Guide to Employment Sources in the Library and Information Profession
Compiled by Beatrice Calvin
Program Officer for Placement & Recruitment
Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment
American Library Association
50 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
- General Sources of Library and Information Jobs
- Specialized Associations and Groups
- State and Regional Library Agencies and Associations
- Library and Information Studies Programs
- Federal Employment Sources
- Overseas - Exchange Programs
- Using Information Skills in Non-Library Settings
- Temporary/Part-Time Positions
- Job Hunting in General
Wherever information needs to be organized and presented to patrons in an effective, efficient and service oriented manner, the skills of librarians can be applied. This means that as a library worker, you have a number of environments where you can find employment. Educate yourself about options, and don't limit yourself.
An effective job search can involve a considerable investment of time, energy, and creativity. No one method or source for job-hunting should be used alone. Use every available resource to expedite your search.
A successful job search can include research, preparation of cover letters and resumes, practicing for interviews, and networking. Use your reference skills to ferret information from a variety of sources including directories and other tools regarding local industries, schools, subject collections, etc. Directories such as the American Library Directory, Subject Collections, Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers, and Directory of Federal Libraries, as well as state directories or directories of other special subject areas can provide a wealth of information.
This Employment Guide can be a particularly useful resource when starting a job search. It lists resources to assist library workers in finding employment. Follow the links that it provides, and be prepared to take action when you find something you're interested in. Take the initiative and contact those that can hire you for the job you want.
Library Literature: Classified ads of library vacancies and positions wanted are carried in many of the national, regional, state and organizational library journals, newsletters and periodicals. Members of associations can sometimes list "position wanted" ads free of charge in their membership publications. Listings of positions available are regularly found in the following journals:
State and regional library association newsletters, state library journals, foreign library periodicals, and other types of periodicals carrying such ads are listed in later sections.
Newspapers: Local newspapers, particularly the larger city Sunday editions, such as the Washington Post , the New York Times , Los Angeles Times , Chicago Tribune , and the Chicago Sun Times often carry job vacancy listings in libraries for both professional and paraprofessional. The online versions of the newspapers usually have a up-to-date careers sections.
Internet: Many library-related discussion lists on the internet often post library job vacancies interspersed with other news and discussion items. A number of general online job search bulletin boards exist. By surfing the internet, you may be able to locate many of them.
Some library-related job search sites include:
- Ann's Place and Maria's Corner - Library Job Hunting
- Internet Library for Librarians
- Jobs for Librarians and Information Professionals
- Library Job Postings on the Internet Compiled by Sarah Johnson
Advanced Information Management, P.O. Box 2600, Hollister, CA 95024-2600; 831-630-1500, fax: 831-630-1501; website:
Advanced Information Management (AIM) is a staffing services firm specializing in library and information personnel for special, public and academic libraries. AIM provides all levels of staffing from library clerks and technicians to professional librarians and consultants.
American Association of Law Libraries Career Hotline, 53 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 940, Chicago, IL 60604, 312/939-4764.
Ads may be viewed on the job placement hotline: www.aallnet.org/.
American Libraries, ConsultantBase (CBase) and Hot Jobs Online, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611, 800/545-2433 x4211, fax 312/944-8541, e-mail:
A service that helps match professionals offering library/information expertise with institutions. Published quarterly, CBase appears in the Career LEADS section of the January, April, June, and October issues of American Libraries. Inquiries should be made to Jon Kartman, LEADS Editor, c/o American Libraries.
American Library Association, Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR), 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312/280-4280, website:
A on-line placement service is provided at each Annual Conference (June or July) and Midwinter Meeting (January or February). Register online at the web address above. Also provide on-site Placement Center where employers and job seekers can conduct face-to-face interviews. In addition to the ALA conference placement center, ALA division national conferences usually include a placement service. See American Libraries "Datebook" for dates of upcoming divisional conferences, since these are not held every year.
American Library Association, Library & Information Technology Association (LITA), 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611, 312/280-4270; website:
List positions in library and information technology which are available in the U.S. on a weekly basis.
