Saturday, July 20, 2013

Comparison of Professional Journals

The two journals I selected to review for this entry were Library Journal and School Library Monthly. I chose Library Journal because it is the most popular journal in the industry, being produced by the American Library Association (ALA). I chose School Library Monthly because it is completely outside of what I intend to do as a professional. School Library Monthly is produced by Libraries Unlimited, a division of ABC-CLIO. It is worth mentioning that while I was able to look at a physical copy of Library Journal, I could only look at School Library Monthly Online. I reviewed Library Journal’s online site as well to make the best comparison between the two.

The intended audiences of the two journals are somewhat different. Library Journal has a broad spectrum of readership, and is generally aimed at anyone in the field of Library and Information Science. School Library Monthly, on the other hand, is directed at school librarians and media specialists working at a K-12 facility. School Library Monthly’s readers are a subset of Library Journal’s readership.

Since School Library Monthly is a specialized journal, it differs in content from Library Journal. School Library Monthly not only has articles relevant to its readers, it also has a blog and a podcast. Perhaps the strength of School Library Monthly is that it integrates curriculum into its format to assist school librarians in instructing information literacy at the K-12 level. By contrast, Library Journal is a massive one-stop-shop for professional information. Library Journal has articles relating to every aspect of librarianship, including special sections on management, technology, material reviews and employment. Library journal also has a job listing board to assist readers in their job search. Library Journal also hosts Webcasts as another form of interaction with its readers.

Regarding the articles published by both Journals, they are both peer-reviewed before publication. Having articles peer-reviewed is important because it allows someone with similar background and expertise to double check the author to ensure the accuracy of the information presented and that valid sources were used during research.

 I found both of these journals interesting for very different reasons. I was impressed by School Library Monthly’s drive to incorporate curriculum into their journal, and how they encouraged partnerships with teachers for instruction in the classroom, their common goal being to promote information literacy. There were many articles on current trends in both the teaching and library professions, and how they can assist one another with their goals. Library Journal, on the other hand, was very engaging because there was something for everyone. I first got sucked in by the Library Journal app for iPad that brings the journal to you electronically. After downloading that, I found myself reading article after article, ranging from future trends in digital preservation to a humorous column written by the AnnoyedLibrarian, discussing busybodies at the library who meddle where they shouldn’t be. I really appreciated the depth of engagement Library Journal had with its readers, and the multiple methods it used to accomplish that.

Overall, these two journals demonstrated to me again how diverse the field of LIS is. Even though there are millions of specialties underneath the LIS umbrella, each specialty can learn from another to further the goals of both.

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