ALA Publishing: a new shopping experience

ala store logo Launched in early February 2009, ALA Publishing’s new online store drew enthusiastic reviews from customers that translated into increased traffic for all ALA products in the store. In particular, the new store offers a contemporary interface for browsing by product/publication type or by area of interest; a feature that remembers the contents of a shopping cart for up to 30 days; a wish list feature for storing items of interest for later purchase or e-mailing to others directly from the store; product descriptions for books that include handy links to Library Thing, WorldCat, and bookmarking sites like Del.ici.ous; RSS feeds for new product alerts; a “Print for Purchase Order” feature that generates a printer-friendly order summary, including tax and shipping charges; and an area on each product page for additional products customers may be interested in.

ALA Editions publishes 36 new titles

ala editions logo ALA Editions published a bumper crop of publications in 2009 with 36 new titles and revisions. Books received enthusiastic reviews throughout the year in a variety of media, including starred reviews in Library Journal and Information Today. More than a dozen Editions authors shared their expertise as presenters at the Annual Conference in Chicago and the ACRL National Conference in Seattle, as well as at many regional conferences and events. 

Among the titles published in 2009 were Booktalking Bonanza: Ten Ready-to-Use Multimedia Sessions for the Busy Librarian, by Betsy Diamant-Cohen and Selma K. Levi; Reading Is Funny: Motivating Kids to Read with Riddles, by Dee Anderson; The Hipster Librarian's Guide to Teen Craft Projects, by Tina Coleman and Peggie Llanes; Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and Their Lawyers, by Theresa Chmara; Marketing Today's Academic Library: A Bold New Approach to Communicating with Students, by Brian Mathews; Inside, Outside, and Online: Building Your Library Community, by Chrystie Hill; Magic Search: Getting the Best Results from Your Catalog and Beyond, by Rebecca S. Kornegay, Heidi E. Buchanan, and Hildegard B. Morgan; The Library PR Handbook, edited by Mark Gould; The Librarian’s Book of Quotes, compiled by Tatyana Eckstrand; and The Back Page, by Bill Ott.

crisis in employment logo In the spring, Editions published its first Special Report. Crisis in Employment, which offers advice and methods for providing appropriate training and education to job seekers, was also made available in electronic format at a lower price. ALA Editions Special Reports will be published on an occasional basis in response to specific time-sensitive needs or when content does not require a book-length treatment.

ALA JobLIST: jobs even in tight times

ala joblist logo ALA JobLIST, the association’s one-stop library jobs website and a top source for both job-seekers and employers, had a facelift this year and added features in response to user feedback. The redesigned homepage shows the latest listings at a glance and offers clearer paths for job seekers and employers to find what they need on the site. Job listings benefit from wider online distribution, and advertising employers have more options to control how candidates respond to ads and contact them. Job seekers can also easily save and share specific job listings using a variety of social networking sites and tools.

JobLIST staff participated in the ALA 2010 project Get a Job! helping develop an interactive website with tips, suggested links and readings, podcasts, and activities for new librarians and support staff, those looking to change position, or people who have been laid off or are are having difficulty finding the right position. 

JobLIST also has an active presence on both Facebook and Twitter, where new job listings and items of general interest to job seekers and hiring employers are posted daily. Despite the shrinking number of jobs available during the economic crisis, this joint project of the Association of College and Research Libraries, American Libraries, and the Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment listed almost 1,300 open positions.

American Libraries: open access to a wealth of content

american libraries logo American Libraries, ALA’s flagship news and feature magazine, continued to offer readers up-to-the-minute information in a growing variety of formats, with digital supplements the latest addition. AL’s suite now includes 10 issues of the print magazine, the weekly e-newsletter American Libraries Direct, a student version of AL Direct, AL Focus videocasts, the American Libraries Online newsfeed, occasional digital supplements, and classified employment ads through ALA JobLIST.

The magazine celebrated the first Open Access Day in October 2008 by opening up its Web content and making AL Direct available to anyone for the asking. Formerly accessible only with a member login, each current issue of the print magazine is open to all, as are back issues through 2003.

inside scoop logo AL launched its own blog, AL Inside Scoop, where Editor-in-Chief Leonard Kniffel and other members of the editorial staff offer an insider’s view of goings-on at ALA headquarters and the hot topics ALA staffers are talking about in the hallways. The blog also offers extensive coverage of ALA conferences.

