When I first started my library degree years ago, the first e-mail I received from my school’s listserv included a link to the webcomic, Unshelved, by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. Begun in 2002, the webcomic updates just about every day, and takes place in a library. No matter what side of the reference desk you’ve been on, Unshelved has something for you. At times, it’s Dilbert for the library profession: there are unbelievable (but true – they receive anecdotes from readers) stories about patrons and the bizarre requests they come up with; giggles about middle management and slacker librarians, and library mascot cage matches.
There are recurring characters, the most recognizable being Dewey, the slacker Young Adult librarian who tries his best to do as little actual work as humanly possible. He and Mel, the manager who tries to actually manage, have some great exchanges where she tries to get him to work, and he successfully dodges her, like this strip from January, 2011:
While there are strips that librarians will cackle over – and perhaps groan in recognition of – anyone who deals with people in any type of setting will appreciate these strips. This strip from December 26, 2013 speaks to anybody who’s found themselves the office gopher, supply closet, and technicians – and that goes for work/stay-at-home folks, too.
There are pop culture references aplenty, and usually revolve around Dewey and his wife, Cathy. They share a love of Serenity and named their daughter Trillian after a character from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
On Sundays, the Unshelved Book Club gives us a full-page, full-color book recommendation framed as a comic panel. If you wander through the site, you’ll find such highlights as Monster on the Hill and Saga, both profiled here at WhatchaReading! See? We’re literary.
Bottom line, I’m a huge Unshelved fan and think it’s a great webcomic for anyone who gets a kick out of workplace humor and pop culture references. There are a series of Unshelved collections for those of you who like the hard copies to display on your shelves – ask for ’em at your comic store or check them out through your favorite online book retailer. I give this webcomic a 5/5 bookmarks – click over and check it out for yourself!