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Dispatches From a Public Librarian - Now in Book Form

A recent joint study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign revealed a stand-out fact: While many people think of public libraries as a place parents take their kids for story-time or a destination for retirees who don’t want to spend their Social Security checks on books, the reality is young adults are actually the heaviest users. The library of today—with its bank of personal computers and its corner café—is a whole lot different from the one most Americans grew up with.

Libraries are also experiencing a surprising surge in popularity. So much so, even Hollywood - in the form of Emilio Estevez - has noticed. Recently, he announced plans to write and direct a film - called "The Public" - set in a Los Angeles public library.

The Pew report and Estevez's interest probably came as no surprise to most library workers. And it certainly didn't shock Scott Douglas, a twenty-something librarian, McSweeney’s contributor, and blogger ( based in Anaheim, California. Douglas's new memoir, QUIET, PLEASE: Dispatches from a Public Librarian, weaves in tidbits of library lore from across the country and around the globe, bringing the reader behind-the-stacks to show what really goes on at today’s public library. Along the way, readers meet eccentric staffers and oddball patrons who, collectively, prove that libraries, while quirky, are alive and well—and maybe even a little hipper than you’d think.

And the book, it seems, has struck a cord, receieving some early, very positive review attention.

Booklist, for example, said it “clear[s] away stereotypes about public-service librarians and affirms their worth" and "offers unique and utterly engaging insights, valuable for public librarians, managers, and trustees.”

Features and mentions of Douglas have also appeared in places like USA Today, Pop Matters, the OC Register and NPR.

The book, which went on sale on April 15, 2008, is available wherever books are sold.

To listen to interviews with Douglas, links to reviews of the book, and event information please visit You can also read Douglas' occasional post on McSweeney's here:

For more information about QUIET PLEASE: Dispatches from a Public Librarian (9780786720910) or how to order a copy please contact:

Sean Maher
Da Capo Press
[email protected]

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