AL ’s well-received first digital supplement was published in December 2008. The “Digital Supplement on Professional Learning” focused on the value of lifelong learning; the second digital supplement was published in conjunction with the April 2009 facilities issue; and in collaboration with Membership Development, a digital international supplement was published in summer 2009, highlighting aspects of ALA divisions’ work with particular relevance and appeal to librarians in other countries.

AL Focus published new videos through the year, all of which are available online. Video reporting—some with a solid dose of humor—included ALA, the ACRL, REFORMA, and other conferences; the ALA TechSource Gaming Symposium; campaigns such as Banned Books Week and National Library Week; and other library- and ALA-related events.

The print magazine offered informative, topical updates on all kinds of issues affecting librarians and libraries, from dealing with dysfunctional staff to a story on tagging, from the then-upcoming Obama presidency and what it might mean for libraries to a look at training and retooling in tight times. AL “Newsmaker” profiled a wide range of people with diverse roles and influences in the library world, including Cory Doctorow, Kay Ryan, Patricia Martin, Richard Gottlieb, Johannes Gebregeorgis, and Cokie Roberts. As a one-time response to the financial crisis, ALpublished a combined August/September in 2009.

Booklist Publications: more of everything in every format

booklist logo Booklist Publications had another busy year in digital media, with new blogs, a new e-newsletter, and several new videos, while maintaining the quality and depth of its print publications. The whole suite of publications offered numerous features, articles, top 10 lists, read-alikes, and listen-alikes, in addition to the more than 8,500 titles that were reviewed and recommended in adult, youth, media, and reference.

Booklist Online added three new blogs during the year, meeting the needs and interests of an ever-increasing range of librarians and readers: Audiobooker, by teacher librarian and certified audiobook addict Mary Burkey, offers readers listening notes, teaching resources, classroom examples, and what she describes as an “online scrapbook of audiobook minutia, digital literature ramblings, and random ridiculous addendums.” Bookends features middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan discussing YA and children’s books, offering reviews, best practices, general advice, professional tips, personal notes, and a good dash of humor. In Points of Reference, Mary Ellen Quinn and a team of front-line experts from academic, public, and school libraries post about reference sources and trends in reference publishing and services.

book group buzz logo The popular Booklist blog Book Group Buzz, which provides helpful and entertaining information to reading groups both in and outside libraries, was selected as the official partner blog by the Women’s National Book Association for its second National Reading Group Month in October.

Booklist Online Exclusives joined the roster of free, content-driven e-newsletters, providing Booklist readers with additional full-text reviews (600 in 2008 alone) and features at no additional cost. The Web exclusives include timely reviews of hot books that publishers keep under wraps until their on-sale dates.

Starting with the September 2008 issue of the e-newsletter Quick Tips, Book Links magazine teamed up with to give readers free access to online author interviews, discussion guides, book readings, and websites that support titles and authors covered in each issue. In May, Booklist announced the fiscal 2010 plan for Book Links magazine to be published as a quarterly print supplement to Booklist, at no additional cost to subscribers, rather than as a stand-alone magazine. Book Links’ editorial focus and original content will continue to fulfill the mission of connecting children with books and related media. Book Links content will also appear in Booklist Online, further enriching the site and database as a resource for school and youth librarians.

Booklist Online started hosting open quarterly Webinars to extend demonstrations maximizing the use of the site to the virtual world. Hundreds of attendees participated as senior Booklist editors discussed various Booklist Online–related topics, including collection development and “Daily Tips for Daily Use.”

back page cover Booklist Publications joined the Twitterati at Daily tweets now point more than 1,200 followers to timely free material on Booklist Online, including the Review of the Day, blog posts, feature articles, special offers and incentives, as well as entertaining items like the not-to-be missed Booklist promo video, “We Read Everything.”

The Back Page by Bill Ott, published by ALA Editions, was launched at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago (prompting another Back Page about the launch party). A compendium of the literal back pages of Booklist, the book is filled with anecdotes, stories, quizzes, and a host of insights into what makes books what they are.

ALA Graphics: a diverse, green, star-studded, and character-filled year

ala graphics logo ALA Graphics launched an array of new products in fiscal 2009, several based on long-term partners within ALA and others with publishers, celebrity agents, and photographers. The year got off to a star-studded start with the fastest-moving celebrity READ poster on record, featuring the stars of the movie Twilight, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Other celebrities appearing on READ posters included Hugh Laurie, best known for his portrayal of Dr. Gregory House in the hit series House; America Ferrera, known for her role in Ugly Betty; Cole Hamels from the Philadelphia Phillies; Yao Ming from the Houston Rockets; actress Rachel McAdams; R&B recording artist and actor Ne-Yo; and the Jonas Brothers. 

