Better library conversations

For Immediate Release
Thu, 09/29/2016


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — The importance of being “fully present” in face-to-face as well as virtual interactions in the complex, challenging, and rapidly changing work environment of today’s libraries cannot be overstated. It means the difference between conversations that are clear, non-confrontational, and productive and those that are unfocused, awkward, or even threatening.  From the reference desk and the community meeting to the board room, the human resource office, and the conference table, effective interpersonal communication lies at the center of the profession. In “Library Conversations: Reclaiming Interpersonal Communication Theory for Understanding Professional Encounters,” published by ALA Neal-Schuman, Marie L. Radford and Gary P. Radford offer expert analysis applicable to all types of library situations. Their book:

  • describes a number of theoretical frameworks for understanding interpersonal communication, spanning Aristotle, John Locke, Ruesch and Bateson, Watzlawick and his colleagues, and Erving Goffman;
  • uses examples from all different types of library interpersonal encounters, including those with colleagues, the public, managers, and subordinates, to discuss how these historical frameworks apply to libraries and the world of information science;
  • combines theory with decades-long empirical research gathered by the authors and their colleagues; and
  • offers an in-depth examination of the reference encounter, introducing a content/relational model of success illustrated with examples from librarians and library users.

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

Marie L. Radford is professor in the Department of Library and Information Science and director of the PhD Program at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information. Her other books include “Research Methods in Library and Information Science, Sixth Edition,” with Lynn Silipigni Connaway, and “Leading the Reference Renaissance.” She received the 2010 ALA/RUSA Mudge Award for distinguished contributions to reference service. Gary P. Radford is professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, New Jersey. He serves as editor-in-chief of the Atlantic Journal of Communication, and is past chair of the Philosophy and Communication Division of the National Communication Association. His other books include “On the Philosophy of Communication,” “On Eco,” and (as coeditor) “Transgressing Discourses: Communication and the Voice of the Other. “

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. Founded in 1976 by Patricia Glass Schuman and John Vincent Neal, Neal-Schuman Publishers, now an imprint of ALA Publishing, publishes professional books for librarians, archivists, and knowledge managers. Contact us at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or