We got a question on Twitter over the weekend about reading material for LIS:
RT @brandontlocke: Any recommended reads for aspiring/future MLIS students?
It is difficult to respond to such a question in 140 characters or less. I made the attempt by suggesting reputable blogs and e-news sources for LIS information and fiction for mind expansion (and fun!). Feeling that a little more was needed I have expanded with advice, links and resources.
There are some recommended books for LIS like “Library: An Unquiet History” and “Libraries in the Ancient World. Certainly you can start with the American Library Association’s Mission and History or even Wikipedia if you want some historical information.
Honestly though I think the profession is undergoing such shifts that you’re better off reading via the Internet or the trade mags (if you are in school and can get free access – even better). I am first to admit that I am biased in that direction anyway yet these sources are going to give you the best picture of what is happening now and the foreseeable future. You’re surely going to get enough of the past in class so may as well spend other time researching the future.
As I tweeted Brandon, I also think it important for relaxation, inspiration and humor to balance out with some good fiction reading (whatever “good” means to you). The benefits of reading fiction for writing are obvious but the correlation to heightened emotional intelligence and even business savvy and success has been found in avid readers. If nothing else, we are, after all going to be librarians who should practice the literacy skills we preach (as well as having an awareness of what is out there).
You cant read everything. (Duh!) This is my reminder to myself and you that this is OK. The important thing, especially if you are just exploring LIS, is that you are seeping yourself in the issues and language of the day as much as possible. Seeing what you read through to the end and what makes your eyes glaze over is a great culling tool for your intended concentration. You can always research or find more information about issues that interest you or things that you feel like you need to know.
There are some fine blog RSS links in the left sidebar to get you started. I find that having a wide range of people on my Twitter feed is helpful (from @buffyhamilton to @brainpicker to even @smartbitches and of course all my fellow hackers). Sometimes LIS articles come from unlikely places. Start following a few people and then see who is retweeted or followed by those to expand your list. If you have a few moments look for #LIS or #MLIS. It goes without saying that you need to check any links and sources for accuracy and, just as with articles, some might appeal more than others.
Thanks for the question Brandon! You’re already well on your way to being a good information professional by asking.
If you have a question about reading or LIS in general we are Twitter available @HackLibSchool or please comment/ask below. We want to help you hack!
[Image Credit: “Card Catalog, Burrow Library” via Flickr under CC license by Ed Uthman]