In the interest of expanding my knowledge of some of the literature available to librarians and library science students, I examined several issues of The Library Quarterly and American Libraries magazine. The contrast of a traditional academic resource and a more popular practical one provided a fascinating juxtaposition.
The Library Quarterly is an academic journal that was first started in 1931 by the University of Chicago press. It is published four times a year, as the name suggests, and is geared toward professionals in the field, and covers a wide range of issues in library science, including education, history of books and libraries, psychological and sociological aspects of librarianship, and reviews of scholastic books.
Library Quarterly is a double-blind peer viewed journal, and though discussion articles are permitted, the content focuses mainly on theory-driven original research backed up by data. Only previously unpublished, sole submissions are allowed by the journal, and must be less than 30 pages in length. Its most accessed and cited articles cover current topics such as the influence of the US Patriot Act on libraries, Google’s Digitization project and its potential problems, and information literacy.
American Libraries is published six times a year by the American Library Association, with an additional four issues supplementing them quarterly. The magazine is not peer-reviewed, but rather focuses on an informal tone. Authors are asked to maintain this informal tone in their submissions, and though in-text citations and factual research are allowed in some capacity, footnotes and heavily academic works are not.
While Library Quarterly relies on quantitative data and research, American Libraries strives to be engaging and readable, and covers issues such as current library trends, news of the ALA, professional developments, and library-related legislation and current events. It strives to be informative but inclusive.
Despite their vast differences, I can see the value in reading both American Libraries and Library Quarterly. Heavy, academic reading can be invaluable in terms of reflecting changes and progress within the field; it can often foreshadow things to come. However, more accessible literature like American Libraries can impart imperative information in quicker fashion; by its readable nature, it makes absorption of vital statistics easier and more pleasant. I think that balance in professional reading is the key to success—overloading on too much research can be daunting, but neglecting the deeper articles for lighter fare can result in gaps of knowledge.
American Libraries. The American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/
The Library Quarterly. The University of Chicago Press. Retrieved from http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/journals/journal/lq.html