Review of Community & Junior College Libraries- Kim Wroblewski
I read the most recent eight issues available, spanning from 2010 to 2012, of the journal Community & Junior College Libraries because I am interested in becoming an academic librarian. Multiple topics and problems are addressed in Community & Junior College Libraries in the 2010 to 2012 issues. However, many of the same trends are repeated throughout the journal. The main topic, repeated over and over, is technology and its impact on libraries. In the articles, authors discuss how technology is solving some issues in libraries, while at the same time creating other problems. Another trend in the journal is the issue of how to adapt libraries to fit patrons’ needs. In many of the articles, technology is a key player in these adaptations. Other articles focus on the issue of money and funding in libraries. There are also multiple articles on topics currently popular with students, with advice for librarians regarding these topics. Overall, this journal is a very useful source for an incoming academic librarian to read, as it contains articles on many issues and trends prevalent in academic libraries today.
Technology is the trend and issue most discussed in the journal. Technology has made and continues to make a big impact on libraries. Authors discuss how technology is providing remedies to problems in libraries, as well as how it is creating different problems. Technology is also changing libraries, themselves, in how they function and what patrons’ needs and wants are.
In many of the articles, technology’s impact on libraries is depicted in both a positive and a negative light. In the article, “Now’s the Time: Online Library Orientations,” the authors explain how librarians at West Kentucky Community and Technical College worked to convert their normal in-person library instruction to online instruction for students taking online courses. Having the instruction online would save students both time and money as they would not need to travel to campus, and could participate in the instruction on their own time. However, the project had many difficulties, as librarians had to test out different software to choose the best one for the instruction, and both students and librarians had to familiarize themselves with the chosen software. Furthermore, problems were detected with the chosen software once students attempted to use it. While the online instruction was created to save students time and money, it also proved to be a difficult process for librarians and students (Farrell, Driver, and Weathers 7-10).
Technology is also impacting how students work. In the article, “Meeting the Needs of the 21st Century Student,” the author explores how 21st century students are different than previous generations, as they have different work habits. She discusses the fact that students use electronic databases in place of books and writes, “We need to show students the value of books and the type of information that is contained within books” (Niles 48). She continues, “librarians need to emphasize that not all information is found on the Web and that the information found there might not be reliable, depending on its source” (48). She also writes that students prefer databases to be set up like Google’s (49), proven by UW-Madison’s own library catalog which is set up like a Google search. While technology can make it easier for students to access information, it can also create problems such as the acquisition of inaccurate information or the neglection of print resources in favor of online databases. Libraries need to adapt to provide patrons with resources they want, such as more online databases, but librarians also need to be aware of the potential problems that may arise with them.
Besides online databases, another resource patrons in academic libraries are asking for more frequently are textbooks. In “Queensborough Community College: Textbook Reserve Collection,” the author writes that due to the rising costs of textbooks, students are repeatedly asking to have their textbooks on reserve (Beck 119). A solution the library wants to implement for this problem is to have digital textbooks on reserve so that students can access the books on their own schedule and not have to get a physical copy from the library. However, there are some problems that arise with this plan, as some students prefer physical books, and it may cost the library a lot of money. Although technology may be part of the solution to the textbook problem, it will also create problems at the same time (Beck 125).
Many other articles in the journal focus on technology, as well. “Exploring Google to Enhance Reference Services,” is an article that provides tips for librarians for fully utilizing Google’s search engine (Jia). “Surfing for Knowledge: Virtual Libraries and Books on the Web” is an article about the virtual library and how it is becoming more popular (Wicks). The article “Information Literacy for Users at the National Medical Library of Cuba: Cochrane Library Course for the Search of Best Evidence for Clinical Decisions” discusses a project that was created to teach medical students how to use databases (Santana Arroyo and del Carmen González Rivero). These are just a few of the articles that demonstrate how technology has impacted libraries.
In addition to technology, the issue of funding and money in libraries is also discussed in Community & Junior College Libraries. In “Service Increases Fueling Budget Growth,” the author discusses how to avoid or limit budget cuts in libraries. A big part of the advice the author provides is, “Services should be increased aggressively when looking to demonstrate to higher level shareholders that indeed the library is worth its current budgetary allocation” (Cottrell 21). In “Down Among the Morlocks,” the author takes a humorous approach to talk about this serious issue. He writes how tight budgets are affecting colleges and their libraries, such as “unpaid ‘furloughs,’ wholesale firing of adjuncts, layoffs of tenure-track faculty, unfilled critical positions, blatant salary cuts, and less obviously of constriction in such areas as travel funds, supply budgets, and library collection development spending” (Lonergan, “Down Among the Morlocks”). Although one of the main purposes of libraries is to provide services for patrons, it may be difficult for a library to do so to its fullest extent when it is experiencing the effects of tight budgets.
