Based on circumstantial evidence, I do not think many people are bothering to read monthly issues of American Libraries. They are probably unaware of the redesign of the journal and its focus of looking back and forward in 2007, its 100th anniversary year. It is unfortunate that the articles are not fulltext at American Libraries Online. Is the fear that no one will bother joining ALA if the articles are free on the web? I do not think so. Most librarians join ALA because they are committed to the profession, not because they really want the journal. Is the fear that nonlibrarians will read the articles? I hope not. Putting the articles on the web would give them the exposure they deserve. The authors who wrote the articles and columns deserve a broader platform.
Because I can not link to the articles, I will link to the February table of contents and tell you what articles impressed me in the new issue.
"Race and Place: A Personal Account of Unequal Access" by Tracie D. Hall on pages 30-33 is definitely the most important item in the issue. The library service we all expect is still not universally available, as Hall makes very clear.
Meredith Farkas tells about the efforts of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to train its staff in "A Roadmap to Learning 2.0" on page 26. Few libraries have the resources and talent of PLCMC, but they steal a few ideas from their blueprint for learning.
"Spectrum Turns 10: ALA's Diversity Recruitment Program Marks Its First Decade" by Amy Stone on pages 42-43 is an alert to how much more needs to be done in the area of diversity recruitment.
I was asked the other day why libraries would be interested in Second Life, the virtual world on the web. The answer is that youth are interested. See "Who's on Second? Do You Know Where Your Avatar Is?" by Jennifer Burek Pierce on page 46.
Mary Ellen Quinn tells about the new The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland in "Librarian's Library" on page 48. It will take real commitment to read, as it is three volumes and over two thousand pages. It does sound interesting. Can someone write the concise edition?
Bill Ott devotes his "Rousing Reads" on page 51 to one author, Lee Child.
Will Manley reports on the 1907 ALA Annual Conference in Ashville, North Carolina on page 64. No, he was not there! He read through the July 1907 issue of Bulletin of the American Library Association. He says that we would recognize most of the content, issues, and attitudes. Only the ideas about service for youth have changed radically.
Wouldn't it be nice if I could link to these articles so you could read them right now? The folks at RUSQ have caught on. Seek out the February issue of American Libraries. There should be one around your library.