Expecting Change: American Libraries and the Next 100 Years

By Teresa Koltzenburg | American Libraries Magazine January 2007By now you likely have received your January issue of American Libraries (AL). (If not, it's coming soon!) Editor in chief Leonard Kniffel starts out his inaugural "From the Editor" column of the newly redesigned issue with a nugget about Melvil Dewey and change. "The World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services notes that Dewey was a visionary who 'cared more for results than the particular means and not only was willing to adopt readily new materials and methods but also expected such things to change continually,'" he points out on page 4.

This month, AL begins a yearlong celebration of its first 100 years and sets the stage for the continual change that will be part of its next centennial.

More for Those on the Tech Trek
The magazine's makeover has been a labor of love for the AL editorial and production team, but many of us here at ALA we're also in on the redesign process. We were provided the opportunity to evaluate and provide feedback about three different designs late last year—a beta phase, if you will.

AL editor-in-chief Leonard Kniffel and senior production editor Karen Sheets finalizing redesigned pages. In addition to visual changes, AL editors have produced and rounded up some new content that hones in on some of the technology developments and issues that continue to impact the library field in the Information Age. In addition to the always technologically informative Andrew Pace's "Technically Speaking" columns and his sage and sometimes Seussian posts on the The Hectic Pace Blog, AL now features contributions from distance-learning librarian Meredith Farkas (from the Kreitzberg Library, Norwich University, as well as the Information Wants To Be Free Blog). Farkas begins her technology writer "gig" for AL with the cover story, "Balancing the Online Life."

Another technology-content gem in this month's issue is Stephen Abram's "20 Tips to Inspire Innovation," an adapted article excerpt from his new book Out Front with Stephen Abram: A Guide for Information Leaders. And Joseph Janes, in his "Internet Librarian" column (where this month he discusses why "searching is the new reading"), continues to provide a worthwhile tech-related read. This month, too, Jenny Levine talks about her passions—gaming and libraries, in "Getting Your Game On"—in AL's semi-regular column, "Dispatches from the Field."

Greg Landgraf from American Libraries Magazine will be managing content posted on the CentenniAL Blog. Leonard says this year's issues will highlight the anniversary of American Libraries and its earlier incarnation, the Bulletin of the American Library Association, noting that in the regular column "Will's World" this coming year, Will Manley will look back at the history of AL.

The commemoration will also take a 2.0 turn in the soon-to-be-launched CentenniAL Blog, which will be managed by AL editorial assistant Greg Landgraf. Although the CentenniAL Blog is not slated to officially start until Midwinter, AL's editors provided me with this preview info.: "Designed to serve as a repository for reminiscences about where the magazine has been over the past century and where it be may be headed for the next, the blog will act as a forum for the interesting, the controversial, and the amusing from the history of American Libraries...."

If you're going to be at ALA in Seattle (January 19–24) extra copies of the redesigned AL will be available at various places in the conference center, including the AL booth (#1713). ALA TechSource is especially proud to share a booth this Midwinter Meeting with American Libraries, so stop by to pick up a copy of the new AL and to compete—by playing Dance Dance Revolution—to win a free copy of "Gaming and Libraries: Intersection of Services" by Jenny Levine.
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