Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodrum, Charles. Dewey Decimated (New York: Crown, 1977) 190 p.
  -------. Carnage of the Realm (New York: Crown, 1979) 152 p.
  -------. The Best Cellar (New York: St. Martin's, 1987) 218 p.
  -------. A Slip of the Tong (New York: St. Martin's, 1992) 180 p.

These all take place at the Werner-Bok Library, a fictitious private institution in Washington, D.C. Betty Crighton Jones, a young but exceptionally intelligent librarian works as Public Relations Officer at the Werner-Bok. She is assisted in solving mysteries by Dr. Edward George, the Librarian Emeritus of Yale University. Dewey Decimated and A Slip of the Tong deal with theft of rare books from the library. Each of these stories features some detailed information on various aspects of the library world: shared online cataloging, processing of gift materials, security, etc.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Goldstein, Lisa. Summer King, Winter Fool (New York: TOR, c1994) 274 p.
In this fantasy world of wizards and poet-mages the great library of Tobol An has survived for centuries. A beautiful woman named Taja works there. The library is a tower shaped like a shell spiraling upward. “Unbound manuscripts and loose rotting pages and scrolls competed for space with books bound in brass and iron and jewels.” (p. 33). 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Glancy, Diane. Designs of the Night Sky (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, c2002) 157 p.
Ada Ronner is a librarian in the Manuscripts and Rare Books Dept. at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She muses on the differences between books and traditional Cherokee storytellers. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Gill, Bartholomew. The Death of an Ardent Bibliophile (New York: William Morrow, 1995) 275 p.
Brian Herrick, the eccentric Keeper of Marsh's Library in Dublin is murdered in his home amid his private book collection. The deputy keeper is Charlotte Bing, a "tall, pretty, older woman" with ash-blond hair. "In contrast to her conventional appearance--low heels, the tweed suit, the high pile of ashen hair, and wire-frame eyeglasses--Charlotte Bing had a low, dulcet, and contained voice that McGarr found rather pleasing. He imagined that with another costume and a ... makeover, she might appear quite attractive." (p. 13). She suspects that Herrick has been stealing rare volumes from the library and replacing them with "period forgeries." The history and present state of the Marsh Library is related on pages 162-167.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Giles, Molly. Iron Shoes (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000) 239 p.
Kay Sorensen gave up dreams of being a concert pianist and now works in a small branch library threatened with closure. The head librarian Mrs. Holland is friendly but hopeless with computers.

She loved the little West Valley branch library, but you couldn’t make a life out of a place that was doomed to close soon. She thought of her morning at work—she’d read Henny Penny to a class of preschoolers, led Mrs. Holland through six trial Web searches, fixed the Xerox machine, handed a Kleenex to the homeless man sneezing behind the Wall Street Journal, cleaned out a cache of Kentucky Fried Chicken bones some teenagers had picnicked on in the Nature Nook, helped old Mr. Giddings find a magazine article on kickboxing, pinned autumn leaves and cutouts of Thanksgiving turkeys all over the bulletin boards, reshelved a cartload of murder mysteries, and fed the goldfish. None of that seemed like work. (p. 92).

Monday, December 26, 2016

Giguère, Diane. Wings in the Wind (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, c1979) 108 p. Originally published as Dans les Ailes du Vent, 1976. Translated by Alan Brown.
In the first part of this novel a woman named Amédée broods on the meaninglessness of life.

At times the world seems like a vast impersonal library. My life is just a card in one of the many drawers where our imperfections, weaknesses, and failures are compiled. There are years that will never be erased, words that can never be withdrawn and years impossible to recapture. Death, oddly enough, is not punctual, does not strike in mid-sleep and as I prepare to write in my careful archivist's hand, “November 22, 1974,” I can see the black hole, the cavity where I shall be swallowed up, the darkness of souls dispossessed. (p. 45-46).

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Gifford, Thomas. The Wind Chill Factor (New York: Ballantine, 1976) 376 p.
Paula Smithies is a young, pretty librarian in Cooper’s Falls, Minnesota.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

George, Jean. My Side of the Mountain (New York: Dutton, 1959) 178 p.
When Sam Gribley decides to live in the wilderness of the Catskills he goes to the local public library to locate Gribley Mountain. Miss Turner, the librarian "was very helpful. She was sort of young, had brown hair and brown eyes, and loved books as much as I did." Miss Turner also helps Sam with books about plants and trees and animals.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Garthwaite, Marion. Bright Particular Star (New York: Julian Messner, c1958) 190 p.
Young Torrey Thorne's plans to finish her library science degree go astray when her boyfriend proposes marriage. Despite missteps and misunderstandings, Torrey finds success as a children's librarian and story teller. This gentle coming of age story is entertaining and heart-warming.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Garrett, Truman. Murder--First Edition (New York: Arcadia House, 1956) 222 p.
Sue Young returns to the Northrup (Mass.) Public Library after an absence of some years. She does a variety of jobs, filling in where needed. She writes overdue notices, types book orders, and alphabetizes. There are mysterious happenings at the library, culminating in the murder of the Head Librarian, Frazer Sheldon and then of his assistant, Mattie Harmon. The mystery is finally seen to revolve around a large collection of rare first editions which had belonged to the former Head Librarian, Cyril Ackley. Other staff involved include Ethel Grayson (the unpleasant and generally disliked Head of Reference), Charles Hickley (elderly reference librarian who is retired involuntarily by the board of directors as a cost cutting measure), and Priscilla Dane (a young librarian). Also named in the story are Jean Fitzpatrick (Head of Children's Dept.), Kay Strong (Art Dept.), Bertha Cooke (Head of Cataloging, "Bertha was one of those rare women who pass into spinsterhood without bitterness or frustration. She was one of the mildest and gentlest people I ever knew." p. 112), Molly Ferguson, Henry W. Longfellow, and Mary Ward (Circulation). 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Garrett, George. The King of Babylon Shall not Come Against You (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1996) 336 p.
A large and varied cast of characters populates Paradise Springs, Florida. Eleanor Lealand, a librarian is one of the minor ones. She looks a lot like Judy Davis in My Brilliant Career (p. 103). She likes to wear sexy underwear. Eleanor digs up some information about things that happened in Paradise Springs in 1968.

An even more minor character is Debby Langley who is a librarian at the local college. She is compared to Joan Blondell in mid-career. (p. 77).

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Fuller, Roy. The Second Curtain (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, 1976, c1953) 191 p.
A magazine editor looking to solve a mystery goes to the London Library. When it turns out they won't tell him who checked out a book he simply calls on the telephone claiming to be a police detective. Then he gets the information. Later in the same library he has a spooky feeling he is being followed in the stacks.

Here, only thick iron grids divided the rooms from the floor beneath. As he wandered along, switching the section lights on and off, he became aware that underneath someone else was walking, following a parallel course. He stopped dead in the alley of books: in the comparative quiet that followed he heard a clank or two from the shoes of the man below on his grids, and then there was complete silence. (p. 123).