New character posters based on popular young adult and children’s books included Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a series popular with young boys; two sets for Where the Wild Things Are (one featuring the classic art of Maurice Sendak and the other featuring photography from the film adaptation); Library Lion; original art by Eric Carle; Maximum Read, based on the manga series by James Patterson; Vampire Kisses, from a young-adult graphic novel series; Kevin Henkes’ Old Bear; Tale of Despereaux, a popular children’s book and movie; Gotham City characters from DC Comics; and a Coraline poster and bookmark featuring art from the movie.

latino heritage month poster The diversity poster and bookmark line was expanded to include Latino Heritage Month in the fall, Black History in February, Women’s History in March, and Asian/Pacific American Heritage in May. A Celebrate Native American Literature poster and bookmark were published in partnership with the American Indian Library Association.

A poster celebrating children’s poetry by Mary Ann Hoberman, the U.S. children’s poet laureate, marked National Poetry Month in April, while a new History Lives poster and bookmark honored the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Campaign-related posters, bookmarks, and other items included Banned Books Week, Teen Read Week, Teen Tech Week and National Library Week. And, in partnership with the American Association of School Librarians, Graphics produced a poster and bookmark highlighting the new Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.

A “green” product line with the message “Read Renew Return” debuted and grew to include a bamboo lanyard, a reusable nylon grocery bag, an organic cotton T-shirt, and library card sleeves providing an additional incentive for librarians to promote library card use along with their own library information.

bib Other new nonprint products included expansions of the Born to Read line and a hot chocolate mug featuring the Dewey numbers for chocolate and marshmallows.

The ALA Graphics catalog had a facelift in the spring, with a redesign and reorganization of some of the pages to better reflect recent changes, including on the online store. 

The READ CD blog ( continued to draw visitors interested in learning about the READ CD or looking for guidance on how to use it more effectively. The Mini READ Poster Generator, designed for creating small READ posters for use in online media, proved popular with READ Blog users and contributors as well as other visitors to the site.

ALA online resources: digital content, digital delivery

ala techsource logo The big news for ALA TechSource was the completion of phase two of the Drupal-based website update, along with enhanced electronic delivery of Library Technology Reports and Smart Libraries Newsletter through MetaPress, a leading e-journal host. This new electronic delivery platform for ALA TechSource opened for business in May at

The ALA TechSource blog continued to offer timely perspectives from academic and public libraries with posts from Jason Griffey, Kate Sheehan, Michael Stephens, Cindi Trainor, Tom Peters, and ALA TechSource Editor Dan Freeman. The blog welcomed the Library 2.0 gang podcast as a regular feature, syndicated by Talis. ALA TechSource also continued supplementing the print publications with online events and activities, most notably expanding its presence on Twitter, surpassing 2,000 followers. UTechSource also hosted a forum in Second Life with Library Technology Reports author Joe Sanchez on how librarians and educators can use virtual worlds as instructional tools.

Guide to Reference, the new searchable, browsable, and interactive online expansion of Guide to Reference Books, with annotated entries for more than 16,000 trusted go-to sources, became available for subscription in December 2008.

The full draft of Resource Description and Access (RDA), the new cataloging standard that will replace AACR2 ( Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, second edition), was released in November 2008 for constituency review. Final changes to the RDA text were received from the joint steering committee and began undergoing conversion to XML. Beta testing was scheduled to start in fall 2009.

AASL offers new standards and guidelines

aasl logo Following and supporting its Standards for the 21st-Century Learner, the American Association of School Librarians published two more titles to bring school library programs into the 21st century. Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in Action includes indicators, benchmarks, model examples, and assessments to support school library specialists and other educators in teaching the essential learning skills defined in the learning standards. Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs provides leadership principles that address how and what is required to master a changing school library environment that is driven by learners and the learning process.

ACRL publishing notes: a busy year

acrl logo The Association of College and Research Libraries published 11 new books in 2008-2009: Academic Library Research: Perspectives and Current Trends, edited by Marie L. Radford and Pamela Snelson; Design Talk: Understanding the Roles of Usability Practitioners, Web Designers, and Web Developers in User-Centered Web Design, by Brenda Reeb; Directory of Curriculum Materials Centers, 6th edition<, compiled by the Curriculum Materials Centers Directory Ad Hoc Committee of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Section; Emergency Response Planning in College Libraries (Clip Note 40), compiled by Marcia Thomas and Anke Voss and edited by Marcia Thomas; Influencing without Authority (ACRL Active Guide #2), Melanie Hawks; Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies at Ohio University (A Research Report), by Char Booth; Gaming in Academic Libraries: Collections, Marketing, and Information Literacy, edited by Amy Harris and Scott E. Rice; Informed Learning, by Christine Susan Bruce; Library Rx: Measuring and Treating Library Anxiety by Martina Malvasi, Catherine Rudowsky, and Jesus M. Valencia; Teaching Literary Research: Challenges in a Changing Environment: ACRL Publications in Librarianship #60, by Kathleen A. Johnson and Steven R. Harris; and The Library Instruction Cookbook, edited by Ryan L. Sittler and Douglas Cook.