American Society for Information Science and Technology, 1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 510, Silver Spring, MD 20910, 301/495-0900, fax: 301/495-0810, e-mail:
Placement service operated at ASIST Annual Meetings (usually October - locales change). All conference attendees (both ASIST members and non-members), as well as ASIST members who cannot attend the conference, are eligible to use the service to list or find jobs. Job listings are also accepted from employers who cannot attend the conference. Interviews are arranged. Throughout the year, current job openings are listed in ASIST JOBLINE, a monthly publication sent to all members, and available to non-members on request, with self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Art Libraries Society/North America (ARLIS/NA), c/o Executive Director, 329 March Road, #232, Kanata Ontario, A2K 2E1 Canada 800/817-0621, fax: 613/599-7027, e-mail:
Art information and visual resources curator jobs are listed in the ARLIS/NA UPDATE (6 times a year) and a job registry is maintained at Society headquarters. Any employer may list a job with the registry but only members may request job information. Listings also available on ARLIS-L list and website. Call the office for registration and/or published information.
Asian/Pacific American Libraries Newsletter, c/o Kenneth A. Yamashita, Editor, Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library, 605 N. El Dorado Street, Stockton, CA 95202;209-937-8467, fax: 209-937-8683, e-mail:
Quarterly. Includes some job ads. Free to members of Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association.
Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), 1009 Commerce Park Dr., Suite 150, PO Box 4219, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, 865/425-0155, fax: 865/481-0390, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website:
Provides placement service at Annual Conference (Jan. or Feb.) for library and information studies faculty and administrative positions.
Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 1800 N. Stonelake Dr., Suite 2, Bloomington, IN 47408, 812/335-7675, fax: 812/335-7678, Toll free: (877) 677-AECT, e-mail:
AECT maintains an online job center on the its web site and provides a placement service at the annual convention, free to all registrants.
Association of Research Libraries, 21 Dupont Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20036, 202/296-2296, website:
Job openings at ARL member libraries.
Black Caucus Newsletter, c/o BCALA Newsletter, 939 Baldwin Ave. Suite 1, Sharon, PA 16146, e-mail:
Published bi-monthly and mailed to members. Lists job vacancies.
The Canadian Partnership Job Board, http://www.libraryjobs.ca/
C. Berger Group, Inc., 327 E. Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188, 630/653-1115, 800/382-4222, fax: 630/653-1691, email:
Provides library staffing and information management consulting services to clients nationwide. Temporary and contract professionals and support personnel for short and long-term assignments in all types of library settings. CBG consultants plan and manage executive searches for managers, directors and specialists and oversee teams for automation, inventory, cataloging, indexing and collection development projects. CBG is a woman-owned small business enterprise.
Canadian Library Association, 328 Frank Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 0X8, 613/232-9625, website:
Publishes career ads in Feliciter magazine and on the CLA website.
Carney, Sandoe & Associates, 136 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116, 800/225-7986, fax: 617/542-9400, e-mail:
An educational recruitment firm that places teachers and administrators in private, independent schools across the U.S. and overseas.
Catholic Library Association, 100 North St., Ste, 224, Pittsfield, MA 01201-5109, e-mail: email@example.com, website:
Personal and institutional members of CLA are given free space (35 words) to advertise for jobs or to list job openings in Catholic Library World (4/yr.). Others may advertise. Contact advertising coordinator for rates.
Chinese-American Librarians Association Newsletter, c/o Jian Liu, Main Library E159, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, website:
www.cala-web.org (Click on Job Info link on left side navigation).
Job listings in newsletter issued in February, June, and October. Free to members.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, (published weekly - breaks in August and December), 1255 Twenty-Third St., NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20037, 202/466-1055, fax: 202/296-2691; website: http://chronicle.com/jobs/. Publishes a variety of library positions each week, including administrative and faculty jobs.
Council on Library/Media Technicians, Inc., c/o Membership Chair, PO Box 52057, Riverside, CA 92517-3057, website:
Designed specifically for library support staff.