The editor escapes from the library but is badly frightened by the event.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Fry, Stephen. The Liar (New York: Soho Press, 1991) 277 p.
A brief but amusing episode in the Cambridge University Library is worth mentioning.

Librarians always seemed to treat Adrian with as much apathy and contempt as was possible without being openly rude. He would sometimes ask any one of the UL staff for a book written in, say, a rare dialect of Winnebago Indian, just for the hell of it, and they would hand it over with wrinkled noses and an air of superior scorn, as if they'd read it years ago and had long got over the stage where such obvious and juvenile nonsense could possible be of the remotest interest to them. Had they somehow seen through him or was their contempt for undergraduates universal? The specimen who had come forward now seemed more than usually spotty and aloof. Adrian favoured him with an amiable smile.
'I'd like,' he said in ringing tones, 'A Fulsome Pair of Funbags and Fleshy Dimpled Botts please, and Davina's Fun with Donkeys if it's not already out ... oh and Wheelchair Fellatio I think ...'
The Librarian pushed his spectacles up his nose.
'And Brownies and Cubs on Camp, Fido Laps it up, Drink My Piss, Bitch and A Crocodile of Choirboys. I believe that's all. Oh, The Diary of a Maryanne, too. That's a Victorian one. Here's an authorisation slip for you.'
Adrian flourished a piece of paper.
The librarian swallowed as he read it.

Tut-tut, thought Adrian. Showing Concern And Confusion. Infraction of Rule One of the Librarian's Guild. He'll be drummed out if he's not careful. (p. 52).

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Frost, Frances. Innocent Summer (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, c1936) 365 p.
In this portrait of rural village life the librarian, Miss Louella Barton, plays a minor role.

she was nervous as seven cats and cranky, but she didn't say anything if he just sat still and read. What she didn't like was being asked where a book was in the stacks. He could hunt and find what he wanted and sit with his head in his hands while she chased other kids out for whispering and giggling. He always felt guilty about escaping her sharp-tongued wrath, but he was grateful for the musty peace of the place. (p. 23-24).

As you might imagine most residents don't like to go into the little red brick library.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Friend, Catherine. A Pirate's Heart (Valley Falls, NY: Bold Stroke Books, 2008) 316 p.
Emma Boyd takes time off from her job as assistant librarian at the Conrad Kline Rare Book Collection at the University of Minnesota. She is searching for stolen maps but also looking for a long lost pirate map. Her job these days mostly consists of finding ways to cut the budget. Emma encounters varying levels of security as she visits various rare book libraries around the midwest.

On the way she discovers love with the female private investigator she is working with.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Freeman, James A. Parade of Days ([U.S.]: Xlibris, c2004) 278 p.
Three homeless people live in the ceiling crawlspace of the Bucks County Community College Library. They sleep during the day and come down at night to raid the staff break rooms and pick up supplies. They find books to take with them that they read and discuss.

The Librarian, Margaret Dorris, in her seventies and still full of energy, likes to embrace causes and lives in the moment. When the three hideaways are found and arrested she invites them into her home.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Frederick, Michael. Shy Ann (Lajolla, CA: M. Frederick, 2002) 240 p.
A self-published author named Dwayne tours the country stopping at public libraries to promote his books. Meanwhile his sister, Karen Bayer, a librarian in Arizona uses her access to circulation records to let Dwayne know where his books are being read so that he can try selling more in those areas.

A librarian named Ann Bruin likes Dwayne's books and wants to help him write and sell more.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Frederick, K.C. Country of Memory (Sag Harbor, NY: Permanent Press, 1998) 240 p.
Marit has “eerily white skin and bleached hair” and wears a turtleneck under her jacket.

You don’t dress like a librarian.” He still wondered how this exotic-looking woman had managed to spring like a jack-in-the-box from the comely, demure and well-groomed wife he’d known.” (p. 64).

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fraser, Hermia. One Touch of Murder (New York: Arcadia House, c1953) 224 p.
In the small western town of Caselton the public library is normally quiet. The librarian is Miss Cora Lindall, a small woman with a cultured sounding but sometimes cold voice. Miss Cora is assisted by the beautiful Helene Cabell and the untidy Lotta Smith. The library becomes much less quiet when a reader and then Larry, the “boy helper,” are murdered.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Frank, Pat. Alas Babylon (New York: Bantam Books, 1976) 312 p.
The librarian of Fort Repose, Florida is Alice Cooksey, “tiny, drab in black and gray, an active, angry sparrow of a woman ...” (p. 22). She is thoughtful and sensible when the nuclear holocaust changes the world in an instant. She is ready when the sudden change of circumstances makes information so important and the small public library busier than it has ever been.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

France, Anatole.  The Shirt” In The Seven Wives of Bluebeard, p. 125-231 (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1924) 231 p. Translated by D.B. Stewart.
On a quest to find a happy man, the king's counselors consult with the Keeper of the King's Library, Monsieur Chaudesaigues. He describes how the eight hundred thousand books that surround him are constantly speaking and all saying different things.

Gentlemen, as a result of listening to this universal clatter I shall go mad, as all those have done who dwelt before me in this hall of innumerable voices, unless they were naturally idiots when they came, like my venerable colleague, Monsieur Froidefond, whom you see sitting opposite me, cataloguing with peaceful ardour. Simple he was born, and simple he remains.... Monsieur Froidefond has a simple mind and a pure soul. He lives catalogically.” (p. 166-7).

The librarian then arrives at the scholarly and logical conclusion that a happy man must be a lucky man.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

France, Anatole. The Revolt of the Angels (New York: Crown Publishers, c1914) 348 p.
The Baron Alexandre d'Esparvieu collected many books and now, a generation later, his family has a huge and valuable library. Bibliothèque Esparvienne is under the care of a librarian, Monsieur Julien Sariette.

Endowed with business-like energy and dogged patience, Monsieur Sariette himself classified all the members of this vast body. The system he invented and put into practice was so complicated, the labels he put on the books were made up of so many capital letters and small letters, both Latin and Greek, so many Arabic and Roman numerals, asterisks, triple asterisks, and those signs which in arithmetic express powers and roots, that the mere study of it would have involved more time and labour than would have been required for the complete mastery of algebra, and as no one could be found who would give the hours, that might be more profitably employed in discovering the law of numbers, to the solving of these cryptic symbols, Monsieur Sariette remained the only one capable of finding his way among the intricacies of his system, and without his help it had become an utter impossibility to discover, among the three hundred and sixty thousand volumes confided to his care, the particular volume one happened to require. Such was the result of his labours. Far from complaining about it, he experienced on the contrary a lively satisfaction. (p. 19-20).

