Journal-Sizing: LIS Publication Comparisons

Dear Readers, a comparison of two publications useful to the library profession is my topic for this post. I have chosen Public Libraries and Booklist. I chose these resources because I have only a cursory familiarity.
Public Libraries is the official magazine of the Public Library Association. The editor is Kathleen M. Hughes. There are several contributing editors. The issues are theme related. The editor’s notes highlights the theme and invites readers to seek out particular articles. The Innovation issue, (Jan, Feb 2014) for instance, featured articles ranging from “Crisis to Collaboration” to “Babies in the Library” and “Technology Center Focuses on Innovation and Creativity”. (Jan/Feb, 2014)
The journal is publish bimonthly, it is the official journal of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Libraries Association. Readers are also invited to visit PL online for access to bloggers and features from the print magazine. Those wishing to publish are encouraged to make submissions which undergo a “double blind review.” Minimal ad-like announcements are PLA-specific (promoting the PLA conference) and/or public library related, touting the use of PLA Train the Trainer Kits available through the ALA website.
Written for and by library insiders, contributing editors include librarians; library directors; library school educators; and consultants. “Each issue includes important industry news, PLA and ALA updates, and columns and feature articles that offer strategies and ideas that can make a difference in your career” according to PL’s website. Contact information accompanies each article in the “About the Author” section along with a very interesting feature (for this bibliophile) an announcement of the book that each contributor is currently reading. I like the informative, yet informal tone of the articles. Articles are free of library-jargon overkill. References are included were appropriate, as are the qualifications of each writer.
In our LIS 6010 class, we’ve been reading articles about libraries in different settings, from the court house to the airport, similarly, cutting edge practices are illustrated in Public Libraries. Why is this important? Frankly, much of what we read and even reports we get from some professionals in the field are overwhelmingly negative. This too, is instructive; there is no need to sugar coat the real world environment, but for students, and those currently working, the realities are clear. New, or just new to you approaches are affirming. PL articles read as if the professionals themselves are saying: yes, it is tough for libraries, but let us share some positive solutions that others are trying; be inspired. On Ulrich’s Web Global Serials Directory site, Amy Jackson proclaims Public Libraries to be “essential reading for all public librarians.” (01-17-2014)
Readers, PL’s website also tells us it is intended for “public librarians, library staff, and trustees, but if you happen to come across it at your local library, don’t be surprised if you find yourself lingering over an article or two.
Because I love reading, I’m drawn to book lists. Readers’ advisors often keep Booklist handy because it offers a ready sampling of ALA’s best lists. A bi-monthly publication (except for July and August) Booklist, an ALA publication, has been spotlighting notable books for over one hundred years. ALA’s 2014 Best Lists was featured last month. In that issue Editor Bill Ott reminds readers of the extensive reading necessary to produce such lists. (March, 3, 2014) Best Lists of women’s fiction; adult genre fiction; young adult fiction and more, including notable audio-books are featured. According to its website Booklist is intended to “help librarians build their collections and readers decide what to read.”
Print subscribers have access to booklist online, a free website and database; subscribers may also sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter with links to open access reviews published only online. In addition to lists, book reviews and author interviews are also found for children and adults in numerous genres. To keep you wanting more, there is also a segment on what to expect in upcoming issues. A look at frequently asked questions online reveals Booklist does not currently review e-books, but is considering doing so. Booklist offers a webinar archive online highlighting “what’s new “in certain book categories. Ulrich’s Jacqui Grallo calls Booklist “an essential resource for school and public librarians, and an engaging and informative read for anyone interested in literacy, books, and reading.” (01-17-2014)

In comparison, both Booklist and Public Libraries are intended for adults; both are for library staffers, primarily. Both are ALA associated publications. Public Libraries is peer reviewed. Both sources are written by library insiders, and are frequently read by public library professionals. Both publications have long histories. PL has been active since 1962. Booklists has been active since 1905 (formerly ALA Booklist) according to Ulrich’s website (April 4, 2014). Both publications have an online presence with some access to materials featured in the print versions. Booklists is also intended for use by the public. Public Libraries is not specifically intended for the public, but readers may find the library-related articles of interest.

Hughes/PL Editor, K. M. (2014, January/February). Editor’s Notes. Public Libraries, 53(1), 2.
Public Libraries Magazine | Public Library Association (PLA). (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from
Write for Public Libraries | Public Library Association (PLA). (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from
Webinar archive | Booklist Online. (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from
FAQ | Booklist Online. (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from
Jackson, A. (2014, January 14). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from

Ott, B. (2014, March 3). Special This Issue. BookList, 110(14), 2.

Grallo, J. (2014, January 17). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from


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