We’ve run across a few great librarian-oriented websites during our years at Wordcandy, but we’ve never seen anything quite like Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes’s Internet comic strip Unshelved. This site is totally worth a visit—the daily strip has a laid-back, Office Space-esque sense of humor, and the site’s Sunday strips are a solid resource for Wordcandy-friendly book recommendations.

Librarian Gene Ambaum and cartoonist Bill Barnes created Unshelved in late 2001. Unshelved follows the adventures of a sarcastic public librarian named Dewey, who, along with his fellow librarians, deals with a wide (and bizarre) range of library patrons, including Ned, who celebrates his freedom of expression through nudity, and a guy who uses bacon strips for bookmarks.

Since 2006, Unshelved’s Sunday color strips have been devoted to book recommendations, and they’ve promoted some truly excellent titles: Gregor the Overlander, Ptolemy’s Gate, Heir Apparent, The Thief. The Sunday strips do show some major genre blind spots, however—while the Unshelved Book Club has reviewed a few mainstream comics and avant-garde teen dramas, there’s no love for manga like Yotsuba&! or Tramps Like Us, excellent, adult-oriented romances by people like Georgette Heyer, or the straightforward teen romances of Jennifer Echols or Meg Cabot. (Actually, fellow high-impact librarian Nancy Pearl left Meg Cabot out of her Book Crush collection, too, which leaves us wondering: is there some kind of Cabot/librarian feud we’re unaware of?)

Note: In addition to reading the strip, you can also check out Unshelved for the thrilling saga of the "Pimp My Bookcart" competition—a contest to discover who can make the most gloriously lurid bookcart in all the land!
Posted by: Julianka


19 Sep, 2007 08:12 PM @ version 0

I've been following this site for a while. Not only do they recommend a lot of great books, they're also actually pretty funny. (Which, let me tell you, is not always true of school-library-approved comic strips.)

19 Sep, 2007 08:33 PM @ version 0

That pick book cart looks kind of like the pink Toe Truck in Seattle.

21 Sep, 2007 07:47 PM @ version 0

I've got a lot of love for Yotsuba&! in particular, and some of the other authors you mention. You'll see at least some of them in the Sunday Book Clubs eventually.
-Gene A.

21 Sep, 2007 08:11 PM @ version 0

That's awesome--I think 'Yotsuba' has enough charm to convert even the most adamant non-manga readers over to the dark side, and it's great to hear that you guys will be exposing it to a wider audience!

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