By March 20, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Welcome Back Again, Israel Armstrong

I like lots of librarians, but my favorite librarian doesn’t actually exist. (Which certainly makes it less politically awkward than if I were to choose a favorite librarian who did exist.) Welcome back again, Israel Armstrong.

“We’re librarians actually,” said Israel.

“Come again?”


Israel thought that Barry’s face coloured slightly at the mention of the word “librarian” and that perhaps he twitched nervously inside his cheap suit with its expensive-looking lining. But then twitching nervously in the presence of a librarian wasn’t an uncommon response–librarians, like ministers of religion, and poets, and people with serious mental health disorders, can make people nervous. Librarians possess a kind of occult power, an aura. They could silence people with just a glance. At least, they did in Israel’s fantasies. In Israel’s fantasies, librarians were mild-mannered superheroes, with extrasensory perceptions and shape-shifting capacities and a highly developed sense of responsibility who demanded respect from everyone they met. In reality, Israel couldn’t silence even Mrs. Onions on her mobile phone when she was disturbing other readers on the van.

Ian Sansom‘s first Mobile Library Mystery, The Case of the Missing Books, was wonderful. The second one, Mr. Dixon Disappears, didn’t work as well. The third one, The Book Stops Here (which will be published in August), made me laugh almost as much as the first.



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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