“Resources for College Libraries: Career Resources” is the most recent addition to the Resources for College Libraries family of products for the undergraduate curriculum. Jointly developed by Choice and R.R. Bowker, the new resource contains a core list of nearly 5,000 essential books and online resources for community, vocational, and technical college libraries in fields such as Allied Health, Building and Construction Trades, Engineering and Technology, and Graphic and Apparel Arts.

Four new standards and guidelines were published: “A Guideline for the Screening and Appointment of Academic Librarians,” “ALA-SAA [Society of American Archivists] Joint Statement on Access to Research Materials in Archives and Special Collections Libraries,” “Guidelines for Curriculum Materials Centers,” and “Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators: A Practical Guide.”

ala salary survey cover Mean salary for librarians drops slightly; median increases 2%

In the 2009 edition of the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian—Public and Academic, data from more than 1,179 public and academic libraries showed the mean salary for librarians with ALA-accredited master’s degrees decreased less than 1 percent from 2008—down $100 to $58,860—while the median salary was $54,500, 2 percent higher than in 2008, with salaries ranging from $22,000 to $256,800. The survey is available to subscribers to the ALA-APA Library Salary Database, in print from the ALA Online Store, and in public-only and academic-only downloads.

ALCTS helps libraries seize opportunities

The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services published one book, Risk and Entrepreneurship in Libraries: Seizing Opportunities for Change, by Pamela Bluh and Cindy Hepfer, which illustrates how ambitious, energetic librarians can transform their organizations, re-envision library services, focus attention on the needs of library users, and partner with other institutions or organizations to make libraries more exciting and relevant.

PLA publications: resources for public librarians

pla logo The Public Library Association published two poster kits for librarians to distribute to their young readers. “100 Best Books to Read in Kindergarten” lists picture books to read aloud to kindergarten-age children and includes classics as well as contemporary books that can be checked off as they are read. The kit includes two posters (“100 Best books to Read in Kindergarten” and “100 More Books to Read in Kindergarten”), a parent guide, and bookmarks. “75 of the Best Books for Young Children” lists board books and picture books to read to children through preschool age. The list includes classics, books that teach important concepts, stories to sing, books with rhyme and rhythm, and books for bedtime. Also included are guidelines and stickers for adding to poster as books are read. Both PLA poster kits are sold in packs of 25. The lists were developed by the West Bloomfield (Mich.) Public Library.

In 2009, the PLA released the second of its “train the trainer” kits, “Customer Service: Balancing Rights and Responsibilities.” This kit, written by Sandra Nelson, contains everything needed to hold a 4-4½–hour customer service workshop. Content focuses on creating effective customer service policies in the library by defining the rights and responsibilities of both customers and staff members. Trainers learn how to describe the difference between security issues and public service issues, explain the rights and responsibilities of staff and customers in a customer service interaction, define and illustrate assertive communication techniques, provide examples of effective and ineffective customer service interactions, facilitate general discussions and manage group interactions, and evaluate the effectiveness of the training program and revise it if needed. The kits includes an introduction/instructions, trainer’s agenda, PowerPoint presentation, script, participant handouts, and evaluation forms. This is a downloadable training kit and must be ordered from the ALA store,

The 2009 ALA-PLA Public Library Data Service (PLDS) Statistical Report, available in print and online formats, contains data gathered from more than 800 public libraries on finances, library resources, annual use, and technology. This year’s special survey focused on public library facilities.

yals summer 2009 YALSA notes: a best-seller, awards and friends

The Young Adult Library Services Association published one of ALA Editions’ best sellers, Quick and Popular Reads for Teens, edited by Pam Spencer Holley. . . . Young Adult Library Services, YALSA’s quarterly journal, won an APEX Award for Publication Excellence for its 2008 issues edited by RoseMary Honnold. . . . YALSA’ board approved two white papers: “The Benefits of Including Dedicated Young Adult Librarians on Staff in the Public Library” and “The Importance of Young Adult Services in LIS Curricula.”