An Unshelved Collection
by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum
Overdue Media, Seattle, 2005. 120 pages.
We recently had a Library Staff Day, and Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum spoke, and we each received a copy of one of their books. I have seen Unshelved online, but I had forgotten just how funny their cartoons are.
Unshelved is set in Mallville Public Library. The comic is written so that even non-librarians will find it funny. However, we librarians? We think it’s hilarious. At last the world is having some of their misperceptions about libraries cleared up!
My favorite strip from this book is one they highlighted in their session. You see people running around the library, and a customer saying “I thought libraries were supposed to be quiet!” Dewey (the teen librarian) says, “You have what we call ‘The Misperception.’”
Another good series is where a customer is advocating for a vote to close the library to “save” taxpayer money. The librarians help him prepare his case and his materials. At the end, he asks, “What is this, the Twilight Zone???” Dewey says, “No, a library. We don’t have to like you to help you.”
This book also includes, in the center, a full-color graphic novelette, “Empire County Strikes Back,” when a high-tech bookmobile from a neighboring county tries to take over their customers and close their library. There’s a lovely scene at the end where Dewey explains all that librarians do for their community, which technology can never replace.
It’s time to take sides. Are you going to be seduced by the lure of high technology or are you going to support your local public library the way we support you?
I need to take another look at this webcomic. Time to sign up for those daily emails – and order more of the books.
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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.
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