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48 & 49.

Note: I am going to be shortening reviews unless I really adored the book, because I’m working full-time, moving, and still trying to work on a novel each day.

48. Librarianship: An Introduction – G G Chowdhury, Paul F Burton, David McMenemy, and Alan Poulter - 301 pages

Rating: 4.5 stars

This is an excellent beginning text for the beginner interested in pursuing a career in Information & Library Sciences. I read it as I plan to pursue my MSc in Information and Library studies beginning in 2011 (why yes, I did emphasize with Hermione Granger when I read Harry Potter, how did you know?).

The book is organized cohesively, and introduces the concepts, gives the history of, describes the different types (academic, public, special, digital, etc), design, the future, different services provided, collection management and development, preservation and digitization, classification and cataloguing (good lord, this was a boring chapter…not looking forward to a semester of it!), indexing, and the information retrieval of libraries. My favourite section was the bit of the book that examined libraries as a social institution and gave more insight to the services provided and the government’s role in libraries. Next, the book discussed various technologies and databases that are frequently used. The role of management in the context of libraries was discussed, along with education and research to continue to develop the field.

As is obvious, quite a lot of different topics were covered clearly and effectively. As a more or less novice, I feel far more confident that this is the field I wish to pursue, although I feel well-informed by the problems facing librarianship in the days of mass digitization and economic recession. The authors of this book are all professors of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, and so it is more targeted for the UK, but much of the information crosses over to other countries. This book is an excellent starting point for anyone contemplating going into librarianship or becoming an information professional.

49. Interzone #229: Jul-Aug 2010 – edited by Andy Cox et al – 63 pages

Rating: 3 stars

This is the first full science fiction magazine I’ve read in a awhile, although I do enjoy reading the odd science fiction story online. The issue included four main pieces of fiction: “Mannikin” by Paul Evanby, which was set in the slavery era of the US, with a scientist creating golems to replace the slaves, “Candy Moments,” by Antony Mann, which was a little similar to the idea of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Melancholy by Toby Litt, a short piece about an artificial intelligence that goes far into space and returns, each time losing a bit more of herself, “Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, which I tried to read thrice and could not finish, and “Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Matter” by Jim Hawkins, which was interesting and about an orchestra in a virtual reality. None of the stories in this issue truly jumped out at me (Jim Hawkins’ was my favourite of the four), but I found the book reviews very hopeful and have added a few more to my ever-expanding TBR list. I am going to read another issue before I decide if I wish to take out a subscription for it.

PS - Hello, world. booksforfood is my book review journal, but I also write about library issues and ruminate on being an ex-pat American in Scotland. I'm always looking for fellow booky friends, so feel free to add!


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2010 10:53 am (UTC)
Oooh, 'Interzone' is still going? Good for them! I used to buy that when I was at High School, two decades ago!

(Er...not dissing it in a "fit only for High School students" way - there was a shop near my High School that stocked it, but none in my home town.)
Oct. 3rd, 2010 11:28 am (UTC)
I just wanted to say hi when I noticed you were in Scotland :) I'm from Glasgow! x
Oct. 3rd, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
I've been in Aberdeen for over a year now, crazy to think! I want to move to a bigger city like Glasgow or Edinburgh, though.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC)

This is quite the coincidence - I have "Librarianship: An Introduction" sitting on the chair right next to me at the moment! I haven't started it yet, but it's next on my list after the one I'm currently reading through, Susie Andretta's "Information Literacy: A Practitioner's Guide".

(I'm now four weeks into an MA/MSc course in Information and Library Management and at the stage of wanting to read as much as I can before I have to start researching coursework etc in a few weeks.)

I wasn't planning on putting reviews of library-related books online because I didn't think anyone would be interested, but if you are, just let me know.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
I figured it wouldn't be interesting enough on its own, which is why I lumped it with a sci fi mag! I'm interested in librarian books! I'm not starting my course until next year (I'm working full-time as a page instead), but I may as well get a head start on studying so that the intensive one-year course doesn't kill me.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)

As a page?? What does that involve?

I'm doing my course part-time so that I can work as well (I couldn't get a loan, so I need the money). It seems really good so far. Which university do you want to study at, or are you still in the stages of finding out about courses?

My book rec journal is mayitbe_books if you want to follow it. I'll probably cross-post some reviews here, but I might not always remember.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
It's just entry level library work. Technically I'm a library assistant I suppose.

I was already accepted to the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland for 2010 entry but I've deferred it for a year, so I'll go next year. I'll be able to afford the astronomical international fees next year, and hopefully I'll get some scholarships as well.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
Ok, I have to jump in here. I love the review and I am super interested in people's intent to go into Library Sciences. I desperately want to be a librarian but here in the US the market for Librarians is so terrible. I just read an article with about 50 responses from people who said they can NOT find a full-time job to save their souls. I really want to apply to a program for next year, but I'm terrified of not being ever able to find a job.

