REVIEWS: Library and Information Science Research
Electronic Journal ISSN 1058-6768
2006 Volume 16 Issue 2; September

in this issue:

Bartel, J. (2004). From A to Zine: Building a Winning Zine Collection in Your Library

Baumbach, Donna J. & Miller, Linda L. (2006).  Less Is More: A Practical Guide to Weeding School Library Collections.

Crews, Kenneth D.  (2005) Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators:  Creative Strategies and Practical Solutions.

Goldsmith, Francisca. (2005). Graphic Novels Now: Building, Managing, and Marketing a Dynamic Collection.

Grimes, S. (2006).  Reading is Our Business.

Harris, Frances Jacobson (2005).  I Found It on the Internet: Coming of Age Online

Moore, Mary Y. (2004) The Successful Library Trustee Handbook.

Rubin, Rhea Joyce (2006).   Demonstrating Results: Using Outcome Measurement in Your Library. PLA Results Series.

Veldof, J. (2006). Creating the One-Shot Library Workshop: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Bartel, J. (2004). From A to Zine: Building a Winning Zine Collection in Your Library. American Library Association: Chicago. 168 pp. ISBN. 0-8389-0886-1. $35

Thinking about starting a zine collection? We found this pragmatic and well thought-out guide to be indispensable when we wrote the collection development policy for the University of Oregon’s nascent zine collection last year. Written from the perspective of a public librarian, From A to Zine is immensely useful for anyone planning to start or systematize a zine collection, whether it’s at a public, academic or special library.

Bartel begins with an introduction to and definition of zines—an undertaking that is difficult to accomplish given the ephemeral nature of the genre. Briefly, zines are self-published creative works of writing and/or art. Because distribution is usually done through informal channels, such as sending currency directly to the author to request a copy, zines can be challenging for libraries to fit into their acquisitions policies. As both a librarian and an advocate of alternative presses, Bartel understands the fluid, creative world of zines as well as the practicalities libraries must manage in acquiring and making zines accessible to patrons.

Drawing on her considerable experience, Bartel offers practical tips that both the zine novice and the aficionado will appreciate. She addresses acquisitions, processing and storage issues, as well as tips for publicizing new collections. The book includes ample resources covering zine-related distributors, review sources, fairs and conferences, and gives a brief introduction to starting one’s own zine.

Bartel is an award-winning librarian who is also well regarded in the zine community as an innovator, credited with establishing one of the oldest and largest public library zine collections in the United States. Her passion for the form is evident as she exhorts librarians—particularly young adult librarians—to consider how zine collections can bring disenfranchised users into the library and support intellectual freedom. We are fortunate to have Bartel’s expertise committed to paper, making it easier to follow in her footsteps.

Tracy Scharn, MLIS
University of Oregon Libraries

Baumbach, Donna J. & Miller, Linda L. (2006).  Less Is More: A Practical Guide to Weeding School Library Collections.  Chicago: American Library Association.  194 pp.  ISBN 0-8389-0919-1.  $32.00

Librarians love books and find it very hard to discard any of them.  This practical resource should be available to every school librarian who is reluctant to weed a book that is “still in good condition and is not really that old.”  Less Is More!  The title says it well, but how does one accomplish this?

For those librarians who have difficulty knowing how to go about weeding a school library, the first twenty pages of this book is necessary reading.  The information presented points out several items to consider for general weeding and a manageable way to approach the project.  This book is highly recommended for any school librarian who needs an extra nudge to weed those books.  There are excellent instructions and illustrations provided so librarians now will feel they are performing a service by getting outdated material off the school media center’s shelves.  The instructions are concise and vivid enough for even the most ardent book savers.  

Making the weeding task even easier, the authors go through the library via the Dewey Numbers and point out what to look for in each section of the library.  The authors explicitly explain why some of those books MUST be removed from the library shelves.

This book, written by two authorities in school libraries, is intended for the school media center; but the information is so clear that it could be translated to other libraries where weeding also needs to be better managed.