InfoCurrent, Information Management Staffing, 815 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20006, Phone: 202/775-1890, Fax: 202/775-1735, web site:
InfoCurrent is a premier resource specializing in the placement of skilled library and records management professionals nationwide. Assist clients from all facets of the library and information management world - special, academia, technology and vendors - in meeting their staffing needs, both direct hire and temporary.
John Keister and Associates, 374 E. Marseilles St., Vernon Hills, IL 60061, 847/955-0540, fax: 847/955-0541, e-mail:
This is a nationwide executive search firm specializing in library management and administrative positions. They provide executive search services for public, academic, and special libraries.
Labat-Anderson, Inc., 8000 Westpark Dr., #400, McLean, VA 22102, fax: 703/506-4646, email:
One of the largest providers of library and records management services to the federal government. Supports various federal agencies in 27 states, with many positions located in the Washington, D.C., Atlanta and San Francisco areas. Resumes and cover letters will gladly be accepted from librarians with an ALA-accredited M.L.S. and records managers, or from applicants with library and/or records management experience, for full- and part-time employment.
Library Management Systems, Corporate Pointe, Ste.755, Culver City, CA 90230, 310/216-6436, 800/567-4669, fax: 310/649-6388, e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org; and Three Bethesda Metro Center, Ste. 700, Bethesda, MD 20814, 301/961-1984, fax: 301/652-6240, e-mail:
LMS has been providing library staffing, recruitment and consulting to public and special libraries and businesses since 1983. LMS organizes and manages special libraries; designs and implements major projects (including retrospective conversions, automation studies, and records management, etc); performs high-quality cataloging outsourcing; and furnishes contract staffing to all categories of information centers. LMS has a large database of librarians and library assistants on call for long- and short-term projects and provides permanent placement at all levels.
Medical Library Association, 65 E. Wacker Pl., Suite 1900, Chicago, IL 60601-7246, 312/419-9094 x25, website:
MLA News (10 issues per year) lists positions wanted and positions available in its "Employment Opportunities" column. MLA also offers a placement service at Annual Meeting each spring. Job advertisements received for MLA News are posted to online joblisting.
Metropolitan New York Library Council, 57 E. 11th St., New York, NY 10003-4605, 212/228-2320, website:
Serving New York City's five boroughs and Westchester County, the site offers employers and job seekers a job/resume bank and area resources.
Music Library Association Joblist, c/o A-R Editions, 8551 Research Way, #180, Middletown, WI 53562, 608/836-5825, e-mail:
www.musiclibraryassoc.org, (Placement Service-Job List link on left side.).
The professional organization for music libraries and librarians in the U.S. They assist music librarians who seek employment in positions requiring both music and library expertise, and publish a monthly Job List of positions currently available. Positions not requiring an MLS are also included when identified. The JobList is available exclusively via the Internet on MLA's web site or by sending email to: email@example.com with the the one line message: GET yymmJOBLIST. "yymm" indicates the month and year job list you want to retrieve (eg. 9801 for January 1998).
Ohio Library Council, 2 Eastern Oval, Suite 525, Columbus, OH 43219, 614/416-2258, e-mail:
OLC serves as an advocate for public libraries and provides opportunities for library related personnel.
Pro Libra Associates, Inc., 6 Inwood Pl., Maplewood, NJ 07040, 973/762-0070,
(973)762-0070, Toll Free: (800) 262-0070; Fax: (973) 763-6500,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org website:
A library service company providing personnel staffing, project management and consulting services to corporations, public entities and individuals. For more than twenty-five years, PRO LiBRA has staffed libraries and information centers throughout the northeast.
School Libraries, contact the National Association of Teachers' Agencies, 90 S. Cascade Ave., Suite 1110, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, 719/520-1158, fax: 719/520-0645, e-mail:
School librarians often find that the channels for locating positions in education are of more value than the usual library ones, e.g., contacting county or city school superintendent offices. Other sources include university placement offices, which carry listings for a variety of school system jobs.
