Unshelved is a collection of web comic strips about library workers.

The very first strip gives a good idea of the appeal and attitude involved, although the art has much improved from those early days. Dewey is a young adult librarian who has a love-hate relationship with his patrons. He’s happy to help them find a good graphic novel or build a website, but when he works the information desk, he doesn’t always have patience with stupid questions or obnoxious parents convinced their spoiled brats can do no wrong.

Unshelved cover
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Other characters include Tamara, the spunky children’s librarian; Merv, the obnoxious teen non-reader; Colleen, the cranky fixture who’s been a librarian forever; Ned, the naked civil libertarian; and Buddy the Book Beaver, the mascot who never takes off his animal suit.

Obviously, the built-in audience is those who work in libraries and have to put up with just these kinds of frustrations every day. But the characters are funny enough that even non-librarians will get a kick out of the humor. I especially enjoyed the strips about ways to increase teen usage of the library and what happens when you put a dinosaur in charge of the computer stations.

Librarians are on the front line of free speech issues, and I admire the light-hearted way the authors handle issues like concerns about filtering and appropriate reading for kids. I also like seeing how the librarians tease some of the sillier patrons for their own good, challenging them to do their own reading.

8 Responses to “Unshelved”

  1. Joshua Macy Says:

    I’ve been working through the archives, and I’m liking it.

  2. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] The second book concludes with a funny two pages on how the strip is created. This is definitely worth reading for those who love their libraries. […]

  3. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] This is the fourth collection of the webcomic series about a public library and its workers. (I’ve previously reviewed the first and second volumes, and here’s a link to the third.) […]

  4. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] (I’ve reviewed the first, second, and fourth collections of the strip. The third was good, too, but I must have been busy that month.) […]

  5. Congratulations to Unshelved » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] continues to be available for free on its website, and there are four published Unshelved collections with a fifth scheduled to debut this summer. […]

  6. Coming Up: Books Due in October » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Unshelved, the library webcomic, has a new collection available, Book Club (AUG06 3894, $17.95). […]

  7. Unshelved Deal » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] previously reviewed the first book, What Would Dewey Do?, and Book Club. […]

  8. Unshelved: Read Responsibly » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] published in American Library Association projects. The art is still basic, but when I look back at earlier books, it’s surprising to see how far it’s come. The direct approach works for the material […]




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