When books and manuscripts start disappearing from the shelves M. Sariette gets frantic. Finally it is discovered that an angel has come to Earth and wishes to educate himself. Strange events keep occurring. A very valuable book is stolen and Sariette at last goes mad. He begins hurling books out the window at passers by. Finally he is subdued and sent to an asylum.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fox, Paul. Four Men (New York: Scribner’s, 1946) 537 p.
This epic follows the lives of four young sailors from The First World War to middle age during the Second World War. One becomes a doctor and moves to Boston. He meets a young librarian named Emma Bass, who has a good figure but a plain face. She is a sad and lonely single woman. The doctor is not interested in Emma but she persists and eventually they agree to marry some day. They never do.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Fowler, Helen and Bernard Harris. The Careless People (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1954) 210 p.
Esther Southey is head librarian in Sloan's Bookshop. The library is in the back of the shop.

It was a quiet place where people talked gently, and the main part of the shop beyond the library confines, where many people walked and talked and moved, was like a wide ocean whose crashing waves did not enter this quiet bay, this peaceful harbor. (p. 104).

Esther started working there when her husband was away during the war but she stayed when she met Martin Sloan the youngest partner.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fowler, Earlene. Goose in the Pond (New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 1998, c1997) 305 p.
Nora Cooper, the storyteller at the San Celina, California library, is murdered. The library staff including Nora’s brother Nick Cooper, the head reference librarian, Jillian Sinclair, the library director, and Delores Ayala, mourns. Why would anyone kill a storyteller?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fowler, Christopher. Rune (New York: Ballantine, 1991) 340 p.
The basement of an old and rundown London library houses a great collection of occult books. Dorothy Huxley is the librarian. “With her hair tied in a bun and a woolen cardigan draped over her narrow shoulders, she appeared more like a pensioner checking for the latest romance novel.” (p. 96). Her assistant is Frank Drake.

His enthusiasm was boundless and mostly misapplied.... Some people lacked the necessary equipment to face the rigors and responsibilities of modern life. Frank Drake was one of them. Academically bright but physically useless, he was doomed to be a perpetual student, full of ideas about how to change the world, but incapable of changing a plug.... He possessed an aptitude for a startling array of skills, but his ever-shifting attention destroyed his prospects in any single career. His mind was a jumble of good intentions, a confusion of half-baked plans that constantly intruded into his work. Twenty-eight years old, slightly built and prematurely balding, he seemed destined to pass into middle age ten years ahead of other people.
Although most of the general library sections were depleted, the building’s single greatest strength lay in the volumes on ancient history and the supernatural which Dorothy’s mother had collected together. A red rope separated the entrance from the public section of the library. The stairs led down to the occult reference collection, housed in the basement.... The overhead light panel flickered on. As the smell of decay filled her nostrils, she took stock of the room. The far wall of the basement had a severe case of rising damp, and most of the stacks nearest to it—TEMPLARS, TETRAGRAMS, THOUGHT READING, TRANSMUTATION—were steeped in mildew. (p. 97).

Dorothy stood in the basement of the library and felt the frightening weight of the words which surrounded her. It was as if the sheer volume of thought held here had created an artificial gravity within the room. She felt the bloating damp which mottled the pages of each ancient tome pressing against her skin, but still dangerous that their mere transcription had caused untold suffering. Lives had been lost building this collection. Theories with their seeds in one volume had been nurtured in another decades later; and later still had borne their poisoned fruit in detailed manuscripts. The collection, completed by her mother as she neared her final breath, now lay in waste and decay, its secrets undiscovered.
But this was how it had been intended.
For although the collection represented itself as harmless esoterica to the casual browser, it revealed to the dedicated scholar a universe of cruelty, for the simple reason that it was perfectly complete. No further study was needed than careful perusal of the books within these walls. Their knowledge, once it had been truly comprehended and applied, would yield a harvest of such darkness that no light would ever penetrate the void again. The library could kill. (p. 154-55).

Dorothy uses the occult reference collection to help foil an international conspiracy. The general collection also comes in handy when some of Dorothy’s friends try to create a videotape with a subliminal message. They arrange the book spines on the shelves in the background to spell out the message.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fothergill, Jessie. Probation (Leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1881) 2 v.
A young man and woman become acquainted from adjacent tables in the Reading Room of the Thanshope Free Library.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Foster, Robert. Murder Goes to College, or Murder in the Archives (Elgin, IL: Tenth Muse Press, c1998) 242 p.
Badger Smith is a librarian at Carlton-Stokes College in Walden, Missouri. When head librarian Graham Carruth discovers that some rare and valuable books are missing Badger investigates. He is aided by two visiting aunts from Chicago, Blanche and Bernadine Badger, both retired librarians.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fontaine, Don. Sugar on the Slate (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, c1951) 278 p.
The Librarian of Peyton Junior High School was the short chunky Amy Beasley. Amy was never sure where she fit into the school hierarchy: she wasn't exactly faculty, yet she “possessed a college major in library science. This fact was certainly enough to raise her slightly above the position of strictly clerical help.” (p.95).

After years of painstaking effort Amy felt that the library showed signs of becoming an artistic success. Her only regret was that books came to her in such a variety of sizes and colors that she was unable to show her keen sense of harmonious arrangement. The Dewey System hampered her. She had never completely abandoned the idea of perfecting a system which would allow her to put all the small red books on one shelf, the big blue ones on another and so forth until she had taken care of all shapes and hues. She planned to call it the Beasley System. (p. 97).

Amy has a mystery to solve when she starts finding books with strips of pages torn out.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Foley, Rae. Girl on a High Wire (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1969) 218 p.
Catherine Briggs is a librarian. The small town public library she manages is represented briefly in the first three pages as a dreary place: "The library was about as varied and exciting as a treadmill." Upon arriving for work she needs only change the date on her stamp and she is ready for the "thin trickle of women, mostly elderly, coming to select 'a nice romance with a happy ending.'"

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Flower, Amanda. Maid of Murder (Detroit: Five Star, 2010) 281 p.
India Hayes is a young reference librarian at the Ryan Memorial Library of Martin College, near Akron. She is also an aspiring artist. Her fellow reference librarian is Bobby McNally. The cataloger is a giant natty Georgian named Jefferson Island. The library director is Lasha Lint. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Flint, Margaret. Deacon's Road (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1938) 310 p.
Young and beautiful, Shirley Wells “was, she hoped, trained to be a librarian.” (p. 87). She takes a job at the Foxboro, Maine, library but what she really wants is to get married.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fletcher, Joyce Fay. The Library (Xlibris Press, c2010) 352 p.
The Sojourner Truth branch of the Washington, D.C. Public library system is the setting for this exploration into the life of a library staff. There is Ursula Swann, the young reference librarian who is happy and proud to be a librarian and who works hard to be good at it. Jackie Ramsey, the assistant manager has chronic health problems although some believe she is abusing sick leave privileges. Monique Powell is the circulation supervisor. Susan McCall is the children's librarian. The manager, Albert Spencer is old and just wants everyone to calm down. The issues they deal with are familiar to many librarians. Staff rivalry, homeless and mentally ill patrons, censorship, budget cuts. And occasionally they get to help someone find the book or information they need.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fiske, John. The Library Book (Pride's Crossing, Mass.: Black Spruce Media, c2006) 264 p.
A novel about the design and construction of the New York Public Library 42nd Street branch, this is really more of a book about architecture than about libraries. That said, it is an interesting look at all the considerations involved and how decisions were made.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fiske, Dorsey. Bound to Murder (New York: St. Martin's, 1987) 305 p.
The Cambridge University Library is in an uproar when a rare copy of Chaucer's Anelida and Arcite is missing from the rare book room. The Rare Books Librarian, Mr. J.H.R. Manthorpe, being absent, the investigation is begun by Professor Fenchurch who is interested in mysteries. Later Manthorpe plays a brief Dr. Watson role to Fenchurch's Holmes. Meanwhile a bookbinder named Welby is acting suspiciously. The University Library is closed for several days while a search for the missing book is executed. The climax of the story plays out in the stacks and at the top of the tower of the library.
The Sheepshanks College library is the scene of another theft. Here we meet Under-Librarian Mole, who "bore a close resemblance to a walking-stick with the handle at right angles to its shaft, his head and shoulders serving as the former" (p. 5). We also meet Librarian Grierson: "Rotund and somewhat fussy, he was nonetheless an unexceptionable librarian and, in marked contrast to his predecessor, an accomplished scholar and administrator" (p. 7).