Does anyone else feel concerned about this?
Oct. 3rd, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
I graduated from an MA in Librarianship four years ago, and I think the job market's worse now than its ever been since I first started looking for library jobs about six years ago. Even living in a major capital city I only see two-three permanent full-time library jobs at the right level advertised each month. There are a lot more part-time or temporary jobs available, so if you're able to take those sorts of positions, that will help. Being flexible about moving to another part of the country for the right job would be an advantage too.

I have a full-time job, but even with a postgraduate qualification I'm paid far less than most graduates in other fields are. My partner has an IT degree and earns twice as much as me. So make sure you enjoy the work before going into it, it's certainly not a career to follow for the money or job security!
Oct. 3rd, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
Well I'm debating sort of segwaying into information management or corporate librarianship, even though I'd far rather be a school librarian, but there is a booming industry in corporate librarianship evidently because so many companies need people with excellent research skills.

It is pretty terrifying, but I'm lucky enough to be in a pretty good position. By the time I graduate I'll have two years of paraprofessional experience and three years of university work experience, and I'll have both US citizenship and indefinite leave to remain in the UK. I can pretty much move anywhere in the world that someone will hire me. Preferably I'd like to stay in the UK for a few more years so that I can have citizenship and CILIP chartership, but considering all libraries throughout the UK are undergoing cutbacks, who knows.

I wish I wanted to do something that would end up lucrative, but no other job really appeals to me except for teaching possibly, and there's less job security in that just now for certain.

Edited at 2010-10-03 04:48 pm (UTC)
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)

My preference is academic librarianship - I have an MA in Archaeology, so a specialist librarian role in an academic library would be my absolute ideal. But obviously the chances of my finding such a role soon after getting my qualification are rather tiny, so I'll certainly look into other things.

The health sector's a possibility - I currently work for the NHS doing admin, so that might be an "in" to working in an NHS library, where they always need information management specialists. I have actually seen a few jobs advertised in NHS libraries around here over the last year or so. Alternatively, Liverpool Central Library is getting refurbished and will reopen around the time I leave university, so probably everyone in my course (I'm at Liverpool John Moores University) is hoping there'll be some positions available!
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
You'll be ahead of the game with the second masters, but it does really suck that academic librarian jobs are very few and far between just now.

I'm in Aberdeen, so the logical course is to go into oil and sell my soul for lots of money, but the prospect really depresses me.

I've added you as a friend!
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I'm hoping that the second masters at least slightly makes up for the lack of experience working in an actual library (though there is a 3-week placement as part of my course, and there's always the possibility I might manage to find a part-time library assistant job at some point before I graduate).

I've added you, too. Will be nice to have someone on my f-list I can talk library with...
Oct. 4th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
You sound like you're in a very good situation if you can move anywhere you like. Plus you'll have great work experience for a new graduate.

There's pretty good job security in some teaching subjects - but mainly the sciences and maths I think.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
I'm only a few weeks into my course, but one thing that's already been drummed into us is that the qualification doesn't only enable us to get jobs in actual libraries, there's all kinds of information management roles which we should keep an open mind about.

Edited at 2010-10-03 05:10 pm (UTC)
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)

That's great.

I'm surprised by how many people here are or want to be librarians! Is there a comm on LJ for us? (Maybe if there isn't, there should be!)
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
There's a library school one, but maybe we should make a comm for us stupidly hopeful wannabe librarians?
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea!
Oct. 7th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)

As I've ended up only reading short sections (and skim reading some of the rest) of the book I mentioned above (Andretta's "Information Literacy: A Practitioner's Guide") I can't really do a proper review for it, but just in case you were interested in it...

It has a fairly useful introductory chapter (it was one recommended by one of the course tutors). However, it then dedicates a lot of chapters to case studies of sessions with undergrad students testing/learning various things relating to information literacy. Personally I'm not a big fan of reading that type of case study unless I absolutely have to, hence my skipping over them. It's also probably a bit more in-depth than you'd want to look at when you haven't even started your course yet. If you can get hold of the book easily it's worth having a look at the "setting the scene" chapter, but I wouldn't bother going to any lengths to track it down until you're actually studying the subject.

I've now started reading the book you reviewed above! It seems useful.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
I took Library & Information Science as an undergrad (they offer BLIS and MLIS here). Cataloging's kind of boring (especially during lectures), but I think it's alright once you get the hang of it.

Good luck!
Oct. 3rd, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
That's what I've heard! Just another year of waiting for it to begin now, sigh. :P
Oct. 3rd, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
I've always wanted to be a librarian (and will hopefully be going to school for it next year), and I didn't even realize that there were books about it! Thanks for your review, I'll have to pick that one up to see if I'll really like it as a career.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)

There's quite a lot of books available ;) But if you pick some up, try and make sure they're recently published, because the field has changed enormously over the last few years. There's a lot of focus now on online research skills, e-learning, etc., as well as the more traditional roles.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip!
I've read the conversation above, and it's both inspired and terrified me LOL! I'm terrified about how much the job market sucks for librarians, but I'm really interested in everything you're taught, even the boring cataloging. It just sounds like such an interesting career for all us Hermione Grangers out there :P
Yup, definitely going to have to pick up some library science books this weekend!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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