Public and school library certification requirements often vary from state to state; contact the state library agency for such information in a particular state. A summary of school library/media certification requirements by state is found at www.uky.edu/Education/TEP/usacert.html. An article on certification requirements is usually published in School Library Journal. State supervisors of school library media services may also be contacted for information on specific states.
Society of American Archivists, 527 S. Wells St., 5th fl., Chicago, IL 60607-3922, 312/922-0140, fax: 312/347-1452, e-mail:
Provide classified job announcements in the SAA Online Employment Bulletin, the SAA Employment Bulletin (print edition), or in SAA's bimonthly newsletter, Archival Outlook.
Special Libraries Association, 331 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703.647.4900 fax: 703/647-4901, e-mail: email@example.com, website:
SLA maintains an online career center http://www.sla.org/content/jobs/index.cfm. The Career Center is an essential tool for success in the years ahead. Not only can you search for leading-edge job opportunities, but you have access to invaluable career development resources that will give you an edge in the highly competitive New Economy.
Some of the state library agencies issue lists of job openings within their areas. Some state employment offices will include library listings as part of their job services department. In addition, many state libraries have indicated they have an electronic source that lists job openings. Listed below are resources (newsletters, websites, etc.) by state and/or region.
|State/Region||Library and/or Library Association|
District of Columbia
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Library and information studies programs usually offer placement service for their current students as well as alumni. Most schools provide job hunting and resume writing seminars. Many have outside speakers representing different types of libraries or recent graduates relating career experiences. Faculty or designated placement officers provide individual advising services and/or critiquing of resumes.
Employers will often list jobs with schools only in their particular geographical area. Some library schools will give information to non-alumni regarding their specific locales, but are not staffed to handle mail requests and advice is usually given in person.
|College or University||Website|
|San Jose State University|
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Consideration for employment in many federal libraries requires establishing civil service eligibility. Although the actual job search is your responsibility, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has developed the "USA Jobs" web site ( www.usajobs.opm.gov/ and www.studentjobs.gov/) to assist you along the way. You may also access USAJOBS by calling 478/757-3000, for TDD call 478/744-2299.
USA Jobs "Touch Screen" Computer, is a computer-based system utilizing touch screen technology. These kiosks, located throughout the nation, in OPM offices, Federal Office Buildings and other locations, allow you to access current worldwide Federal job opportunities, on-line information, and more. Another web site for federal jobs sponsored by the National Technical Information Service is: www.fedworld.gov/jobs/jobsearch.html.
Civil service requirements often add another layer of procedures to the job search. Some civil service jurisdictions require written and/or oral examinations; others assign a ranking based on a review of credentials.
Jobs are usually filled from the top candidates on a qualified list of applicants. Since the exams are held only at certain time periods and a variety of jobs can be filled from a single list of applicants (e.g., all Librarian I positions regardless of type of function), it is important to check whether a library, in which one is interested, falls under civil service procedures.There are some "excepted" agencies, which are not required to hire through the usual OPM channels. While these agencies may require the standard forms, they maintain their own employee selection policies and procedures.
The Library of Congress, Human Resources Operations Office, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540, 202/707-5620; website:
The Library of Congress--the world's largest and most comprehensive library--is an excepted service agency in the Legislative Branch and administers its own independent merit selection system. Job classifications, pay, and benefits are the same as in other Federal agencies, and qualification requirements generally correspond to those used by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The Library does not use registers, but announces vacancies as they become available. A separate application must be submitted for each vacancy announcement. For most professional positions, announcements are widely distributed and open for a minimum period of 30 days. Qualification requirements and ranking criteria are stated on the vacancy announcement. The Library of congress maintains an online listing of vacacies on its web site.
Listed here are governmental agencies where library workers might find employment. Many of these agencies are now under the jurisdiction of the recently-established Department of Homeland Security.
- Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
- Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Bureau of Diplomatic Security
- U.S. Mission to the United Nations
Applicants should attempt to make personal contact directly with federal agencies in which they are interested. This is essential in the Washington, D.C. area where over half the vacancies occur.
