Free for All

Free for All

Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"I have worked in a library for more than 10 years. At 2 p.m., the library is a place of intellectual curiosity, civilized calm and innate civility.... [But at 3:15 p.m.] the teenagers and preteenagers are like a storm surge.... The library is packed, every seat is taken, the noise level ramps up and even the homeless lose their nerve and bolt for the door. The four library employees don't have a chance. It's like trying to take four conscientious adults and put them in charge of crowd control for the French Revolution. While one employee is calming down a small group of radicals by the science project books, another group is erecting a guillotine in juvenile biographies." Book jacket.
Publisher: New York, N.Y : Virgin Books : Distributed by Holtzbrinck, c2007
ISBN: 9781905264124
Characteristics: xv, 223 p. ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Free for all


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 05, 2018

After reading this book, I wondered if stoic VPL employees have similar jaw dropping stories.

Mar 12, 2018

This memoir by an Assistant Librarian in the Los Angeles Public Library system accurately captures the good, the bad, and the ugly of working in an institution open to the public. The author is an anchor at his branch because he isn't a part-time employee or a professional librarian who's looking for the next promotion. He's the person who deals, day in and day out, with rambunctious kids, patrons who doesn't want to pay fines, and directives from downtown that don't always make sense in his environment. His underlying philosophy is if you can't see the humor or absurdity in human behavior, you won't survive a week in the public library. A selected bibliography captures the flavor in each chapter while his co-workers' favorite books reveal a wide range of reading interests.

Aug 07, 2017

This was just the book I needed to prepare myself for my library job(s). Insightful, funny, and cathartic in hindsight.

Feb 13, 2016

This is a MUST READ for any Library employee or Library user! Full of hilarious and all-too true anecdotes, it's an inside look at what REALLY goes on in the Public Libraries of every city. Enjoy!

CMLibrary_gjd_0 Feb 13, 2016

If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to work for a Library System in this country--have we got a BOOK for you!!! Even though this was written by a Librarian in California; I've had almost EVERY incident mentioned happen to ME TOO! If you think we sit around and read all day, you really need to pick this book up ASAP.

May 12, 2015

Wonderfully written and painfully funny. As a reader, I like this book a lot. As a reader and library staff member, I love this book.

Wakenour Apr 16, 2014

OMG! This book had me crying at some points!!! I don't know if I would be able to handle some of the things included in this book! 5 stars for sure!

Ever wonder what it is like behind the scenes in a large, public library system? If you don't mind a bit of graphic language and some "earthy" situations, this wickedly funny book is for you.

loonylovesgood Nov 12, 2009

For anybody who has ever worked in customer service at the public library, this is the book for you! Hilarious and true-to-life. I really enjoyed it!


Add Age Suitability
RobertELPL Mar 04, 2017

RobertELPL thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MARINet

To Top