Lately I've been pondering the decision to enroll in graduate school and study library science. All of my sources say I should further my education. Still, I find myself looking for excuses to stay lazy and homework-free.
I checked The Whole Library Handbook 3 out of my local library. I wanted learn more about the profession and see once and for all if information science was the path I wanted to take.
The Whole Library Handbook 3 was updated in 2000. According to the editor, George M. Eberhart, "About 95% of WLH3 is completely new or substantially revised, and the book is a solid 48 pages thicker than the last one."
This latest edition is packed with library-related information and articles divided into ten sections.
Libraries come in all types and specialties. The first chapter examines some of the more common ones such as academic, public, school, special collections, national, state, and small libraries.
There's a lot of employees behind those stacks of books. Besides librarians, there are managers, media specialists, trustees, friends and support staff. Information based on these positions is included here.
3. The Profession
The library field is quite academic. There are countless organizations to join and national events are held during every calendar month. The WLH3 provides a list of events through 2005. A valuable list of awards, grants and scholarships is also provided.
This chapter is packed with information on items within a collection. Topic headings such as "The Parts of a Book," "Freedom of Information," and "Unfamiliar Genres," give you an idea of what to expect.
The library is a business on top of everything else and good management is needed. For this section, Eberhart has selected articles covering acquisition, selection, circulation, preservation, disasters and security among other issues.
6. Special Users
There's a strong push among librarians to reach out to all types of patrons. This chapter focuses on some of the groups that may be underrepresented.
This section focuses on ways to promote the library and its events including library card month, banned book week and teen read week. There's also information on "Friends of the Library" and how to handle donations.
Technology in the library is a broad, ever-changing topic. Beyond the stacks, there are now videos, compact discs and computers available. Maintenance, development and promotion of the various media are discussed.
The library may seem serene, but it's actually in the center of some controversial issues. Eberhart again crams a lot of information into this chapter. Hot topics include, intellectual freedom and access, legislation, copyrights, literacy, ethics and global concerns.
This is a fun section of random library humor and what-not. Titled articles include: "Librarians on stage and screen," Library Cats," and "Weird Titles" (The Romance of Proctology and A Toddler's Guide to the Rubber Industry are my favorite).
Overall, The Whole Library Handbook 3 is quite a useful tool. It gives very basic information on a countless library-related topics.
I am not a librarian, so I can't comment on the book's effectiveness within the profession. I am merely an admirer of the field and found the book met my needs. I also feel readers interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of librarianship would find this book attractive.
Some of the articles were over my head. The terminology was unfamiliar to me sometimes, but not often. I did appreciate the ample humor throughout the book. Jokes and sarcasm kept the amusing tone.
So what did I learn from the WLH3? Well, I believe this may be the career choice for me. The topics were interesting and exactly what I expected.
Thanks to the George Eberhart and The Whole Library Handbook 3, I am on my way to grad school.
8/12/2002 Note: I'm now in Library School and this book is a required text for the introductory class. -- Amy