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Opportunities for employment in foreign countries are limited and immigration policies of individual countries should be investigated. Employment for Americans is virtually limited to U.S. Government libraries, libraries of U.S. firms doing worldwide business, and American schools abroad. Library journals from other countries will sometimes list vacancy notices. Some persons have obtained jobs by contacting foreign publishers or vendors directly. Non-U.S. government jobs usually call for foreign language fluency.
Career Opportunities for Bilinguals and Multilinguals: A Directory of Resources in Education, Employment and Business by Vladimer F. Wertsman (Scarecrow Press, 1994, ISBN 0-8108-2764-6, $50.05) gives general contact names for foreign employment and business resources.
Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), 3007 Tilden St., N.W., Suite 5L, Washington, D.C. 20008-3009, 202/686-4000, website: www.cies.org. Administers U.S. government Fulbright awards for university lecturing and advanced research abroad. Usually 10-15 awards per year are made to U.S. citizens who are specialists in library or information sciences. In addition, many countries offer awards in any specialization of research or lecturing for which specialists in library and information science may apply. Lecturing awards usually require university or college teaching experience. Several opportunities exist for professional librarians as well. Applications and information may be obtained, beginning in March each year.
Department of Defense, Education Activity (DODEA), 4040 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22203-1635, web site: http://www.dodea.edu/offices/hr/employment/default.htm. Overall management and operational responsibilities for the education of dependent children of active duty U.S. military personnel and DOD civilians who are stationed in foreign areas. Also, responsible for teacher recruitment. For complete application brochure, write to above address. The schools are operated on military installation for the children of U.S. military and civilian personnel stationed overseas.
International Schools Services, P.O. Box 5910, Princeton, NJ 08543, 609/452-0990, fax 609/452-2690, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web site: www.iss.edu/edustaff/jobs.html. Private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to serve American schools overseas, other than Department of Defense schools. These are American, international elementary and secondary schools enrolling children of business and diplomatic families living abroad. ISS services to overseas schools include recruitment and recommendation of personnel, curricular and administrative guidance, purchasing, facility planning, and more. ISS also publishes a comprehensive directory of overseas schools and a bi-monthly newsletter, NewsLinks, for those interested in the intercultural educational community. Information regarding these publications and other services may be obtained by writing to the above address.
Peace Corps, 1111 20th St., NW, Room 2300, Washington, D.C. 20526, 800-424-8580, fax 202/692-1201, e-mail: email@example.com, web site: www.peacecorps.gov/employment/index.cfm. Volunteer opportunities exist for MA/MS or BA/BS in library science with one year of related work experience. Two year tour of duty. U.S. citizens only. Living allowance, health care, transportation and other benefits provided.
Search Associates, P.O. Box 922, Jackson, MI 49204-0922, 517/768-9250, fax: 517/768-9252, e-mail:
www.search-associates.com/. A private organization comprised of former overseas school directors who organize about ten recruitment fairs (most occur in February) to place teachers, librarians and administrators in independent, K-12 American/international schools around the world. These accredited schools, based on the American model, range in size from under 40 to over 4,000 and serve the children of diplomats and businessmen from dozens of countries. Annually, they offer highly attractive personal and professional opportunities for experienced librarians.
International Exchanges: Most exchanges are handled by direct negotiation between interested parties. A few libraries have established exchange programs for their own staff. In order to facilitate exchange arrangements, the IFLA Journal (issued Jan., March, May, July, Oct./Nov.) lists persons wishing to exchange positions outside their own country. All listings must include the following information: full name, address, present position, qualifications (with year of obtaining), language, abilities, preferred country/city/library and type of position. Send to International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Headquarters, 2509 CH The Hague, Netherlands, phone: 31-70-3140884, fax: 31-70-3834827, e-mail: IFLA@ifla.org, website: www.ifla.org.
