Wednesday, June 10, 2009

LIS Publications Wiki

Finally, a one-stop shopping wiki that allows you to reach colleagues and communities in the library publishing world. Say hello to the Library and Information Science Publications Wiki:

Note: This wiki is still new and somewhat underdeveloped. But, the more people who join, the more useful content it can have.

-The Writer Librarian

Monday, June 8, 2009

Quick, Easy Exercise for Fiction Writers

I know we've focused mostly on nonfiction writing thus far, but I know there are a lot of closet fiction writers out there too. For those in the midst of writing their first (or umpteenth) novel or short story, here's a good strategy for assessing the effectiveness of your descriptions:

1. Pick a significant piece of description that lasts at least a few paragraphs and contains no dialogue.

2. Read through the section and tally up the following:
-How many simple sentences?
-How many compound sentences?
-How many similies?
-How many metaphors?

3. Assess your numbers. The objective is to get the quantities of each as even as possible.

Note: Adding similies and metaphors help appeal to your readers' senses. If you're feeling gutsy, you can tally how many times you describe sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures.

As an example, I had too many compound sentences, which made it difficult for a reader to discern what was going on. Once I chopped down some sentences and placed periods instead of commas, the writing became infinitely better. By the same token, if there are too many simple sentences, feel free to whip out some commas and make for some sentence variety.

And for sentence compounders like me, don't be afraid to bend some grammatical rules in your fiction. It isn't technial writing, so grammar isn't held by the same restrictions.

-The Writer Librarian

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Great Blog with Writing Tips

I stumbled across this blog that focuses on books and the publishing industry. One entry outlines ten common "rookie" writing mistakes, and is found here.

This is a good blog to follow especially for those looking to publish fiction. For those who are interested, here is a link to the RSS feed.

-The Writer Librarian

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Conference conflicts, another call for authors

I had insurmountable conference obligations that got in the way of the "upcoming" post that I teased with a month or so ago. Now that the conference is over, more updates to the blog will be coming. For now, here is another call for authors, particularly useful for academic librarians:

"Good day all...

Instruction librarians are encouraged to submit book chapter proposals for the forthcoming monograph, "Best Practices for Credit-Bearing Information Literacy Courses." As the title suggests, we are soliciting proposals from librarians who have developed and implemented innovative and effective methods for teaching credit-bearing information literacy courses. We are particularly interested in the use of educational technologies, including smart classrooms and Internet communication tools. Other items of interest for this volume are: assessment; course design; lesson planning; history of the course in higher education; integration of the course into disciplinary and/or institutional curricula, and instructional methods.

The intended publisher for this book is Neal-Schuman, and the target date for publication is fall of 2010. Interested authors should submit a 1-2 page proposal as an email attachment to me at: The proposal should include: author's name, full contact information, institutional affiliation, and list of professional publications; working title for proposed book chapter, and abstract for proposed book chapter (maximum of 200 words). Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, May 29, 2009.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

-- Christopher Hollister
Information Literacy Librarian
Oscar A. Silverman Undergraduate Library
112 Capen Hall
University at BuffaloBuffalo, NY 14260
Phone: (716) 645-1323
Fax: (716) 645-3067

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Call for submissions: Library Worklife

Courtesy of the ALA-APA publishing committee. Contact the editor with questions:

Do you have a story to tell? Come and share it at Library Worklife!
Library Worklife is looking for aspiring and experienced writers - library employees and graduate students who have stories to tell about their careers, jobs, research, and pathways to success. Stories can be about:You or a great project that you want to share with colleagues - Spotlight Advice, testimonials, opportunities and research about advancing your career – Career AdvancementWhy it is important to participate in professional development and continuing education, including state and national certification programs - Certification Legal issues facing or concerning library personnel - Human Resources Law How to manage library staffing issues, such as training, budgeting, performance appraisals, hiring, outsourcing, and motivation - Human Resources Practice What you, your library or your state has done to address pay inequities - Salaries and Pay Equity and StatisticsHow do we attract people to the profession? - Recruitment Profiles, standards, innovative approaches, conferences or topics of concern for support staff - Support Staff How you manage the two (or more) roles you play on a daily basis - Work/life Balance Write about your ideas or use some of ours on almost any other topic related to working in libraries.
Submission should range from 200 – 1200 words, although longer articles can be accepted by arrangement. They can be in almost any style from serious academic research to humorous work-life articles. Further details can be found at the Library Worklife web page, or by emailing the editor, Jenifer Grady at
And the best news is… If you commit to writing three (3), count ‘em THREE, articles in one year, you get a free subscription to Library Worklife, a $35 value (for ALA Regular members.)