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fiske, Dorsey. Academic Murder (New York: St. Martin's, 1980) 244 p.
Sheepshanks College, Cambridge has two librarians: Ernest Garmoyle of the Prye Library, who is a good scholar but an unpleasant man and an alcoholic, and Mr. Smythson of the Abbot's Library. The two librarians argue over a Shakespeare manuscript, which Garmoyle finds in the Abbot's Library and removes to the Prye Library. The Pryevian Library is described on p. 61-64. The University Library is also described:

The rare books room of the University Library at Cambridge forms a hideous contrast to its equivalent in Oxford's Bodley. The scholar who consults a volume in one of the bays of Duke Humphrey, the rare book reading-room of the Bodleian, performs his researches in surroundings permeated with an atmosphere of medieval peace. The day stretches before him in infinite leisure, as though hours might as easily be years or centuries: a sense of timelessness pervades the studies of one who performs his labours in umber twilight at a desk where once clerks pored over chained volumes written in a crotchety Gothic hand.

It is regrettable that Cambridge's chief library possesses no antique nook, no venerable cranny where the learned may contemplate the erudition of past ages in a setting suitably archaic. Instead, the graceless brick edifice which so brazenly rears its obscene tower to dominate the Cambridge skyline provides for the purpose a room more fit for the filing of forms by drab and faceless minor civil servants than the faun-filled researches of classicists or the gilded and jewelled imaginings of medieval scholars. The Anderson Room, an uninspiring oblong, is furnished with sturdy, utilitarian and unlovely tables and chairs constructed of yellow oak. Raising one's eyes from (for example) the elegantly spare type-face with which Nicolas Jenson printed his edition of Pliny, one is abruptly and rudely recalled to the present rather than gradually acclimatized, as one is at Bodley: indeed, a scholar in the Anderson Room is apt to incur a case of the aesthetic and intellectual bends. (p. 209-210).

Friday, November 25, 2016

Fisher, David E. Katie's Terror (New York: William Morrow, 1982) 263 p.
Katherine McGregor Townsend is a librarian at the 42nd Street branch of the New York Public Library. We find her at her job in the information booth and in the closed stacks, with descriptions of shelving and retrieving procedures. We learn that the books are shelved by size rather than by subject. "The library is, in these deepest depths of what is after all its soul, the very antithesis of its public conception; there is little quiet, calm, and peace here. At night, of course, it is a different story. At night the stacks are empty, deserted, dark and very nearly haunted. A spine-chilling chase in the stacks and a falling stack of books climaxes this entertaining story. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Findley, Timothy. Headhunter (New York: Crown, 1993) 440 p.
Lilah Kemp was once Chief Librarian at Rosedale Public Library. The library burned to the ground and Lilah developed severe schizophrenia. Now she lives in Toronto where she pushes an empty baby buggy and visits the Metro Library nearly every day. Lilah has the power to let characters escape from their books into the real world. We are introduced briefly to Myra Cherniak, who works at the Information Desk at the Metro Library (p. 353-54).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fforde, Jasper.  Thursday Next in First Among Sequels (New York: Viking, c2007) 363 p.
As Thursday goes in and out of her own books, more information about the Great Library is revealed.

Because there are very few authors whose names begin with Q, X, and Z, floors seventeen, twenty-four and twenty-six were relatively empty and thus free for other purposes. The seventeenth floor housed the Mispeling Vyrus Farst Respons Groop, the twenty-fourth floor was used essentially for storage, and the twenty sixth was where the legislative body that governs the BookWorld had taken up residence: the Council of Genres....
"The Great Library looks smaller from the outside," observed Thursday5, staring out the window at the rain-streaked exterior.
She was right. The corridors in the library below could be as long as two hundred miles in each direction, expandable upon requirements, but from the outside the library looked more akin to the Chrysler Building, liberally decorated with stainless-steel statuary and measuring less than two hundred yards along each face. And even though we were only on the twenty-sixth floor, it looked a great deal higher. I had once been to the top of the 120-story Goliath Tower at Goliathopolis, and this seemed easily as high as that. (p. 52-53).

The Cheshire Cat has now assumed command of Text Grand Central and communicates by means of a mobilefootnoterphone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fforde, Jasper. Something Rotten (New York: Penguin, 2005) 385 p.
The librarian Cheshire Cat make a brief appearance with some crucial information.

When he first started working in Alice in Wonderland he was known as the Cheshire Cat, but the authorities moved the Cheshire county boundaries, and he thus became the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat, but that was a bit of a mouthful, so he was know more affectionately as the Cat formerly known as Cheshire or, more simply, the Cat. His real name was Archibald, but that was reserved for his mother when she was cross with him.
He worked very closely with us at Jurisfiction, where he was in charge of the Great Library, a cavernous and almost infinite depository of every book ever written. But to call the Cat a librarian would be an injustice. He was an überlibrarian—he knew about all the books in his charge. When they were being read, by whom—everything. (p. 257).

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fforde, Jasper. The Well of Lost Plots (New York: Viking, 2003) 375 p.
Jurisfiction agent Thursday Next continues to use the library in her law enforcement duties.

To understand the Well you have to have an idea of the layout of the Great Library. The library is where all published fiction is stored so it can be read by the readers in the Outland; there are twenty-six floors, one for each letter of the alphabet. The library is constructed in the layout of a cross with the four corridors radiating from the center point....
Beneath the Great Library are twenty-six floors of dingy yet industrious subbasements known as the Well of Lost Plots. This is where books are constructed, honed and polished in readiness for a place in the library above–-if they make it that far. The failure rate is high. Unpublished books outnumber published ones by an estimated eight to one. (p. 1).

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fforde, Jasper. Lost in a Good Book (New York: Viking, 2002) 399 p.
Special agent Thursday Next finds the Library of the Jurisfiction Dept. which allows her access to the realities of all books.