A great deal of interest has been shown in using information skills in a variety of ways in non-library settings. These jobs are not usually found through the regular library placement sources, although many library and information studies programs are trying to generate such listings for their students and alumni. Job listings that do exist may not call specifically for "librarians" by that title so that ingenuity may be needed to search out jobs where information management skills are needed.
Some librarians are working on a free-lance basis by offering services to businesses, alternative schools, community agencies, legislators, etc. These opportunities are usually not found in advertisements but created by developing contacts and publicity over a period of time. A number of information brokering business firms have developed from individual free-lance experiences. Small companies or other organizations often need "one-time" service for organizing files or collections, bibliographic research for special projects, indexing or abstracting, compilation of directories, and consulting services. Bibliographic networks and online database companies are using librarians as information managers, trainers, researchers, systems and database analysts, online services managers, etc. Jobs in these areas are sometimes found in library network newsletters or data processing journals.
Librarians can be found working in law firms as litigation case supervisors (organizing and analyzing records needed for specific legal cases); with publishers as sales representatives, marketing directors, editors, and computer services experts; with community agencies as adult education coordinators, volunteer administrators, grants writers, etc.
Classifieds in Publishers Weekly may lead to information-related positions. One might also consider reading the Sunday classified ad sections in metropolitan newspapers in their entirety to locate descriptions calling for information skills but under a variety of job titles.
The American Society of Indexers, 10200 W. 44th Ave., Suite 304, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033, 303/463-2887, fax: 303/422-8894, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: http://www.asindexing.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3267 has a number of publications that would be useful for individuals who are interested in indexing careers.
The Association of Independent Information Professionals was formed for individuals who own and operate for-profit information services business. Contact AIIP Headquarters at 225/408-4400, e-mail: email@example.com, or visit their website at: http://www.aiip.org.
A growing number of articles, publications and brochures are addressing opportunities for librarians in the broader information arena.
- "Careers in Libraries: A Bibliography of Traditional and Web-based Library Career Resources," compiled by Jan E. Hayes and Julie Todaro for the American Library Association Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment, August 2000.
- " Places an MLS Can Take You," by Linda K. Wallace, American Libraries, March 2002, pp. 44-48.
- " Placements and Salaries 2002," by Stephanie Maatta, Library Journal, October 15, 2003, pp. 28-34.
- " The Top 10 Reasons to Be a Librarian," by Martha J. Spear, American Libraries, October 2002, p. 54-55.
Working as a substitute librarian or in temporary positions may be considered to be an alternative career path as well as an interim step while looking for a regular job. This type of work can provide valuable contacts and experience. Organizations that hire library workers for part-time or temporary jobs include:
- Advanced Information Management, 444 Castro St., Suite 320, Mountain View, CA 94041, (650/965-7900); website:
www.aimusa.com/index.shtml. AIM also has offices located in Hollister, Los Angeles, and San Francisco;
- C. Berger Group, Inc., 327 E. Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188 (630)653-1115 or 800/382-4222); website:
- Pro Libra Associates, Inc., 6 Inwood Place, Maplewood, NJ 07040 (973/762-0070); website: www.prolibra.com/.
Part-time jobs are not always advertised, but often found by canvassing local libraries and leaving applications.
If you are a new graduate from library school, or if it’s been some time since your last job search, there are a number of things you should keep in mind when looking for employment. Remember that a successful job search can be a very time consuming venture. Finding a job can be a full-time job itself. But here is where you’ll be able to put your skills that you’ve gained to work for you.
- Know what you want before you start. But be flexible.
- Research companies or organizations that you are interested in working with.
- Customize your resume for the job you want. You may need to have more than one resume.
- Prepare cover letters that will prompt employers to invite you to interview.
- Hone your interviewing skills.
- Practice good job search etiquette with follow-up communications.
- Network, network, network.
- Seek assistance from a placement counselor if necessary.
- Use every available resource at your disposal.
- Keep at it until you land the job you want.
Copyright Â© 2005 by the American Library Association. All rights reserved except those, which may be granted by Sections 107 and 108 of the Copyright Revision Act of 1976. Printed in the United States of America.