Another effect of the issue of funding and money in libraries which I have experienced myself while working in libraries is the issue of space. In “Weed, Yes! Discard, No!, There May Be a Collection in That Trash!” the author describes his process of a weeding project in a community college library. He explains that the weeding project was in place in order to provide more shelf space in the library. During the weeding process, the author found an interesting book collection, but was not able to justify keeping it in the library because it was “taking up precious shelf space at a community college where it would be underutilized” (McGowan 89). If the library had more funding, perhaps it would not have to get rid of the books. In the library I currently work at, space is a major issue. The library owns books that are valuable and does not want to get rid of, but the books are not used a lot by patrons. Because of the need for shelf space, the library has to ask the University for funding in order to store the books at an off-site facility. If the library is not able to obtain the money, it will have to come up with a different solution to the lack of room for books and other library materials.
Many other articles in the journal are about topics and issues that are popular with students today. These articles are informational for academic librarians and include advice such as what materials to have in a library on a specific subject and keywords and terms on popular subjects. In “Freshman Health Topics,” the author writes about popular health subjects that students research for classes, such as obesity and addictive substances. The article includes information on the topics as well as suggestions for items libraries should have in their collections on the topics (Hovde, “Freshman Health Topics”). Similarly, in “A Cross-Disciplinary Examination of Print Resources on Abortion,” the author suggests titles for libraries to own on the topic of abortion, including materials from different disciplines (Johnson). The article, “War and Peace: Deconstructing the Topic of Genocide,” is slightly different from the other articles on popular topics as it also includes information on important terms related to genocide and their definitions (Hovde, “War and Peace”). This article can be useful for academic librarians to read if students are researching genocide and related topics.
In the majority of the articles, the authors cite scholarly sources, adding credibility to the articles. The sources show that the authors did their research before publishing the article. In many of the articles, authors researched what other libraries’ solutions were to problems in order to come up with their own library’s solution. This is both interesting and beneficial to read, as it shows that many of the problems addressed in the articles are not singular cases, but occur in libraries all over. It is also beneficial that many of the articles were written by actual librarians who had first-hand experience to share. Multiple articles also include literature reviews, where authors explain what information and sources they found on their topic. This is also beneficial, as it shows what information is available on popular topics and issues in libraries and because it provides related sources that one can look to if one would want to know more on the subject or related subjects.
Overall, this journal proved to be a useful source for me, as an incoming academic librarian, to read. The journal has articles on a wide variety of topics, from an author’s discussion on the misuse of PowerPoint presentations in “Misuse the Power, Miss the Point” (Lonergan) to an author’s advice on Institutional Repositories in “Building Institutional Repositories in the Academic Libraries” (Nagra). Despite this, many of the articles focused on one of three main topics. Technology and its impact on libraries is the most common topic throughout the journal. The issue of money and budget cuts is another popular topic discussed in the journal. Lastly, there are many articles on popular topics for students and advice for librarians on those topics. The citation of scholarly sources and comparison of libraries and their problems and solutions by many of the authors in this journal provides both credibility to the articles and is beneficial for readers.
Beck, Sheila. “Queensborough Community College: Textbook Reserve Collection.” Community & Junior College Libraries 18.3-4 (2012): 119–126. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Cottrell, Terry. “Service Increases Fueling Budget Growth.” Community & Junior College Libraries 17.1 (2010): 15–21. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Farrell, Sandy L., Carol Driver, and Anita Weathers. “Now’s the Time: Online Library Orientations.” Community & Junior College Libraries 17.1 (2010): 7–14. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Hovde, Karen. “Freshman Health Topics.” Community & Junior College Libraries 17.3-4 (2011): 147–154. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
—. “War and Peace: Deconstructing the Topic of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity.” Community & Junior College Libraries 17.3-4 (2011): 107–117. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Jia, Peijun. “Exploring Google to Enhance Reference Services.” Community & Junior College Libraries 17.1 (2010): 23–30. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Johnson, Wendell G. “A Cross-Disciplinary Examination of Print Resources on Abortion.” Community & Junior College Libraries 17.3-4 (2011): 139–145. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Lonergan, David. “Down Among the Morlocks.” Community & Junior College Libraries 18.1 (2012): 49–53. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
—. “Misuse the Power, Miss the Point.” Community & Junior College Libraries 17.1 (2010): 31–34. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
McGowan, Beth. “Weed, Yes! Discard, No! There May Be a Collection in That Trash!” Community & Junior College Libraries 17.2 (2011): 87–90. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Nagra, Kanu A. “Building Institutional Repositories in the Academic Libraries.” Community & Junior College Libraries 18.3-4 (2012): 137–150. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Santana Arroyo, Sonia, and Maria del Carmen González Rivero. “Information Literacy for Users at the National Medical Library of Cuba: Cochrane Library Course for the Search of Best Evidence for Clinical Decisions.” Community & Junior College Libraries 18.2 (2012): 89–98. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Wicks, Pamela. “Surfing for Knowledge: Virtual Libraries and Books on the Web.” Community & Junior College Libraries 17.2 (2011): 75–86. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.