So come and share your story at Library Worklife.

-The Writer Librarian

P.S. I'll have an upcoming post regarding different writing styles.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Issues in Scholarly Publication

I received the following tip from John Meier:

You should probably write about issues in scholarly publishing for librarians. Considering that is what this post is about. We hardly ever look in our own eye for a beam when library journals are some of the worst for copyright for authors, cost, electronic access, and they are bloating as fast as any profession. - John Meier

The blog entry below goes over some of the ins, outs, and considerations of scholarly publishing:

-The Writer Librarian

Friday, February 27, 2009

Call for Papers: Journal of Library Innovation

The following is courtesy from the ili-l listserv:

Call for Papers:

The Journal of Library Innovation is seeking submissions for publication for its inaugural issue in January 2010.

The Journal of Library Innovation, one of the first journals devoted explicitly to innovation and creativity in libraries, is a peer reviewed, electronic journal published by the Western New York Library Resources Council. Its mission is to disseminate research and information on innovative practice in libraries of all types.

Innovation in libraries can include, but is not limited to the following:

•The discovery of unmet user needs.
•The introduction of new services or the retooling of traditional services resulting in a better user experience.
•Creative collaboration between libraries, or between libraries and other types of institutions, resulting in demonstrable improvements in service to users.
•Implementing new technologies to improve and extend library service to meet user needs.
•Explorations of the future of libraries.
•Pilot testing unconventional ideas and services.
•Redefining the roles of library staff to better serve users.•Developing processes that encourage organizational innovation.
•Reaching out to and engaging library users and non-users in new and creative ways.
•Creative library instruction and patron programming.
•Finding new ways to make library collections or library facilities more useful.

The Journal of Library Innovation publishes original research, literature reviews, commentaries, case studies, reports on innovative practices, and book, conference and product reviews.

The journal also welcomes provocative essays that will stimulate thought on the current and future role of libraries in an Internet Age.

For more information and submission guidelines visit or contact Pamela Jones, the Managing Editor, at

-The Writer Librarian

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Summary: NMRT Online Discussion Forum - Publishing for the Profession

Thanks to Rachel McWilliams for putting together the summary below:

NMRT Online Discussion Forum – January Topic: Publishing for the Profession

January’s discussion topic covered issues with publishing in the library profession and how you get started. Some of the questions we asked include:

-How do those who are new to the library profession obtain opportunities to publish?
-What are some relevant topics regarding the library profession that aren't yet published (and need to be)?
-What are some of the necessary writing and research skills needed for publishing?
-What are some good techniques for getting rid of writer's block?

In addition to these questions, George Gottschalk raised the question about how serious the publications have to be and if public librarians have any system like tenure in their libraries.

In response to these questions, John Meier suggested that people working on tenure would probably need to publish in peer-reviewed journals. He also says that the best strategy would be to “take is one where you build up from writing book reviews, to short opinion articles, to longer explanatory articles, to perhaps a full research study”.

Rami Attebury had some great responses to some of the questions that started the discussion. One of her suggestions was to collaborate with others when writing for publications. Another idea was to take research methods class if it was available to learn about the different types of research and how to write a research article. Her last suggestion was to find information in the Cabell’s Directory of Publishing Opportunities in Educational Technology and Library Science.

Other ideas include:
-Submitting articles to online locations that allow guest authors
-Submitting articles to professional organizations that you are a member of (library or other)
-Current students – work with practicum supervisors to publish

In response to the writer’s block question, Jenny Emanuel (who was working on her literature review for her dissertation) said that she just had to take the time to work and then she would reward herself after she was done. Another thing she had was a positive work environment that helped motivate her and where she could take down time to get some work done.

