks Thomas Pynchon is Julia Roberts’s latest flame, the technician with a penchant for French pop, the patron who believes the government is canceling her print jobs, and the countless teenagers who know exactly where to shelve suggestions for further reading.
Punctuated by his own highly subjective research into library history – from Andrew Carnegie’s Gilded Age to today’s Afghanistan – Douglas’s account offers insight into the past, present, and future of a social institution entering the digital age. And as his own library attempts to adapt and to redefine its place in the community at large, Douglas also finds himself searching for a place among the odd, exasperating, and desperately human lives around him. The result is a humorous and surprising take on the world of our literary public servants.
“Interesting, irreverent, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny…Give a copy to your favorite librarian.”—Augusta Metro Spirit, 9/10/08
“Douglas opens the book on the burgeoning sect of hipster librarians who are shattering the image of bun-wearing shushers of the past…Through a host of oddball characters and situations, Douglas shows how public libraries are alive and thriving amid the current technological boom…[It] show[s] that the public library is more than a storehouse for books; it is a stage where casts of characters roam.”—Charleston Post and Courier, 5/31/09
“[A] cleverly written book…Scott Douglas brings us into the stacks.”—Chicago Tribune, 5/10/08, Editor’s Choice
“Scott Douglas is pretty cool for a librarian…His clear belief in the importance of libraries for communities gives the book heart.”—London Paper, 5/6/08