I was in a long, dark, wood-paneled corridor lined with bookshelves that reached from the richly carpeted floor to the vaulted ceiling.... The library appeared endless; in both directions the corridor vanished into darkness with no definable end. But this wasn’t important. Describing the library would be like going to see a Turner and commenting on the frame. On all of the walls, end after end, shelf after shelf, were books. Hundreds, thousands, millions of books. Hardbacks, paperbacks, leatherbound, uncorrected proofs, handwritten manuscripts, everything. I stepped closer and rested my fingertips lightly against the pristine volumes. They felt warm to the touch, so I leaned closer and pressed my ear to the spines. I could hear a distant hum, the rumble of machinery, people talking, traffic, seagulls, laughter, waves on rocks, wind in the winter branches of trees, distant thunder, heavy rain, children playing, a blacksmith’s hammer-—a million sounds all happening together. And then, in a revelatory moment, the clouds slid back from my mind and a crystal-clear understanding of the very nature of books shone upon me. They weren’t just collections of words arranged neatly on a page to give the impression of reality–each of these volumes was reality. The similarity of these books to the copies I had read back home was no more than the similarity a photograph has to its subject. These books were alive! (p. 174-175).

The librarian is the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. He tells Thursday how to enter the books and warns her of agents who have been lost forever in books.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Fergusson, Harvey. Hot Saturday (New York: Knopf, 1926) 261 p.
Alma Budlong is the librarian in a small western town. Alma's father is a retired judge and the Budlongs were once social leaders in the town. Now that old Judge Budlong is old and senile their social prestige has fallen on hard times but Alma still has influence. “She was one of the first women in town to smoke openly. Not many others would have dared to start, but when Alma started, several dared to follow.” (p. 120).

In the library, too, she had done things no one else would have attempted. She made the city council double the appropriation for books and she made the board of governors buy whatever books she told them to buy. She certainly had furnished the town with some spicy reading. Out went the Elsie books and Mühlbach's historical romances and a lot of other stuff that had slept under the dust for years. In came H.G. Wells and Arnold Bennett and even Dreiser and Mencken. (p. 120-121).

Alma had once been involved with a man but he had left town suddenly. Now a young friend describes her with

the pity of youth full-blown for youth beginning to wane. Alma could still make herself look young sometimes at night, but lying tired in daylight she seemed almost middle-aged. Her figure was still good and she had pretty ankles, but her neck was beginning to wrinkle and she had a few grey hairs – and then her glasses.... Funny what a handicap glasses were to a woman. Men never liked them and they must be always falling off and getting in the way at critical moments.... That was another trouble with working. You wore glasses and looked tired. Alma began to look old just about the time she went to work at the library. (p. 30).

Those comments I think are meant to be more revealing of the young friend than of Alma.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Faucher, Kane X. The Infinite Library (U.S.A.: Civil Coping Mechanisms, c2011) 510 p.
Faucher has taken Borges' “The Library of Babel” and expanded it into a novel. It starts with a scholar studying at the Vatican Library being recruited by a man named Castellemare to work in the infinite library. Castellemare calls himself a librarian. The infinite library comprises all possible books. Occasionally one of the books escapes into the real world and must be retrieved.
The scholar considers working for Castellemare.

Yes, I had considered becoming a librarian, but I love books too much to merely be a functionary who must fight a losing battle of maintaining order in a collection that constantly expands, and the gruff disrespect of the patrons who would wrongly re-shelf at will.” (p. 17).

The scholar explores the infinite library on his own and eventually meets another librarian named Jorge Luis Borges. He is friendly and explains the simple library rules.

don't be disruptive, keep the books in order, no smoking or eating, and no defacement. (p. 333).

There is an order of silent, hooded figures called Devorants who study in the library.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fargo, Lucile F. Marian-Martha. illustrations by Dorothea Warren (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1936) 257 p.
Two school girls learn about libraries and begin their own library careers in this novel for young people. Marian Pearce is pretty, likes lettering and binding; tasks in which she works alone. Martha Webster is plain looking, but outgoing. She is an excellent organizer. They both work in their high school library with the enthusiastic, helpful librarian, Miss Hand, and the less enjoyable Miss Brook. They think about choosing a career:

Sometimes, of course, Marian and Martha thought about being librarians. Whenever some other vocational bubble burst, Marian thrilled to the idea of a life devoted to books. "You know, Martha, I just love to read," she would say, "and Mother thinks being a librarian is such a genteel occupation because you don't have to be commercial and you can be lovely and charming like those girls at the Public Library loan desk who always know the latest novels because they have so much time to read."
"But Marian," objected Martha, "you know yourself how much work there is to do in a library because you've helped to do it. Just look at Miss Hand! She never gets any time to read until she goes home. And think of all she has to know! She must have studied years and years." (p. 69-70).

After high school they get summer jobs at the local public library. The librarian is Mr. Fisher. Martha helps with the newsletter and spends time in various parts of the library. Marian works in Cataloging, which does not work out because she finds that she makes too many minor errors. It is here that the girls learn of the requirements to become librarians and the fact that librarians are "the most poorly paid professional workers in the United States" (p. 144).
Both girls attend the same college and then library school. Martha helps at an ALA convention and gets to meet Mr. Ruddiger, ALA President, and Miss Englebrecht, President elect.

After library school Marian, who has specialized in rare books, gets a job as director of a special collection in her college library. Martha goes to the Crenville County Library, where she is hired by Jackson Byrd to help build a new library system in an impoverished southern county.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Fante, John. The Road to Los Angeles (Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press, 1996) 164 p.
Delusions of grandeur and sexual obsession cloud the mind of young Arturo Bandini. He goes to a branch of the Los Angeles Public Library to read books he cannot understand and becomes infatuated with the beautiful blond librarian, Miss Hopkins. The facts about Miss Hopkins are engulfed in Bandini's ravings. “Miss Hopkins was in the library every afternoon, floating on white legs in the folds of her loose dresses in an atmosphere of books and cool thoughts.” (p. 50).

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fairbank, Janet Ayer. Rich Man, Poor Man (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1936) 626 p.
Barbara Jackson is the assistant librarian in Elida, Kansas in 1912. The head librarian is the portly, enthusiastic Miss Jessup. Babs, “slim lithe and young” (p. 59), is known as an eloquent speaker on political topics, especially prohibition and female suffrage.

The girl took off her hat with a dramatic gesture and disclosed the fact that her hair was cut short, like a boy's. It lay close to her head instead of puffing out the way other women's hair did, and it made her look very queer-- advanced … (p. 60).

