As an LIS student and future librarian, it is vital to know how to find current professional resources for professional development, as well as networking. These resources are also a useful way to stay abreast of current topics and trends in librarianship. Having a strong collection of professional resources is a great way to set yourself up for success. These are some resources I find useful:
A reputable listserv that I found both interesting and quite useful is the ILI-L Discussion List, otherwise known as the Information Literacy Instruction Discussion List. This listserv “… is hosted on the American Library Association server, sponsored by the Instruction Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, and moderated by the ILI-L List Administrator” (ILI-L Discussion List, n.d.a). While this listserv is sponsored by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), it does cater to a broader audience than solely academic libraries.
Their audience of librarians and professionals in general who are interested in information literacy is evident in their content. When looking at the listservs archives, there is a plethora of information that is shared, much of which is not generalized to a specific type of library or a specific geographical region (ILI-L Discussion List, n.d.b). Emails and messages sent within this group include prefixes to highlight the type of content; a brief examination of the prefixes clearly shows a range from education opportunities to resources to calls for presenters to job opportunities.
When looking deeper at this current month’s messages, it is evident that this is a heavily utilized listserv. Highlights included a message titled “[ili-l] EDUC: It’s official, PIL releases “Covid-19: The first 100 days of U.S. news coverage”!!” (Head, 2020) which included information on a research project produced by Project Information Literacy (PIL). This email described the scope of the study, its purpose, and discussion questions, and also called for feedback from users of the produced report. Another highlight from September 2020 was an email thread titled “[ili-l] RESOURCES: primary source instruction.” (Montgomery, 2020). This thread began with a librarian asking for feedback and resources on ideas for training “students to become more familiar with primary sources” (Montgomery, 2020, para. 2). She was responded to by several other librarians and educators regarding their experiences and thoughts on how to best go forward.
This listserv will be useful to me as an LIS student and as a professional by introducing me in depth to the concept of information literacy. I have not studied information literacy to much extent, but it is an extremely vital part of librarianship. The high amount of usage and content ensure that I will constantly be exposed to new ideas.
1st Peer-Reviewed Journal
One peer-reviewed journal that I will use for professional development is the Journal of New Librarianship (ISSN: 2471-3880). This journal publishes both scholarly and non-peer-reviewed content, stating: “By providing an outlet that mixes both traditional and disruptive forms of scholarly and professional communication, we can change the way our profession shares and leads” (Journal of New Librarianship, n.d.). According to Weiter (2016), the Journal of New Librarianship was created to “offer quality literature in our field in an open, independently produced journal” (p. 1). This journal caters to a general audience of librarians, LIS students, and other LIS professionals, featuring peer-reviewed articles, non-peer-reviewed columns, and reviews of scholarly books.
The scope of this journal is, thus, quite wide, including but not limited to content regarding information literacy, open access, outreach, and librarianship during crises. A recent article titled “I never knew a librarian did that! Exploring how faculty and librarian relationships support meaningful collaboration” discussed the consequences of the authors’ academic library shifting away from liaison librarianship into a more casual support role for faculty (Colantonio-Yurko et al., 2020). Another recent article, titled “Encouraging essential skills: How public libraries promote technological literacy in rural communities”,” discussed the role of libraries in British Columbia in the development of rural residents’ digital skills (Dubiel, 2020).
As a library student and medical library professional, I am an advocate for more open access literature, and while this may not be the open-access medical literature that I desire for medical library patrons, I believe that it is important to support this type of material. The range of article topics will also help educate me on more nuances of specific library topics and trends.
2nd Peer-Reviewed Journal
A second scholarly journal useful for professional development is The Library Quarterly (ISSN: 0024-2519). This journal’s goal “…is to engage researchers, educators, professionals, and students interested in the roles of the libraries in the lives of individuals, communities, and nations” (The Library Quarterly., n.d.). While many of LQ’s articles pertain to public librarianship, the plethora of article topics makes it clear that their audience is library professionals in all areas.
Library Quarterly features an incredibly large range of article topics, including online library services, health information literacy, prison libraries, and challenged books, to name only a few. An article of particular fascination for me was an editorial in the July 2020 issue, titled “Libraries and Librarians Onscreen and in Library Quarterly Decade by Decade, Part 1, Or, Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood and in LQ” (Jaeger & Kettnich). This editorial discussed in depth the portrayal of librarians in films, beginning in the 1930s, and how those portrayals contrast and compare with current topics important to libraries, including diversity, racism, and patron privacy. Another article in the same issue of the journal, titled “Meeting Chinese Older Adults’ Health Information Needs: The Role of Public Libraries” (Shi & Luo, 2020) shared information regarding older Chinese adults’ need and desire for public libraries to promote health literacy, both in China and in other countries with substantial Chinese populations.
Library Quarterly will be useful to me as I learn and grow during my MLIS studies. The wide variety of topics covered will give me insight into current library information and trends and may help guide me toward a specific path in librarianship that I had not thought of before. For example, after reading several articles related to prison libraries, and am very interested in learning more about these special libraries.
LIS Trade Publication
Regarding LIS trade publications, one that will help me as an LIS professional to stay aware of current trends is Booklist (ISSN: 0006-7385). This print and online magazine “…is widely viewed as offering the most reliable reviews to help libraries decide what to buy and to help library patrons and students decide what to read, view, or listen to” (Booklist Online, n.d.). Thus, this publication has two main audiences: public library staff, and readers looking for recommendations.
