Also noting "the books your library needs"--two recent books published by professional library-oriented publishers that I believe are essential for, respectively, every academic and most special (and some public) library and every public and some academic and special libraries.
The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published
Humanities editor Skinner, who is on the usage panel for the American Heritage Dictionary, offers a highly entertaining and intelligent re-creation of events surrounding the 1961 publication of Webster’s Third New International Dictionary by G. & C. Merriam. The dictionary, assembled at a cost of $3.5 million, included a press release from Merriam’s president Gordon J. Gallan, which said the work contained “an avalanche of bewildering new verbal concepts.”
About 15 years ago I wrote a very niche, specialized book about library automation. Most of the time since then I've had the feeling that I got that ticket punched and I could move on. Last winter, however, I had the feeling that there was another book in me. I started working up a treatment for a book about the dozens of small specialized libraries on the island of Manhattan. Just when I was ready to start contacting publishers about that I got an email from Chandos Publishing in Oxfordshire. They were interested in books of a practical nature written by librarians. I realized that the Manhattan book wasn't write for them, so I sent them two ideas. The first was to be a book about the world of discovery platforms. The second was a book about how libraries should get up to speed about using social media. This was to be a very personal book about how library automation changed my life the past 50 years. Bingo!
The Swiss Army Librarian often does a “Reference Question of the Week” post that I always think is really interesting. Then I get jealous because I feel like he gets more interesting reference questions that I do. Thankfully, I do occasionally get those gems that really make you realize that you need a good librarian and that google can’t tell you everything, or if it does, you may need a second opinion.
I got a phone call recently from a frantic-sounding mom who asked me “Can you tell me where the WPA plaques are in Providence?”
The issue includes the following (each essay also available as an HTML separate, noting that the single graph in the second section may not appear properly): The Front (pp. 1-2)
Breaking down The Middle: why there won' be a long series of wholly miscellaneous sections with that heading. Also some notes on the reality since I took action based on reader polls (including the truth about people's willingness, so far, to pay the lower suggested donations).
Pocket Ref 4th Edition The concise all-purpose pocket-sized reference book featuring abundant information on many subjects, hundreds of tables, maps, formulas, constants and conversions. If you need to know it, it is in this book!
Is this what it felt like to those librarians in the profession when the internet came about? When I started this blog in 2008, I felt like I would never run out of things to write about. This profession is so varied and vast, how could we possibly cover it all? Now, all I read is more and more about eBooks. Certainly, this is something we all need to talk about, because libraries are getting royally screwed, but I also feel like being so singularly focused on one thing that’s not really working out, is talking the wind out of my sails.
I’ll admit that I would have thought a few years ago that by the time we got to the point when more than a third of unit sales for major houses had gone digital — and perhaps more than half for fiction — that the future shape of the book business would be discernible. But, at least according to what I learned from one Big Six house last week, we have reached that level of ebook uptake and despite that, the business still looks very much as it has. It seems impossible to me that it will stay that way.