Best Librarian Mags
December 16, 2010 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Librarian advice: What library magazine(s) should a budding librarian subscribe to?

I think I want a subscription to a library magazine or two for Christmas--it's one of those things I probably should have, but haven't yet taken the time to get myself.

I'm in a public library, working on my MLS. Most of my day-to-day work is with children and teens, and some general reference work. I'm pretty sure I *don't* want to be a children's librarian in the long run (I love the kids, but there are other reasons).

Librarians out there, I would really like to know what library mags you subscribe to. Library Journal? School Library Journal? YALSA's? American Libraries? I know there are a lot of blogs (like EarlyWord). But if there were one print publication I should get, what would it be?

Also: Even though I don't think I'll be a children's librarian, I think my work will always be relevant to kids. So if you have a children's librarian mag you like (such as Horn Book), that's great too. Thanks much.
posted by luckyveronica to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have mixed feelings about School Library Journal because they're a bit of a pain to write for but it's a solid journal with good writing and a good focus on trend-type stuff and gives you a big picture look at that aspect of the profession. American Libraries is like the popular magazine for the profession and it's just fine, comes with your ALA membership. They've got some good writers and good columnists. Library Journal is more expensive and has a ton of book reviews. One of their editors is a MeFite, I'll see if I can get him to pipe up. They recently got sold/bought and seem to be going through some growing pains so I'm curious where they're going. For the last few years I've written for Computers in Libraries which is a funny sounding name for a magazine but it has a lot of articles written by people in the profession about how they use technology to solve problems. My co-writer there [who is taking over the column entirely] is also a MeFite. It's maybe worth thinking about what your workplace already subscribes too and see if you can complement and not duplicate that.
posted by jessamyn at 7:24 AM on December 16, 2010

Best answer: The only library lit I've found to be useful is peer-reviewed (e.g. articles from College and Research Libraries, The Reference Librarian, etc.) Since I read pretty selectively, I use EBSCO alerts and Informed Librarian (the free one) to keep an eye on tables of contents and get the articles from databases or via ILL rather than subscribe.

I've never found Library Journal, American Libraries, and other trade magazines useful for brass-tacks professional information.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:29 AM on December 16, 2010

I love Horn Book but it's definitely a children's literature magazine as opposed to a children's librarianship magazine. (I don't subscribe, though; I read it online through a database my library subscribes to). I find Library Journal and American Libraries to be a bit lacking in substance.
posted by Jeanne at 7:35 AM on December 16, 2010

I am not a Librarian but I read "This Book Is Overdue" by Johnson. It shows the diverse activities of librarians and mentions a number of websites and publications that they favor. I would suggest you read the book (enlightening) and check out the references. Check it out at your local library ;-)
posted by PickeringPete at 8:18 AM on December 16, 2010

American Libraries comes with an ALA membership, so if you're not a member, you should ask for a membership for Christmas -- the student price is less than it costs to just subscribe to the magazine. If your state has a joint state library association/ALA membership, get that and you'll likely get a state association magazine as well. Plus, if you tack on membership for whatever division you're interested in, you can get those publications. Again, the student prices for division membership are pretty cheap.

You can also get a free subscription to Library Journal as a student, though the bulk of the print magazine is book reviews, so it's more helpful if you're in a purchasing capacity.
posted by wsquared at 10:29 AM on December 16, 2010

I would only get a subscription to something that has a free or very cheap student price. I echo ryanshepard above. Blogs and an RSS reader will keep you better informed.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 11:29 AM on December 16, 2010

Here is another vote for an RSS reader and a variety of blogs: and try including some blogs from outside the library profession too. Much more valuable than print sources for practical information and insights, identifying trends and getting inspired by your colleagues and the work they do. I forget what the librarian world was like before blogs: how did we talk to each other??

If you are really stuck on identifying a print source then I recommend Library Journal: short news stories, longer articles, regular columns and loads of book reviews all under one cover.

But remember to check their website, too: more content there (and blogs!)
posted by Ranindaripley at 11:59 AM on December 16, 2010

Even more important than magazines, read the blogs! IMHO reading the blogs is more important. Also, listservs, we love our email still. And Friendfeed (LSW). Honestly, I can't think of any magazines I'd like to get in print. Google read has a library bundle that's good, start there.
posted by Blake at 12:05 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have to second Horn Book, just for its wonderfully erudite editorial tone. It's awfully expensive if you're not really, really interested in children's literature, though.

I agree with those who've said that Library Journal and American Libraries (especially the latter) are not very useful. The various blogs are much better.
posted by missrachael at 1:00 PM on December 16, 2010

I more or less agree with the assessments above that print pubs don't justify the subscription cost in most cases. If you get one along with an association membership, particularly at student rates, awesome, but I wouldn't worry much about it otherwise. Another thing to keep in mind is that your future employer may well subscribe to several library journals that you can read at work. Doubly true for academic libraries, but my local public library has a decent selection, too (including Computers in Libraries that Jessamyn mentioned; although I'm biased as her co-columnist, I think it's a good read even if you're not in a tech job.)
posted by donnagirl at 3:29 PM on December 16, 2010

« Older What to bring my kids from Baltimore   |   Help improving my wardrobe Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.