Jessica Moyer also had some ideas about overcoming writer’s block. She creates a schedule and breaks it down into days and even hours. She makes tasks small enough to be manageable and writes everything down so that she can cross them off when she is finished, which helps her stick with it. She also suggests keeping your writing schedule somewhere you can see it.
As for ideas for articles, she says to write about things that you personally care about, things you want to see changed, things that may bother you at work or even other articles you have read and did not like. Also, find an article you like that includes future research directions and use some of those ideas to create your own article or study.

A follow-up question that we thought of in regards to the discussion is:
-What are some tips you can give to people who may not be very good writers or may have ideas about what to write about but have a hard time getting the point across?

James Elliott responded to this question by suggesting that you get someone to critique your article/writing and ask them to be brutally honest. He said to ask someone who knows about writing or who has experience in writing articles or writing in general, not someone who is close to you and may not be as critical.

Another suggestion that Jessica Moyer had would be to start writing book reviews. These are a good “to learn to be a clear, concise, and precise writer only if you have a strict word limit and guidelines that will force you into that kind of writing.”

Jennifer Hand recommended that if you are a recent graduate, or have assignments that you were working on in library school, you could use those assignments as a jumping off point to start writing a full-fledged article or study. Most of them have already been critiqued by your instructor and so you could add to it with regards to the guidelines of whatever publication you are writing for.

The last suggestion was made by Karen Long. She wrote in terms of strict word limits and said that reading sentences aloud can help you with structure, organization and cohesion. Also, you can read your writing as if you’ve never heard it before and look at it like a regular reader would.

Call for Articles: Art Documentation

As seen on the BUSLIB-L listserv:

Editors are accepting articles for both the Fall 2009 and Spring 2010issues of ART DOCUMENTATION, the semiannual peer-reviewed journal of theArt Libraries Society of North America. Articles should fall within thescope of art and architecture librarianship, visual resourcescuratorship, digital image management, technology related to the visualarts, book arts, art publishing, artists’ books, and related fields. The deadline for the Fall 2009 issue is April 1, 2009; the deadline forthe Spring 2010 issue is September 1, 2009. ART DOCUMENTATIONcontributor guidelines may be found at

Friday, February 6, 2009

APA-ALA Call for Newsletter Writers

Below is a message I received on the NMRT-L listserv:

ALA-APA is in need of newsletter article writers for its publication, Library Worklife: HR E-News for Today's Leaders. The electronic newsletter is sent monthly to thousands of ALA institutional members and subscribers. The newsletter informs readers about issues—career advancement, certification, human resources practice, pay equity, recruitment, research, work/life balance—that concern all library employees. We are particularly interested in HR Law, HR Practice Support Staff and Worklife-focused articles. Here are a few possible topics, but feel free to send me your own. If you write three articles in a 12-month period, you receive a free annual subscription. Our guidelines for submission are on the ALA-APA website. Please email your topic(s) and your preferred deadline(s).

Developing a great relationship with your boss· Finding a job when you're trailing your partner· Why you would take a lateral career move· Learning style assessments· Personality assessments· Management assessments· Conflict management in the office· Explaining why you left an organization or seem to "move a lot" and how to talk about a bad situation without burning a bridge or yourself· Sloppy speech habits like "uh"· Developing a personal budget and financial goals· Great staff development programs· How to get someone to critique your resume and how not to get caught in the critique cycle· Business ethics· Interviewer styles· How to follow up after an interview· Asking for a raise during a promotion· Tips for working from home· How a career coach can make a difference· What every library employee needs to keep in/on their desk

Monday, February 2, 2009

Eliminating Unnecessary Words

I heard some really good suggestions recently on the NMRT-L listserv that discussed eliminating unnecessary words and tightening up sentence structure:

"I was criticized in my 8th grade physics report card for being 'overly verbose.' For anyone else with this trait, I recommend reading Stephen King's 'On Writing.' It's a fantastic read - heck, everybody who writes at all should take a look if you haven't already. It's full of advice that will have you looking at adverbs in a whole new way."

-Linda Shippert

"I also recommend editing a printed newsletter or something similarly space-limited. It's amazing what an eye you can develop!"

-Elizabeth Crownfield

And, my own suggestion:

Reading aloud what you've written allows awkward sentences, unnecessary words, etc. to make their way to the surface.

-The Writer Librarian