Babs gives up her small library and her small town to marry a rich boy from Chicago where they move and become involved in national politics. Although she returns to Elida for visits she never goes back to library work.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Evans, Rachel. Words of Love (New York: Avalon Books, 1999) 183 p.
Joanna Lee is a librarian who works for the Library Service Board in Toronto. She organizes a poetry contest and then falls in love with the winner, a lumberjack from British Columbia. When his town advertizes for a librarian she takes the job.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Erdman, Loula Grace. Three at the Wedding (New York: Dell, 1960, c1953) 254 p.
Frances Nichols works at the public library in Kelso, Illinois under Head Librarian Miss Mattie Crowinshield. When a young man begins frequenting the library Frances gets to know him better. She helps him get a readers card. Eventually they get married and Frances quits her job. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Engstrand, Sophia Belzer. Wilma Rogers (New York: Dial, 1941) 352 p.
With a fresh new MLS from Columbia University Wilma takes the train to Milo, Illinois to begin her professional career. The Milo Public Library is a bare little storefront but Wilma sets about to improve it.

She had mentally divided her work into two parts. Outside, she must raise substantial amounts of money, and make the people of Milo aware of, and enthusiastic about, their library. Inside, she must bring the library to the highest possible level of performance and raise the circulation to the point where the demand exceeded the supply, and the people themselves began to clamor for a better library. Then, not even a new building would be too much to suggest. (p. 36-37).

Wilma is enthusiastic and friendly and soon has more people coming to check books out. She also improves the technical aspects of the library such as the catalog and circulation records. While typing a catalog card she explains to a friend, “'Some librarians get a passionate joy out of cataloging …. It gives me a dry kind of satisfaction.'” (p. 88).
Wilma becomes friends with the chairman of the library board who is also the owner of the corn factory where practically everyone in town works. His wife is an artist and rarely visits Milo, but when she does she meets Wilma and is impressed. She donates money for a new library building. Meanwhile Wilma's frequent visits with the chairman cause gossip in the town.
As with every other aspect of librarianship Wilma is ready with ideas about architectural design.

With so much land,” Wilma was saying, “the building can have depth and breadth instead of great height. The main thing is that every part of it receive much daylight. The second essential is that there be separate rooms for the young children, the adults, and the users of reference material. The book stacks should be open, but placed so that everyone using them must pass close to the librarian's desk. Wherever possible, formality should give way to grace. The library has to make up for the lack of beauty in so many homes. Then, as it is to be a memorial, it must have dignity ….” (p. 185).

And so the new library is built. Wilma organizes a Friends of the Library and begins a story time. Sometimes she muses about aspects of librarianship such as the lack of men in the profession. When the town gossip overtakes her she reflects on her job and life.

The odors, sights, sounds, touch of all the library came crowding into the small office. She felt the books in their order. She smelled the ink of the new books. She weighed in her palms an encyclopedia volume, and sensed the excitement of the chase after a reference question. She felt the hostess-like pleasure of welcoming callers to the library. Even the chafing moments of the library were sweet, compared to not having any more moments here at all....
Librarianship was a gentle world. A world lit by small fires. Giving knowledge, opening blinded eyes, and satisfying minds' thirsts—these were the spiritual call of librarianship. She was served as she served others. (p. 125-126).

Then she says,

... I told myself that I needed something besides my work; that the town was so limited. He took me out. I began to love him.”
Her mouth grew dry, and the words seemed to peel from it.
Yes, I fell in love. I said I had a right to life …. But maybe life and love are things librarians have no right to.” (p. 328).

Poor Wilma. First they tried to give her job to the old untrained woman who had mismanaged the library before. Then they wanted to give it to the untrained daughter of a board member. Even though Wilma has to leave Milo, her final victory is to convince the board to hire another trained librarian in her place.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Engel, Marian. Bear (Boston: Nonpareil Books, 2002, c1976) 121 p.
An aging librarian works in a Canadian historical institute.

Yet, when the weather turned and the sun filtered into even her basement windows, when the sunbeams were laden with spring dust and the old tin ashtrays began to stink of a winter of nicotine and contemplation, the flaws in her plodding private world were made public, even to her, for although she loved old shabby things, things that had already been loved and suffered, objects with a past, when she saw that her arms were slug-pale and her fingerprints grained with old, old ink, that the detritus with which she bedizened her bulletin boards was curled and valueless, when she found that her eyes would no longer focus in the light, she was always ashamed, for the image of the Good Life long ago stamped on her soul was quite different from this, and she suffered in contrast. (p. 2).

But when she is sent to an island in northern Ontario to catalog a private library left to the institute she finds a strange new life.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Edghill, Rosemary.  The Cloak of Night and Daggers (New York: Daw Books, 1997) 345 p.
Librarian Ruth Marlow continues to pursue her elf in this third book of The Twelve Treasures. Another elf named Gauvain Makindeor who is the Royal Librarian of Chandrakar seeks his treasure. Makindeor finds the precious Book of Airts and hides it in one of the many libraries in upstate New York. One of these is the Basingstoke College Library. The librarian here is Mrs. Dean who has not left the library in 25 years. “Barely five feet tall, she wore a long-sleeved midcalf-length dress in some dark flowered pattern. There was a paisley shawl around her shoulders, clasped firmly in place with an enormous jet and amber brooch. Her steel-gray hair was done up into a thick, hairpin-studded bun from which protruded a number of yellow #2 pencils, and she wore little wire-rimmed glasses that made her resemble drawings Holly had seen of Miss Manners.” (p. 198). Two minor characters are also librarians: Carol Goodchild and Penny Canaday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Edghill, Rosemary. The Cup of Morning Shadows (New York: Daw Books, 1995) 317 p.
In this second book of the Twelve Treasures series Ruth Marlowe has her library degree and a job at the Ryerson Memorial Library in Ippisiqua, New York. She and the mysterious Library Director Nicodemus Brightlaw fall through a magical bookcase in the library basement and find themselves in the land of the elves. They later meet Philip LeStrange, one of the library students from the first book. It turns out Philip has been living in the elf world having fallen through the same bookcase.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Edghill, Rosemary. The Sword of Maiden’s Tears (New York: Daw Books, 1994) 284 p.
Library School Students at Columbia University help an elf prince recover his magic sword. The students are Ruth Marlowe who is “tall and blue-eyed, brown-haired and sensible,” (p. 9); Naomi Nasmyth, a doctoral candidate, is “tall and vivid and poised and serene and organized. Black hair and hazel eyes and sangfroid that Emma Peel would envy—not to mention good at games,” (p. 19); Michael Peacock, a tall handsome man with a mysterious past; Philip LeStrange, a sarcastic computer geek; and Jane Greyson, a short, slightly plump girl who has “wit but no real sense of humor.” Jane came from a family that could (and did) trace its lineage back to the Signers (of the Declaration of Independence) on both sides and who (Ruth gathered, mostly by omission) felt that a library degree was the height of intellectual attainment for womankind; their collective psychic feet firmly mired in the past where the two professional tracks for nonmarrying daughters were nurse and librarian.” (p. 40). Library studies don’t enter into the story, but get mentioned occasionally: “I hate cataloging, I hate cataloging exams; everybody buys LC cataloging nowadays which means that some gnome in the basement of the Library of Congress or probably his computer is making us all file Outlaws of Sherwood under Folklore and books on the Miss America pageant under Beauty Aids and what’s the point?” (p. 145).