Nena Asquith
Reference Librarian
Cedar Crest College

Crews, Kenneth D.  (2005) Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators:  Creative Strategies and Practical Solutions. Chicago:  American Library Association.  139 pp. ISBN 0-8389-0906-X.  $45.00

Copyright Law.  These two words send many librarians and educators running scared, especially in today’s complex digital environment.  There is no need to run any longer, however, because author Kenneth Crews is here to help with his user-friendly book, Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators.  Director of the Copyright Management Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Crews makes copyright law and all of its complicated issues seem feasible and manageable to librarians and educators.  Crews offers insight to this law, as well as, strategies and techniques for every day applications.  Practical examples and easy to understand language (without a trace of legalese) makes reading about copyright painless, and even enjoyable.

Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators is actually the second edition of Crews’ book, Copyright Essentials for Librarians and Educators, published in 2000.  It is to Crews’ credit that the second edition has a different title, as much content has been re-written and added to in this latest book.  The changes in this edition reflect how rapidly copyright law has changed and adapted to an increasingly digital world.

The physical layout of the book adds to its ease of use.  It is divided into five distinct topics:  The Reach of Copyright, Rights of Ownership, Working with Fair Use, Focus on Education and Libraries, and a Special Features section.  Each section is further sub-divided into relevant chapters.  For example, the Special Features section contains chapters on:  Music and Copyright, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Copyright and Unpublished Materials and Permission from Copyright Owners.

An easy-to-read font and several visual features, designed to draw the reader’s attention, contribute to the book’s excellent layout.  Each chapter begins with a bulleted list called “Key Points” which highlight the main concepts covered in the chapter.  Additionally, points for emphasis and quotations from pertinent case law are encased in boxes to visually signify their importance to the issue being discussed.  There are also wonderful figures sprinkled throughout, including one that translates the verbiage of the Fair Use law into everyday language.

Additional features include a comprehensive index, a list of legal cases cited, and an extensive compilation of suggested reading that is divided by topic.  One of the nicest portions of this book comes with the four appendixes.  The first appendix contains selected portions of the U.S. Copyright Act chosen to highlight those of most interest to educators and librarians.  The second and third appendixes contain checklists designed to assist in the practical application of Fair Use and the TEACH Act.  The final appendix contains an example of a letter used to request permission to use someone’s work.  Although both of the checklists and the sample letter can be found on the Copyright Management Center’s website (, Crews offers a helpful narrative introducing the tools, what they are for, and how best to use them in everyday situations.

The audience for this book is as intended (librarians and educators), but extends to scholars in general.  Although there is a slight bias toward issues for those involved in Higher Education (for example, there is a discussion on photocopying course packets and another about electronic course reserves), a majority of the content is helpful and adaptable for all educators and librarians.

Finally, the positive tone of this book makes it a joy to read.  As discussed in the introduction of this book, Crews seeks to have readers look at the various aspects of copyright law as benefiting, and not limiting the pursuit of new knowledge.  He succeeds in this goal, making a muddy issue much more palatable.

I highly recommend this book for all types of libraries and schools.  Additionally, this book would serve as a good textbook for graduate students from schools of Education and Library Science.  I know that you will be pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable reading about Copyright Law can be.  I know I was.

Kerrie Fergen Wilkes
Reference and Instruction Librarian
SUNY Fredonia, NY

Goldsmith, Francisca. (2005). Graphic Novels Now: Building, Managing, and Marketing a Dynamic Collection. Chicago: American Library Association. 113 pp.  ISBN 0-8389-0904-3.  $35.00.

The place of comic books in library collections has been a topic of controversy for more than seven decades.  Being in essence long-format comic books (with enough pages, in almost all instances, to need a square spine), graphic novels faced similar resistance to inclusion in library collections upon their emergence on the American publishing scene some thirty years ago.

Over time, however, graphic novels have gained an increasingly firm foothold in libraries (just as they have in bookstores).  Nevertheless, not every library that would benefit from developing a graphic novel collection has yet done so, and many that have are still wrestling with some of the basic issues of building, promoting, maintaining, and preserving books in this format.  As a result, a book such as this remains timely.

In its eight chapters, Graphic Novels Now offers “nuts-and-bolts” discussions of the various aspects of building and maintaining a graphic novel collection. Written by the Collections Management and Promotions Librarian at the Berkeley (CA) Public Library, its focus is on building such a collection in a public, rather than an academic library. 

