- Posted by Johanna on December 15, 2005 at 8:31 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
- CREDITS: written by Gene Ambaum; art by Bill Barnes
- PUBLISHER: Overdue Media; $14.95 US
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.
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.