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Scream at the Librarian!

Scream at the Librarian is now available!

Title page for Scream at the Librarian!ABC ISSUE NO. 3: A limited edition trip into a public servant's nightmare, published by the Booklyn Artists Alliance, 2007. Click on the book covers below for more information or to purchase, if you dare! Thank you! For readings and other happenings concerning Scream at the Librarian, jump to the events page!

The Librarian

From June 2001 to April 2006, I was a reference librarian in the Literature and Fiction Department of the Central Library, Downtown Los Angeles. I rode a bicycle each morning from my apartment to Sunset Boulevard, and then took the subway, reading a book, pretending not to see the insanity around me. Instead of becoming habitual, this routine became more difficult day by day.

There are more excerpts below the book covers!

Scream at the Librarian - Chapbook cover

Chapbook edition:
84 pages
Letterpressed cover, xeroxed interior
Numbered edition of 600 copies (We are now on our second edition!)

Scream at the Librarian - Handbound cover

Silkscreened edition:
94 pages
Two-color silkscreen, circulation card, library stickers, stamps, cataloging numbers, and thumb divots
Numbered edition of 50 copies signed by author and illustrators

Designed by Amy Mees and Mark Wagner
Silkscreen printing by Kayrock, Brooklyn, New York
Letterpress printing and binding by Sara Parkel
Production assistance by Eliana Perez, Cat Glennon, Candice Sering, and Jamie Munkatchy


New York Shitty in Greenpoint gives my publisher a thumbs-up!

Designer Julia Rothman of Brooklyn, New York, is digging this book on her blog:

Bookmaker Rachel J.K. Grace of Tallinn, Estonia, agrees:

As does a rampaging librarian:

And the librarian, code name Woeful, who comiserates: and

I'm delighted to get props from Guillaume Chérel, an author in Toulouse, France, who lumped me in with Ross MacDonald and Nathanael West TWICE:

I've also been happy devoured along with the Devil's Lunchmeat:

Yet another librarian, code name Shermaniac of New York City, also was kind enough to plug my labor of love:

And an anonymous graphic artist in Downtown LA picked up on the fact that living through the experience was no fun:

Finally, if your library subscribes to AccessMyLibrary, you can read the review of Scream at the Librarian from the Library Journal!

Thank you all!

Selected Excerpts


A pack of homeless teenagers, so pathetic they should The Screamerhave been on a primetime television cop show, threatened to kill me outside the library once. "Gonna pop a cap in your ass," they said. "This is Harlem." I laughed at them too. Fucking arrogant LA teenagers, I've SCORED in Harlem. Another time, another library, miles away, at the beginning of my career, I seized a live nude man in a wrestling hold, bending his wrist into the small of his back. He'd been taking an air bath in the women's restroom of the Children's Department--the Little Girls' Room. The other librarians, all female, called me away from fixing the microfiche machine to do battle while the cops came. A piece of cake. So I warned David, don't fuck with me.

Mr. Edgeman

Mr. Edgeman was a ringleader. He worked the department like a Vegas blackjack dealer skimmingTourette Syndrome the house, his boots clipping the floor hard, moving quickly from floor to floor, always the escalators, never the elevators where he couldn't stomp his jackboots at the end of purposeful strides. What was the rush, Edgeman? Isn't Hell an eternity, or don't you recognize the world yet?

Miss Information

Her name was Donna. Because she helped people find their way around the library, I broke my no-panhandling rule and gave her money, five and ten dollars at a time. The apologia she gave in return was bullshit, creative exercises about her wealthy relatives in Arizona, surprise money Mr. Brain Damageshe had waiting, the hotel room she was twenty bucks short for, her intention to wake up and begin a new life off the streets. It never happened. A guy claiming to be Donna's boyfriend sat by the Fifth Street entrance one evening, closing time, asking the librarians for money to have her body cremated. Tuberculosis or pneumonia or something like that, who really cared?

The Screenwriter

Poor, poor Screenwriter. My heart bled for him the first year I worked Downtown. By the fifth year I was ready to have him knocked off with something worse than an axe. You see, several times a week, even several times a day, Mrs. Phoebushe called the Literature and Fiction Department, his questions tumbling in a strong Brooklyn accent as we picked up the phone. The Hollywood Library couldn't help him actually write the screenplay--that task fell to us. Could a man conceal an axe in his pants, and how would you describe that? Should a window be "open a crack" or "cracked open"? It went on for years; by the time I arrived, over a decade.

The Screamer

One day as he walked by me screaming, he made the mistake of looking me in the eye. I had been screamed at for years, begged, threatened, insulted, demeaned. I glared back and screamed myself. "FUCK YOU!" He paused his cart in astonishment. No doubt other people cowered from him, tried reason, control, taking him into custody, kicking him out into the mean streets again. But I was a man after his own heart. He lunged at me, spitting invective, and I countered again to his face, as the lawyers and their secretaries gaped. "No, FUCK YOU!" I screamed at him, The Groanerat them, at the desolate street, at my library, at my evil city, at the polluted sky. "FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!" And he skulked on his way, overwhelmed by a middle-class white male librarian who'd temporarily shattered his world.

Return to: Joel Rane's Writer's Page! Vaya con dios!
Updated Sunday, 22 August 2010, by joel at
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