The first two chapters discuss what graphic novels are, and why they deserve a place in many libraries’ collections. Subsequent chapters deal with finding timely and reliable news & reviews; maintaining the collection (including establishing a collection development policy and promoting graphic novels to the library staff, some of whom may be resistant to their inclusion); classification and descriptive cataloging; marketing & promotion; developing graphic novel-based programs; and the “politics of graphic novels”-- dealing with general public resistance, with challenges to specific works, et cetera.

Three appendices and an alphabetic index round out the book. The appendices cover print and online information sources, plus a selected list of publishers; selected graphic novels by category; and sample collection development policies.  While all the appendices are useful, each should be considered as a starting point rather than a definitive list. The list of selected graphic novels, for instance, includes many important works, but omits such standards as Alan Moore and David Gibbons’ Watchmen; Jeff Smith’s Bone; Dark Knight or any of the other works of Frank Miller; and any of the volumes of Neil Gaiman’s magnum opus, Sandman.

This, however, is a minor quibble. While it does reflect the fact that Graphic Novels Now is not the only book that a librarian charged with developing and maintaining a graphic novels collection should consult, it does not negate its value as a core title for those interested in building and maintaining a graphic novels collection in a public library.

Doug Highsmith
Coordinator, Instruction & Research Services
California State University, East Bay

Grimes, S. (2006).  Reading is Our Business.  Chicago: American Library Association, 155pp.  ISBN 0-8389-0912-4.  $31.50.

This book is a must read for any school media specialist who wants to teach reading comprehension in their library.  Sharon Grimes clearly knows what she is talking about when it comes to teaching reading in the school library.  She delivers practical examples without any hard to understand reading jargon.

Reading is our business is well organized into chapters that discuss different types of comprehension strategies. Each chapter describes what each strategy is and why it is important, with concrete examples of how to model for students each of these strategies.  In addition to teacher modeling, the book provides explanations of how to scaffold the strategies so that the students will eventually be able to use the strategies on their own.

Chapter 1 offers an introduction with some great statistics as to why school media specialists should and can teach reading comprehension.  Chapters 2-9 discuss actual reading comprehension strategies and how to teach them in the library.  The strategies discussed are: creating a community, connecting, visualizing, questioning, finding answers, determining importance, inferring and predicting, and analyzing and synthesizing.  Finally, chapter 10 offers ideas on how to transform your library from a room that stores books into a place where reading comprehension can be taught.  In addition to the wonderful examples in the book, the appendixes contain book lists that you can use to help teach each of the comprehension strategies from preschool students through middle school students, plus activity sheets to go along with these strategies. 

This book is an excellent resource, either as a textbook for library school students or as a professional reference source for practicing school media specialists. It is a book about teaching reading comprehension in the school library written by a librarian, so it is extremely easy for librarians to understand. The practical real world experience of the author and solid easy-to-understand examples make this book worth its weight in gold.  

Vanessa J. Earp
Liaison Librarian for Education
Kent State University

Harris, Frances Jacobson (2005).  I Found It on the Internet: Coming of Age Online.  Chicago: American Library Association.  161pp.  ISBN: 0-8389-0898-5.  $35.00.

Frances Jacobson Harris brings her twenty years of experience as a School Librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's University Laboratory High School to her writing of I Found It on the Internet.  Her book presents the issues raised by abundant use of technology in the school library setting by students, as well as practical ways to address these concerns.  She uses a large amount of research data on student attitudes and behavior to fortify her arguments.

Harris' book is divided into three sections, with the first one entitled "Today's Landscape,"  covering the first three chapters.  Here she discusses the ways technology has changed the library setting.  The emergence of online databases and Internet-based tools such as Google, blogs, online diaries, chat rooms, and instant messaging all bring challenges that were not faced in libraries a generation ago. 

The second part of Harris' book is entitled "Consequences," and it addresses the specific problems created by technology as experienced in the school library context.  The three chapters in this section cover such problem areas as plagiarism, hacking, harassment, and bullying.  They also address Internet content problems, such as pornography, hate sites, and propaganda sites.

