Magazine article American Libraries

Library Users Anonymous: Help for the Obsessive Bibliophile

Magazine article American Libraries

Library Users Anonymous: Help for the Obsessive Bibliophile

Article excerpt

More than 50 years ago the self-help group Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was rounded to aid those ravaged by alcohol abuse. With its key tenets of anonymity and reliance on a Higher Power, it has brought hope and strength to countless thousands.

In recent years AA has spawned other addiction-oriented recovery programs such as Gamblers Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Bulimics Anonymous, Parents Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous. At the heart of most of these programs are the Twelve Steps, a series of statements designed to aid recovering addicts in their new lifestyle. The Twelve Steps have been instrumental in helping to change the lives of many who otherwise had little hope for the future.

While AA is quite well known throughout the world, some of the other self-help groups are less visible. One of these is Libray Users Anonymous (LUA), a recovery program for those hopelessly enmeshed in a dysfunctional relationship with their local library. One expert in the field of obsessive biliophilia attributes the high success rate of Library Users Anonymous to its emphasis on the Librarian as a Higher Power Bookem-Danno, 1990). Others believe that its powerful appeal stems from a deep-rooted shame that many patrons have when they first enter a library, an emotion that Library Users Anonymous is able first to confront and later help the recovering library user to overcome (Bunhead, 1988). In any event, although it is still relatively unpublicized, Library Users Anonymous can claim a growing number of satisfied members and is a definite force to be reckoned with among today's myriad of self-help recovery groups.

The nonsectarian Librarian

However, Library Users Anonymous has been criticized for alleged shortcomings. Some feel that the organization places too much emphasis on the Librarian, a being whose very existence is doubted by a small number of agnostics (Thomas, 1991). …

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