Book Review: The World’s Strongest Librarian

Posted on: November 20th, 2013 by


If you’re seeking a wonderful book to read, look no further than The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne. I enjoyed this beautifully written book so much, I simply couldn’t put it down.

Hanagarne, a librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library, candidly shares the challenges of living with Tourette Syndrome since he was a child twitching uncontrollably in a school play. His tics, as well as vocalizations, became more intense and uncontrollable as he grew up, wreaking havoc on his social life, former employment life, faith, and overall confidence. Understandably, this condition has caused him great anguish, and he lets readers into his world of Tourette’s.

Hanagarne discovers that weightlifting keeps him from noticing his Tourette’s symptoms. Thus, what began as a gym excursion with his father has turned into a way of life for the author.

This memoir is also about the importance of family. His parents have love and compassion for him, but they refuse to treat him differently because of Tourette’s. Hanagarne and his siblings are close. In fact, his family has provided a strong foundation for each other built with love and support. Central to the family is their Mormon faith, and Hanagarne educates readers about Mormonism – without being preachy.

The World’s Strongest Librarian is an amazing tribute to libraries, as well. “A library is a miracle,” he says, regarding the one place where visitors can find a world of information. A voracious reader for as long as he can remember, he wants his patrons, especially children, to share his love of books and see them as “worlds between covers.”

Several library scenes involve his interactions with patrons; some scenarios are humorous, some are disgusting, and others are just too seedy for me to mention here. One thing is for certain, though: his descriptions are always interesting, but never degrading.

In the library, Hanagarne is in his element: the library feeds his natural curiosity, love for books, and challenges him to try controlling his Tourette’s.

The World’s Strongest Librarian also contains simply one of the sweetest love stories I’ve ever read. I won’t say any more about this. Except that it is great.

This memoir is an example of first-rate dialogue and storytelling. Throughout the book, Hanagarne shows his vulnerability and candor. This courageous piece of work is not only captivating and authentic – it is about coping with adversity and triumphing in spite of it.

To purchase the book, click here.

To follow Hanagarne’s blog, click

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2 Responses to Book Review: The World’s Strongest Librarian

  1. Nancy's Point had this to say about that:

    Hi Beth,
    This sounds like an intriguing book. I have a special interest in “all things library” since my mother was a librarian for years. Gosh, the stories she told…

    Another book to add to my “to read” list. Thanks for the terrific review!

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Wow, Nancy, I had no idea your mother was a librarian! I’m sure she told amazing stories of the goings on in the library.

      I think you’ll really enjoy this book. :)

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