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Edgerton, Clyde. Raney (New York: Ballantine Books, 1985) 245 p.
Charles Shepard is the assistant librarian at Listre Community College in North Carolina. Although we do not read much about his professional work we get to know him pretty well, through the eyes of his young wife. He plays banjo and loves gospel music. While married life is not everything he hoped for he is committed to making his marriage work.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1983) 502 p. A Helen and Kurt Wolff book. Originally published as Il nome della rosa (Fabbri-Bompiani, c1980) Translated from the Italian by William Weaver.
A murder is committed in a medieval monastery library.

The library was laid out on a plan which has remained obscure to all over the centuries, and which none of the monks is called upon to know. Only the librarian has received the secret, from the librarian who preceded him, and he communicates it, while still alive, to the assistant librarian, so that death will not take him by surprise and rob the community of that knowledge. And the secret seals the lips of both men. Only the librarian has, in addition to that knowledge, the right to move through the labyrinth of the books, he alone knows where to find them and where to replace them, he alone is responsible for their safekeeping. The other monks work in the scriptorium and may know the list of the volumes that the library houses. But a list of titles often tells very little; only the librarian knows, from the collocation of the volume, from its degree of inaccessibility, what secrets, what truths or falsehoods, the volume contains. Only he decides how, when, and whether to give it to the monk who requests it .... (p. 37).

The librarian is Malachi of Hildesheim. When he shows visitors the list of volumes the following ensues:

"But in what order are they listed?" He quoted from a text I did not know but which was certainly familiar to Malachi: "'The librarian must have a list of all books, carefully ordered by subjects and authors, and they must be classified on the shelves with numerical indications.' How do you know the collocation of each book?"
Malachi showed him some annotations beside each title. I read: "iii, IV gradus, V in prima graecorum"; "ii, V gradus, VII in tertia anglorum," and so on. I understood that the first number indicated the position of the book on the shelf or gradus, which was in turn indicated by the second number, while the case was indicated by the third number; and I understood also that the other phrases designated a room or a corridor of the library, and I made bold to ask further information about these last distinctions. Malachi looked at me sternly: "Perhaps you do not know, or have forgotten, that only the librarian is allowed access to the library. It is therefore right and sufficient that only the librarian know how to decipher these things."
"But in what order are the books recorded in this list?" William asked. "Not by subject, it seems to me." He did not suggest an order by author, following the same sequence as the letters of the alphabet, for this is a system I have seen adopted only in recent years, and at that time it was rarely used.
"The library dates back to the earliest times," Malachi said, "and the books are registered in order of their acquisition, donation, or entrance within our walls."
"They are difficult to find, then," William observed.
"It is enough for the librarian to know them by heart and know when each book came here. As for the other monks, they can rely on his memory." (p. 75).

The assistant librarian is Berengar of Arundel, "a pale-faced young man" (p. 82).

Friday, November 4, 2016

Easterman, Daniel. The Judas Testament (New York: HarperPaperback, 1995) 464 p.
Jack Gould is assistant curator of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin and an expert in biblical manuscripts. He is drawn into an international plot involving a mysterious scroll. Jack meets Yuri Volnukhin, director of the Russian State Library. Yuri explains that the Library is in possession of many priceless treasures plundered from the Nazis at the end of World War II. These include many ancient Hebrew manuscripts.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dwight, Olivia. Close His Eyes (New York: Harper & Brothers, c1961) 179 p.
A bibliographer named John Dryden is hired to catalogue a deceased poet's papers. Dryden does not like to be called a librarian.

In the first place I'm not one; you have to have a special sort of degree for it. In the second place, we all know what librarians are; they are nice middle-aged ladies who whisper and tell you not to mistreat the books. I am fond of many of them. But I am not one. (p. 66-67).

John speaks to the assistant college librarian, Miss Boucher, when he finds his papers have been tampered with. She explains that a spare key to the rare book vault is kept on a nail next to the door “for convenience.” (p. 153).

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dutton, Charles J. Murder in a Library (New York: A.L. Burt, c1931) 302 p.
Ruby Merton, reference librarian at a large urban public library, is found murdered in her office. She is well known and not well liked: "No one had ever called the reference librarian good-looking; there were many who said she was just the opposite. Eccentric in everything she did, like many of her type, her clothes ran to vivid, extreme colors." (p. 9-10). "... the librarian was a stickler for formality. Perhaps her long years of service at a small salary had soured her, for there was no doubt her disposition was not of the best. Few were the people that would have come into her office uninvited." (p. 20). "She came from one of the old families of the city. In her childhood they had been wealthy, but the influence and money had vanished years ago. She had been a soured, neurotic old maid, whose tongue poured out irony and contempt." (p. 143).
A murder in a library causes some surprise: "Did you ever hear of a fool crime like this, in a library, a place filled with books, with nice young girls and cranky old maids? What under heavens is there in a library to bring crime?" (p. 107). The answer soon follows:

... the women in the libraries are nice women, as you say, and the building is very much a public place. They are dealing all the time with what we call the 'dear public,' and sometimes the public is not so nice. All day long they meet various types of people; some who are intelligent, and some--the majority--who are not. Nice people, as you say, but also neurotics, cranks, selfish people. It's not an easy task and often it does things to them."
"Does what?"
"I mean this. Many of the women in that building have been there for years. Their lives are cramped to the extent that they are a bit unnatural. As they grow older, like all people who have put away from them a home and children, they become a little self-centered. Once, I suppose, there were more jealousies and more neurotics in our public libraries than in any other place, unless in the churches...."
"... once libraries were run only by women and by women who were given the jobs because of two things--family or position. They must earn a living and it was thought anyone could hand out books. So the libraries were filled with narrow, repressed, neurotic women, whose outlook on life had become a bit warped and soured. You see, in that case, instead of saying nothing could happen in a library, you should have said, anything might happen." (p. 108-9).

The above remarks notwithstanding, the Head Librarian is a man, Mr. Henry Spicer, a well-liked and dedicated professional. About the library staff in general, however, we read, "as a rule librarians were not bookish people" (p. 180). "The library staff would know they were in the safe, but they would not be very much interested in the safe or its contents. When the days' work was over, books were the last thing they wished to see" (p. 232). The story involves stolen rare books.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dutton, Charles J. Streaked with Crimson (New York: Collier, c1929) 280 p. Front Page Mysteries, second series.
Abigail Tripp is the “thin, little nervous librarian” (p. 101) in the small coastal town of Mansfield. She is curious and is always snooping on her neighbors. But when she finds one of them murdered she loses her curiosity forever.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Dutourd, Jean. The Horrors of Love (Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1967) 665 p. Translated from the French by Robin Chancellor. Originally published as Les Horreurs de L’amour (Paris: Gallimard, 1963).
Two friends discuss a womanizing mutual friend, Roberti. One of his affairs is with Odile who worked in a library. “Extremely well turned out. Immaculate hands and glossy hair. She must have been about twenty-eight or thirty. Semi-intellectual, very taken up with the things it was smart to admire. A progressive, as should be. Which didn’t prevent her from being flattered by the attentions of a Radical deputy. For her, too, Roberti was a rarity. Her collection consisted mainly of painters without talent, journalists and (fitfully) university students.” (p. 90). Odile jilts Roberti and marries another man.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dunning, John. The Bookman’s Promise (New York: Scribner, 2004) 369 p.
Coco Bujak is a retired librarian who volunteers at a nursing home. She gets to know people and writes their stories. Sometimes she hypnotizes them to get at hidden memories. She does some research in Charleston to help solve a mystery.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dumas, Alexandre. Le Chevalier D’Harmental (Boston: Little, Brown, 1893) 526 p.
The young Jean Buvat though quite stupid possesses extraordinary penmanship skills. Through a friend’s influence he procures a place in the manuscript department of the royal library. He works loyally and diligently even when the pay clerk tells him month after month that there is no money in the royal treasury. Still he works for five years without salary.