The third part, entitled "Next Steps," covers the last two chapters and offers constructive suggestions for dealing with the concerns new technology raise.  Harris emphasizes the importance of helping students develop critical evaluation skills to enable them to select quality web sites.  She also emphasizes the changing role of librarians in this technological environment.  Librarians can help guide students by pointing them to quality resources, such as the Librarian's Index to the Internet (

I Found It on the Internet is an excellent book providing a clear picture of the present school library situation as well as helpful suggestions to address it.  Harris emphasizes the changing needs and interests of students as a result of computer technology; she also calls for a change in the way librarians address these students.         

John Jaeger
Doctoral Research and Reference Librarian
Dallas Baptist University

Moore, Mary Y. (2004) The Successful Library Trustee Handbook. Chicago:  American Library Association. 112 pp. ISBN 0-8389-0891-8.  $32

Moore’s book for library trustees can be a useful addition to the packet of information given to incoming board members, but it probably won’t offer much new guidance to veteran trustees.

The Successful Library Trustee Handbook is a primer for new library board members. Despite Moore’s assertion that experienced board members can learn something from the book too, not much evidence existed to back up that claim. However, the book is written in a conversational style, which made it easy to read and even easier to understand. It’s a great resource for new board members and new library directors.

Moore, an independent library consultant, has nearly 40 years experience working in libraries and with trustees. She has taught numerous workshops for trustees to help board members understand their roles. In the preface, she acknowledges the book grew out of a sense of obligation to help new board members understand their roles and responsibilities in governing the library.  She accomplishes that goal with her thorough text, taking care to warn that library boards are as diverse as the public libraries they serve. Moore admits not all of her suggestions are applicable to all libraries, but notes the book is meant to be written in and used as a tool to facilitate board meetings and decision making.

In ten crisp chapters, Moore relates the major trustee roles and responsibilities. She has included an index and a list of Web sites for more information, which were pretty standard resources.  Also included in the book is the ALA’s resolution opposing sections of the USA PATRIOT Act, the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement.

She uses plain language with clear examples. She is not too technical, nor too specific as to make her suggestions useless. She discusses such topics as relationships among board members, politicians, the public, and library staff.  Also included are chapters on board meetings, advocacy, policy development, strategic planning and evaluating programs, evaluating a director and evaluating one’s self. All the chapters were succinct and right on target.

The book walks new trustees through the major components of the library board member job. Moore outlines what should be included in welcome packets that should be mailed to new members prior to their first meeting. She details meeting etiquette and procedure. Trustee’s responsibilities are itemized along with characteristics of success and the difference between an advisory board and a governing board.

Review questions are included at the end of each chapter, which seemed juvenile and redundant, but did fit the specified intent of the book.  Moore also covers the hiring and firing of a director in general terms, along with a chapter on budgeting, including fundraising and taxation.

The book was published by the American Libraries Association and written in consultation with the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates. Sharon Saulmon, the past president of the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates, contributed the foreword.

I would recommend the book for all public libraries. I would also recommend giving a copy to all new trustees in their welcome packet.

Gabriel Morley
Director, Washington Parish Library System
Franklinton, La.

Rubin, Rhea Joyce (2006).   Demonstrating Results: Using Outcome Measurement in Your Library. PLA Results Series. Chicago: American Library Association. 160p. ISBN 0-8389-3560-5.  $50

Demonstrating Results: Using Outcome Measurement in Your Library provides an introduction to assessment in public libraries. Assessment has become a great concern within the library profession as library managers and directors work to justify the mission and even the existence of their libraries. While books on assessment are common, Demonstrating Results introduces Outcome Measurement, the assessment of the benefits a library user receives from their participation in a library activity or program.

Rhea Joyce Rubin presents a methodology for designing and implementing library programming in such a way that its affect on people is measurable. Rubin presents outcome measurement in a clear and concise manner, which is no small task given that what she is proposing to measure are changes in peoples’ knowledge, skills, attitude, and social condition.

Demonstrating Results is part of the ongoing PLA Results Series, a series of management books published by ALA on behalf of the Public Library Association. The target audience of this book is public library directors and administrators, as would be expected, but also library staff who participate in planning programming at their library.

