All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge by Malesky, Kee

Aug 3, 2011

Those of us who are addicted to Public Radio know Kee Malesky as The Librarian. Her name is always acknowledged on NPR programs, which makes her one of a few librarians in the media to receive public credit for her work as a librarian.  Hearing her name on the radio makes us wonder what her first name is.

 As a librarian, I was interested in reading her book and getting a look into her work day full of fact checking, research, and her day-to-day  duties as NPR librarian. But unfortunately, this is not what All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential  Knowledge  is about.  The book is a compilation of trivia facts she collected through her 20 plus years working for NPR.

 It could be called a little source book of human knowledge divided into categories of Memory and History, Reason and Science, Imagination, Poetry and Art. I already knew a little about Kee.  During my Library School studies, one of my classmates was clever enough to call the NPR office in Washington D.C. to ask her for an interview for a school project.  She learned how the majority of Kee’s days are consumed by fact checking for dates, names, numbers, statistics and pronunciations.  She helps the NPR people on the air sound bright.  Her biggest responsibility is verifying quotes.  

The book tells us if watermelon is a fruit or vegetable, the difference between i.e. and e.g., and that it takes 450 artisans to build one Steinway concert grand piano.  As expected, this book with all of its sources cited, will inform, enlighten, and even shock. The book has 277 facts that will impress your friends at the next cocktail party, if you happen to remember them correctly.

Reviewed by Library Staff