New from ALA

June 13, 2011

However much one learns while studying for that MSLS degree, some skills are learned on the job—perhaps with the help of a guide like Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success by Catherine Hakala-Ausperk. Part of the ALA Guides for the Busy Librarian series, the book provides a month-by-month program, starting with “Attitude” and … Continue reading New from ALA

Volumes of Vernacular

June 7, 2011

There are fewer and fewer print dictionaries, and in fact the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, once considered a mainstay of the dictionary collection, seems to have altogether disappeared. But language lovers can take heart in the publication of a new and wonderful resource, the three-volume Green’s Dictionary of Slang, compiled by British … Continue reading Volumes of Vernacular

The Road to New Librarianship

May 31, 2011

The word atlas generally conjures up a road trip, and R. David Lankes traveled to “29 locations on three continents” to put together The Atlas of New Librarianship. But his atlas is more about data than maps—data collected from a variety of sources and providing the basis for “new librarianship,” by which he means “the … Continue reading The Road to New Librarianship

A Compendium of Communication

May 27, 2011

The need to transmit and process information efficiently has given rise to technologies from talking drums to alphabets, from Charles Babbage’s difference engine to Vannevar Bush’s differential analyzer, from the telegraph to the internet. In The Information, James Gleick shows how many of the information-related concepts that we now take for granted evolved. This is … Continue reading A Compendium of Communication

New From ALA Editions

March 22, 2011

In New on the Job (2006), Ruth Toor and Hilda K. Weisburg provided useful advice for school librarians just starting out in their careers. Now, in Being Indespensable: A School Librarian’s Guide to Becoming an Invaluable Leader, they provide a template for librarians trying to save their jobs. The idea is that by “Knowing Who … Continue reading New From ALA Editions

DIY Programming

March 22, 2011

Because many libraries are staff-strapped as well as cash-strapped, do-it-yourself programming is a growing trend. Amanda Moss Struckmeyer and Svetha Hetzler base their book, DIY Programming and Book Displays: How to Stretch Your Programming without Stretching Your Budget and Staff , on ideas they came up with at Middleton (Wis.) Public Library. They set up and … Continue reading DIY Programming

(Micro)blogging in the Library

March 22, 2011

Michael P. Sauers used his own experience as a blogger (at to explain the technology an easy-to-understand way in the first edition of Blogging and RSS: A Librarian’s Guide, published in 2006. Since then, he has gone into Twitter in a big way (more than 14.000 tweets) and an important change in the new … Continue reading (Micro)blogging in the Library

21st-Century Public Libraries

March 22, 2011

Though not unique to the United States, the public library movement has flourished here, sprung from a late-19th-century ideal of educating the masses and defined by pioneers such as Melvil Dewey. The mission remains essentially the same, but the public library (like all libraries) is undergoing some heavy self-examination. In the introduction to Public Libraries … Continue reading 21st-Century Public Libraries

Prison Librarian

The Accidental Prison Librarian

January 17, 2011

Just a few years out of Harvard, Avi Steinberg left his job writing obituaries for the Boston Globe and applied for a position as a prison librarian, even though he was not a librarian and had never been inside a prison. As he tells it in Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison … Continue reading The Accidental Prison Librarian

RDA Guide

New from ALA

January 6, 2011

Just in time for the switch from AACR2 to the new RDA (Resource Description and Access) standard designed specifically for the digital environment comes Chris Oliver’s Introducing RDA: A Guide to the Basics. Readers looking for a how-to will need to look elsewhere, but this book provides a useful overview on RDA, its alignment with … Continue reading New from ALA


Advisory Beyond Books

December 23, 2010

Readers’ advisory (RA) continues to grow in complexity and scope. It’s no longer just a question of connecting a patron to a mystery or romance author similar to one they’ve enjoyed in the past. Today, RA encompasses more of a library’s book collection and also, as laid out in Integrated Advisory Service: Breaking through the … Continue reading Advisory Beyond Books


Premodern Information Overload

November 16, 2010

Information overload is nothing new. First there were all those clay tablets, then the manuscripts, then what philosopher/librarian Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716) referred to as “that horrible mass of books which keeps on growing.” In Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age, Ann M. Blair explores how the flood of information was … Continue reading Premodern Information Overload