Sally Gardner Reed. The Good, the Great, and the Unfriendly: A Librarian’s Guide to Working with Friends Groups. Chicago: American Library Association, 2017. 157p. Paper, $57.00 (ISBN: 978-0838914984).

Rebekah Irwin


Librarians can be a discerning and, at times, impossible audience to please. We read widely and voraciously, in print and online, in every genre and format: books, blogs, newspapers, social media posts, Sunday flyers, you name it. Librarians also claim a sort of superpower that authorizes us to distinguish between appropriate formats. We might agree that, in most cases, an online search delivers decent and convenient information. Despite that, most librarians still maintain an awareness (and appreciation) of print-only sources for instruction, research, and professional guidance. For those of us working with rural or elderly populations, in communities with an abundance of low and moderate income households, or in deeply academic and historical fields, print sources might win the day. Books written for librarians then, particularly guides and manuals, walk a precarious path. In this day and age, does a narrowly focused manual need to exist in print? Especially one aimed at an expert audience with deep familiarity of the competing online sources? Sally Gardner Reed’s slim book, The Good, the Great, and the Unfriendly: A Librarian’s Guide to Working with Friends Groups is well aware of these hazards and works hard to present current information to a shrewd audience who knows whether to Google a solution or to look for one in the pages of a book.

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