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.