After an introductory chapter on the concept and importance of outcome measurement, the five following chapters provide a step-by-step guide to implementing an outcome measurement plan. It begins with establishing what outcomes should be achieved by users, and continues with how to determine if those outcomes have been met, designing a plan for gathering data, preparing for implementation of an outcome measurement-friendly program, and concludes with making the most of your results. The book also includes a number of worksheets to be used in conjunction with the chapters, and some Tool Kits – additional short chapters of information that can be referred to at a later time when designing outcome measurement plans.

Demonstrating Results is essentially a textbook on outcome measurement. While it can be read as a primer on the subject, it was intended to be a step-by-step guide one can follow along with as they develop an actual outcome measurement plan of their own. The included worksheets are meant to be used at specific points throughout the book and are helpful in focusing ones thinking about the issues at hand. There are a number of hypothetical examples within the text, both stand-alone examples and case studies that are carried throughout the book, that provide helpful applications of the topic and techniques being discussed. The examples are all focused on public libraries, and while they aren’t applicable to an academic setting, the principles can definitely be applied there as well.

As it is a book designed for library administrators and managers, Demonstrating Results delves into management issues as they are connected to implementing an outcome measurement program. Some of the issues mentioned include staff training, partnerships with entities outside the library, and the presentation of outcomes to an oversight agency. The book succeeds in covering these issues within the context of the topics being discussed, and so it is not a distraction.

Demonstrating Results makes numerous references to another book in the PLA Results Series, The New Planning for Results: A Streamlined Approach. Although Demonstrating Results is in fact intended to be used in conjunction with The New Planning for Results, it works well by itself. It includes a number of explanations about how it fits into the New Planning philosophy, and while this could have been distracting, this was done in a manner that helps give a more complete picture of the concepts of the PLA Results series and how Demonstrating Results fits into it.

This book provides a clear and concise introduction to outcome measurement. It includes a number of exercises the reader can work along with to gain a better understanding of the topic and to build an outcome measurement plan for their own library. While the book is geared toward public libraries, its concepts are understandable and useful to those in an academic library setting as well. Demonstrating Results: Using Outcome Measurement in your Library is recommended for public library managers, supervisors, and others with responsibility for planning programs at a public library. It is also recommended for those in non-public library settings who are interested in this aspect of assessment.

Justin Otto
Economics Librarian
Robert W. Woodruff Library
Emory University

Veldof, J. (2006). Creating the One-Shot Library Workshop: A Step-by-Step Guide. Chicago : American Library Association. 170 pp. ISBN: 0-8389-0913-2.  $42.00

True to its title, Veldof's book provides a step-by-step guide to revamping the one-shot library workshop that is perhaps the traditional hallmark of library instruction. Drawing primarily on the restructuring of her university's library orientation workshops offered in connection with beginning English Composition classes, the author also ties in concepts of instruction as they may appear in public, school and special libraries.

The book sets out and follows through a 20-step process of creating, developing, presenting and assessing your library's workshops. Strengths of this book include its clear writing and presentation, with a summary and checklist at the end of each step to help you keep on track. These checklists, the occasional quiz, cartoons, and tips from experts help make this book a more interactive experience. The author also offers a website ( and blog ( to present further resources and continuing education.

The primary weakness of this book is that the approach suggested to redesign library workshops is incredibly time-intensive. The development process as laid out here involves reviews by librarians, other library staff, potential audience members, and people outside your institution, as well as a pilot offering to these constituents to secure feedback and suggestions. Concerns arise that perhaps those reading the book may find it easier just to 'wing it.' The author confronts this issue in her introduction, however, and provides concrete reasons to stick with the process.

This book may not be useful to those unwilling to deeply examine their library instruction or devote much time to honing their instructional skills, but those who do work through the process presented will undoubtedly see positive results. This book would work best for those undergoing an institutional evaluation of their instructional program, although it still has much to offer the individual librarian who wants to improve her instructional skills.

Samantha Schmehl Hines
Distance Education Coordinator and Social Science Librarian
Mansfield Library, University of Montana