Edition: Hardcover
Sale price$21.95


Published by: Orchises Press, 2002

Language: English

Format: Hardcover

Number of pages: 141

ISBN: 9780914061915

Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches

Everyone who has used a public library can mouth the usual notions about the people who work behind the desks. But what really happens in a large public library? What are the social and cultural dynamics that make this continually changing and valuable institution what it is?


In this illuminating, profound, richly allusive, and frequently hilarious book, Stephen Akey answers those questions by giving an extraordinary account of his own experiences as a librarian. In coruscating prose, he depicts, more vividly than it has ever been done, a culture most of us know only through hearsay and cliché.



Stephen Akey, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, works in the library system there. He is the author of College: a Memoir.



Having shared his academic experiences in College: A Memoir (Orchises, 1996), Akey now graduates to the library world, recounting the jobs he held in New York City public libraries -- from cataloging to phone reference and back to cataloging. Writing in a congenial and flowing style, Akey offers a humorous and sometimes cynical look at the inner workings of the New York Public Library system, which rings true for all public libraries. Like Will Manley's essays, Akey's insights give us all something to which we can relate. Now cow is sacred as Akey gives his refreshingly honest take on library schools, Library Journal ("the only issue . . . I ever look forward to is the annual one devoted to new buildings and restorations"), information science, and the philosophy of librarianship in general. But when he writes, "What I do remember is the buzz I got from helping a patron track down a bibliographic citation that the other librarians had missed," you know that librarianship is in his blood. In the end you know Akey is not anti-library, he just doesn't like where libraries seem to be going. -- Tim Daniels, Library Journal, March 15, 2002

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