This work consisted, as usual, in classifying and labeling books. A fire having broken out a few days previously in one of the halls of the library, three or four thousand volumes had been carried out of reach of the flames, and thrown down promiscuously on the floor, and were now to be restored to their proper places. As it was a particularly tedious business, Buvat had been selected for it, and had hitherto acquitted himself with an intelligence and assiduity which had gained for him the commendations of his superiors, and the raillery of his colleagues. (p. 362).

Friday, October 28, 2016

Du Maurier, Daphne. The Flight of the Falcon (New York: Doubleday, 1965) 253 p.
Armino Fabbio finds a temporary job in the Library of the University of Ruffano. The Librarian's name is Giuseppe Fossi and he is "short, stout, with an olive-green complexion and the wandering, bulging eye I associate with clandestine appointments." (p. 58). Fossi is sometimes a comic figure as he chases after a beautiful woman named Carla Raspa. Armino's job at the library consists of sorting books that belong to the university from those belonging to the ducal palace.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Drake, David. With the Lightnings (Riverdale, NY: Baen, 1999) 400 p.
Young and beautiful, Adele Mundy has attained the position of Librarian to the Elector of the planet Kostroma. Her job is to organize the library which consists of crates of books in a bare room. Adele is organized and is an expert information gatherer, a skill which is useful beyond the bounds of the library.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Doyon, Stephanie. The Greatest Man in Cedar Hole (New York: Simon & Schuster, c2005) 375 p.
Kitty Higgins is Cedar Hole's librarian. She prefers not to shush unruly children.

Instead, Kitty enforced her rule with a quiet dignity—she allowed three consecutive violations before sitting at her old pine desk to type curt (but polite) letters to the offending families, informing them that their children were not to return without adult supervision (expressly defined therein as a parent or legal guardian and not a slightly older but equally rambunctious sibling). (p. 32).

Kitty takes young Robert under her wing and soon the bright and energetic lad is helping her type her letters. When Robert grows up and becomes a newspaper journalist he continues to promote the Cedar Hole Library. His final gesture is to have a beautiful desk custom built for Kitty Higgins.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Downs, Anne Miller. So Stands the Rock (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, c1939) 341 p.
Miss Matilda Lawrence is a teacher and librarian in the village of Winston, Vermont. When a poor farmer wants to read books to improve his mind Tilly gets books for him and encourages him. Later she invests in a printing press so he can edit and print Winston's first newspaper.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Douglas, Laramee. A Death in Dulcinea (Victoria, Tex.: Alligator Tree Press, c2005) 233 p.
Darby Matheson is the retired school librarian in Dulcinea Texas. “... the last time I wore a size six, I also wore pigtails and played jacks on the sidewalk. I tried to get down to a size ten once, but the diet caused my fingernails to break, and my hair looked like a hairball coughed up by one of my cats; so for health reasons, I keep my weight hovering around one-sixty. On my five-foot frame that makes me just a tad on the non-svelte side.” (p. 7).
Her library experience makes her ideal for solving mysteries.

I'm a librarian for crying out loud. Do you know how many times students have walked into my library and said, 'I need a book'? That's what I get to start with. 'I need a book.' My job for the past twenty-five years has been to discover exactly what that child needed, and I did it by asking questions. (p. 81).

Darby also compares the reference interview with fishing: getting the hook into her student and letting him run with the line for a while, then reeling him in.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Douglas, Kirk. Last Tango in Brooklyn (New York: Warner Books, 1994) 340 p.
Yes, Kirk Douglas the actor. Ellen Riccio is the Medical Librarian at St. Joseph's Hospital in Brooklyn. We don't get to see much of her work in the library, but she is helping her boyfriend, a heart surgeon, do research for a book he hopes to publish. Ellen is five-foot-six with a "tomboy frame." "She knew men found her attractive. She looked a great deal younger than thirty-four with her smooth, round face, large hazel eyes, and shoulder-length, dark brown hair." (p. 20-21). When she does a MedLine search her fingers quickly dance over the keyboard. Ellen is full of life and fun, and she has a well-developed sense of humor. She regularly feeds a group of homeless men.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dolson, Hildegarde. Please Omit Funeral (New York: Lippincott, 1975) 182 p.
Censorship strikes Wingate, Connecticut when a citizen decides there are too many "dirty" books at the Wingate High School library. The librarian, Miss Marcy Coving, is young and beautiful. She is often seen at the beach in a bikini. She is "quick and graceful." "her hair, which was the pale yellow of a newly sliced moon, was pulled back severely and tied in a hank. On her, it didn't look severe." (p. 4).

She remembered an ex-English Lit teacher she'd met in library school. The woman had told her emotionally, "they wanted me to teach a course in the Modern Novel--to relate to the present. I'd have had to stand up there and talk to the students as if I considered this dreadful modern stuff literature. And I couldn't do it, I simply couldn't. So I'm going to be a librarian."
The logic, or illogic, of it had fascinated Marcy. "But those same books will be in a library."
And the woman had said on a note of triumph, "All I'll have to do is check them in and out. I won't have to read them or talk about them." (p. 134).

Marcy simply believes in the "right to read" and resolves to replace books which are burned by an indignant parent.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Doig, Ivan. Work Song (New York: Riverhead Books, 2010) 275 p.
In the years after the First World War Butte Montana was the copper mining capital of the world. The Anaconda Mining Company does not want labor unions threatening their profits but the miners want a fair wage and safe working conditions.

Into this hostile atmosphere walks Morrie Morgan looking for a job. He finds one at the Butte Public Library. The library is run by Samuel S. Sandison, an ex-rancher with a passion for books. Sandison is eccentric and difficult to work with but has built the best library west of Chicago. He is assisted by colleagues with more traditional qualifications. Miss Runyon is the matron of the Reading Room. “Clapping her chained eyeglasses onto her formidable nose, she directed: 'Come along, you had better know the cataloguing system.'” (p. 54). The staff also includes young Smithers on the periodicals desk and the flirty Miss Mitchell from the cataloguing section.