Booklist provides readers with many reviews of both fiction and nonfiction written works (as well as audiobooks), with recommendations for youth and adults. Apart from individual book reviews, it also features “Top 10” lists of books from specific genres, interviews with authors and publishers, and “read-alikes” for popular novels. In the September 1st/15th double issue, reviewer Cari Dubiel (2020) gave a synopsis of the novel The Woman I Was Before bt Kerry Fisher, after which Dubiel wrote a brief review, stating “Fisher…ups the ante on plot here; although this isn’t a thriller, the pace is quick and the turning points sensational.” (p. 40). This issue also featured an article titled “Writers & Readers: In Plain Sight” by award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson (2020), in which she reflected on how her personal experiences shaped her 2020 book, Grown. (p. 119).
This resource will be useful to me by keeping me up to date on current trends in book publication. I have unfortunately not been able to read for enjoyment as much as I used to, and while I am not particularly planning to work at a public library in the future, I do like to know what my colleagues in public libraries may be procuring for their patrons. In addition, the books featured in Booklist may help me to make future connections with my medical library patients, as we sometimes discuss non-medical literature.
LIS Blog or Social Media Account
A long-running and reputable library blog which will help my professional development is Krafty Librarian. This blog is written by Michelle Kraft, Director of the Cleveland Clinic medical libraries, and is aimed at medical library professionals, as well as readers interested in current issues in medical libraries. Krafty Librarian’s recent content includes information about medical libraries’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis, predatory publishers, updates in PubMed, and insights from MLA conferences, among many other medical library topics.
A recent article which caught my attention, “Hiring a new librarian? Are new graduates qualified?” (Kraft, 2018), discussed how qualifications among recent library school graduates may not be ideal for medical librarian positions. In another article, “The Predatory Journals: The Dandelion of Biomedical Research” (Kraft, 2019), the blogger wrote about her concerns regarding the presence of articles by predatory journals in PubMed Central, citing recent scholarly articles as support for her concerns.
I am interested in continuing to work in a medical library after I graduate with an MLIS, so this blog is of particular interest to me. By reading medical library perspectives from outside my own organization, I will be able to gain a clearer idea of medical librarianship as a whole, and I may discover useful information and tools to bring to my current library.
There is a plethora of LIS resources available to library students and professionals, and each has its own benefits. By developing a toolkit of professional resources early on in my MLIS education, I can gain knowledge in areas I have yet to explore, and gain a solid foundation to continue to learn and grow in this field, even after I graduate.
Booklist Online. (n.d.). FAQ. https://www.booklistonline.com/faq
Colantonio-Yurko, K., Kalenda, P., Olmstead, K., Rath, L., & Wright, A. (2020). I never knew a librarian did that! Exploring how faculty and librarian relationships support meaningful collaboration. Journal of New Librarianship, 5(1), 25-44. https://doi.org/10.21173/newlibs/9/2
Dubiel, C. (2020). The woman I was before. By Kerry Fisher. Booklist, 117(1/2), 40.
Gregg, A., & McKendry, V. (2019). Encouraging essential skills: How public libraries promote technological literacy in rural communities. Journal of New Librarianship, 4(2), 476-504. https://doi.org/10.21173/newlibs/8/2
Head, A. J. (2020, September 14). [ili-l] EDUC: It’s official, PIL releases “Covid-19: The first 100 days of U.S. news coverage”!!. ILI-L Discussion List. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/ili-l/2020-09/msg00035.html
ILI-L Discussion List. (n.d.). ili-l – ILI-L discussion list – arc. American Library Association. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/ili-l
ILI-L Discussion List. (n.d.). ili-l – ILI-L discussion list – info. American Library Association. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/ili-l
Jackson, T. D. (2020). Writers & readers: In plain sight. Booklist, 117(1/2), 119.
Jaeger, P. T., & Kettnich, K. (2020). Libraries and librarians onscreen and in Library Quarterly decade by decade, part 1, or, once upon a time . . . in Hollywood and in LQ. Library Quarterly, 90(3), 249-263. https://doi-org.libdata.lib.ua.edu/10.1086/708956
Journal of New Librarianship. (n.d.). About the Journal. https://www.newlibs.org/about
Kraft, M. (2018, February 22). Hiring a new librarian? Are new graduates qualified?. Krafty Librarian. https://kraftylibrarian.com/hiring-a-new-librarian-are-new-graduates-qualified/
Kraft, M. (2019, November 5). The predatory journals: The dandelion of biomedical research. Krafty Librarian. https://kraftylibrarian.com/the-predatory-journals-the-dandelion-of-biomedical-research/
Montgomery, S. E. (2020, September 9). [ili-l] RESOURCES: primary source instruction. ILI-L Discussion List. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/ili-l/2020-09/msg00013.html
Shi, Y., & Luo, L. (2020). Meeting Chinese older adults’ health information needs: The role of public libraries. Library Quarterly, 90(3), 332-348. https://doi-org.libdata.lib.ua.edu/10.1086/708961
The Library Quarterly. (n.d.). About. The University of Chicago Press: Journals. https://www-journals-uchicago-edu.libdata.lib.ua.edu/journals/lq/about
Weiter, S. P. (2016). Editor’s note: Welcome to the Journal of New Librarianship. Journal of New Librarianship, 1(1), 1-2. https://doi.org/10.21173/newlibs/2016/1/weiter.1